Navigating retrenchment: Financial tips when losing your job

    AI-generated image for illustration purpose only.

    24th January 2024 – (Hong Kong) Being laid off understandably induces anxiety, but strategic planning can steady one’s situation. Beyond the emotional toll, sudden job loss strains household budgets. By acting methodically, the retrenched can regain stability. With prudence and imagination, this disruption can catalyse positive transformations.

    When notified of dismissal, immediately request official paperwork detailing terms, including any severance package. Closely evaluate your employment contract’s termination clause, ensuring the notice period aligns. Secure a letter of recommendation from your supervisor, as proof of performance will aid future job searches.

    Inquire about the severance package if applicable, as additional pay may be forthcoming on your last day. Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower recommends payouts equivalent to two weeks’ to one month’s salary per year served, depending on corporate financial health. The original pre-cut wage should determine calculations. Note retrenchment benefits are not CPF-assessable.

    Stay gracious despite frustration, avoiding burned bridges that may later offer renewed opportunities. Strictly follow all confidentiality clauses, handing over passwords or proprietary material per company guidelines. Professionalism preserves options.

    Quickly update your CV and LinkedIn profile, emphasising achievements from your tenure. Characterise the layoff as circumstantial, framing your competencies positively. Revamping promotional materials positions you for interviews.

    Processing complex feelings often requires candid conversation, so speak honestly with trusted confidantes. Consider counselling services guaranteeing judgement-free support. Simply vocalising turmoil can bring catharsis and direction.

    With income disrupted, rigorously reassess financial obligations in order of priority. Phone bills and insurance still require outlays, so budget tightly for upcoming months and lobby banks to defer loan payments if possible. Cull unnecessary subscriptions and be selective with discretionary spending. An emergency fund covering three to six months’ expenses is ideal.

    If eligible, file for government assistance programs immediately, as bureaucracy brings delays. Document everything to demonstrate retrenchment’s involuntariness when applying to bodies like the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority. Investigating social safeguards must be a priority.

    While devastating emotionally, retrenchment can spark positive transitions if strategically navigated. Refocus energy into a thoughtful job search and lifestyle evaluation.