Congratulations on your decision to change careers. This leap of faith is indeed an exciting journey, but it’s completely understandable should this transition spark some financial stress. Even if you’re advancing to a career with a higher salary and enhanced benefits, a gap in employment could leave you without a paycheck for several weeks to months. This period of unemployment calls for smart and strategic financial management, an attainable skill that will alleviate some of the stress you’ll experience between jobs. To master this transition, consider a few of these tips that will help you manage your money during a dynamic time.
Build an Emergency Fund
The average career change takes 11 months. That’s a long amount of time without a steady income. To ensure you’re most prepared for this job change, save up approximately six months worth of income. That way, if you don’t have a job lined up in the near future, you’ll feel less stressed knowing you have a safety net to rely on. If you do already have a job lined up, you’re still giving yourself the best chance at living comfortably. Save even more than six month’s worth if you’re worried that this new job won’t be the right fit for you. Also, don’t be afraid to take up a part-time gig during the layover to bring in some cash flow.
Maintain Monthly Fees
Your emergency fund plus any side hustles will make it easier for you to continue making payments on your current obligations. When you miss a payment on any student debts, mortgage payments, or other loans, your credit score will take a hit. When your credit score decreases, your plans for other big changes like buying a new home located closer to your new job might be put on hold. For the best chance at eligibility for a mortgage, research the best credit scores to buy a house and make your monthly payments on time. If monthly payments are becoming overwhelming, you can also consider the pros and cons of consolidating your debt to make monthly payments more manageable.
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Make Minor Sacrifices
Cutting back on some of your typical expenses throughout a job change will significantly reduce your financial stress. Now, this doesn’t mean you should be making major lifestyle changes. Rather, eliminating a few costly subscriptions you can live without or opting for cheaper services can free up a good portion of your spending. Here are a few subscriptions and/or services you might be able to sacrifice during your job change without vastly impacting your lifestyle:
- Going out to dinner
- Streaming services
- Gym memberships
- Cellular data
Cater to Your Health
Financial concerns are the leading cause of stress for Americans, along with job stability. As we know, stress can have a major impact on your physical and mental health, and so can this drastic life change. Whether you know it or not, your body and mind may take a toll through this career transition, making it crucial to take time for yourself. Dedicate any newfound free time to maintain your current exercise routine and enjoy some of your favorite activities that help you relax. Both will help you relieve any stress and new job jitters.
Take a Tour
The easiest way to alleviate the stress of a new job is to experience it before you begin. Visit your new employer to get a feel for the environment you’ll be in. Introduce yourself to your peers and network in your new town so you can be somewhat familiar with your surroundings once you arrive. If you’re moving to a new city for your career, venture around your new neighborhood and familiarize yourself with restaurants, grocery stores, and more. Most importantly, get to know the costs of living in your new town so you can anticipate how much money you’ll spend on your necessities. Knowing how expensive your new lifestyle should be will allow you to accurately plan out your finances.
Financial stress shouldn’t overshine your career transition. With a bit of dedication and financial literacy, you can acquire the skills necessary to flourish in between jobs.
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ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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