Each week the NZ Herald's Cooking the Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's how to get yourself on firm footing so you can handle a career change. Hosted by Frances Cook.
For most of us, our job is our biggest financial asset.
So when jobs are under threat, or even entire industries, it's natural to feel the squeeze and start to panic.
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But whether you've had change thrust upon you by losing your job suddenly, or you have reassessed your priorities and are choosing to make a change, you have financial options to help guide you through this time.
Cooking the Books listeners have sent me many versions of this question, so I put them to financial planner Liz Koh, on the latest podcast.
If you've lost your job suddenly
It's time to go into lockdown mode. Go through your bank statements and check all the regular bills going out.
Can you cancel any of them? Get a lower price elsewhere?
The money you have now will need to last for as long as possible, until you can find a new role.
Then check how much you have in savings, and see how many weeks you've got up your sleeve for that to pay the bills.
Koh said the shock of redundancy can lead to people putting off this important step, but every day counted, and it was important to know what you were working with.
"The key thing to realise in this situation is that it doesn't go on forever. When you have a sudden shock like that it's just a process of adjusting to your new situation.
"You're not going to necessarily be in a bad situation for the rest of your life. It's about saying, how can I survive this sudden glitch?
"Really going back to basics and looking at the resources you have, and how you can most effectively use them."
Koh points out that the two biggest expenses for most households are housing and food, so anything you can do to reduce those costs will pay dividends.
If you're thinking of making a change, and have some time to plan
If a worldwide pandemic, being locked indoors, and facing incredible uncertainty head-on has made you rethink some things in your life, it's probably not too surprising.
Some are now wanting to pursue a career change of their own choosing.
The good news is that you have time, but Koh warns you need to use that time carefully to give yourself the best chance of success.
"Where people come unstuck with a big change like that is when they suddenly run out of money."
Koh said you would need to look at how long it would take to switch to your new plan, and then not only set aside money to help you get through that, but make sure you had extra cushion as well.
"There's an element of risk. That change may pay off, or it may not.
"You don't want to gamble with all your financial resources when you're making that kind of a transition.
"I see that all the time, especially with some people who are quite entrepreneurial, they'll put everything on the line.
"Then, if it doesn't work out, they've got nothing to help them start again. So you've got to have what I call a safe deposit box somewhere, some assets set aside, that you can come back to if it doesn't work out like you planned."
In times of change, a stable base is everything.
A stable base can give you the mental space to think through your options, to avoid making choices out of fear, and to stay calm so that you can see the opportunities among the confusion.
Listen to the full interview in Cooking the Books podcast here, or the video above
• Listen to the full interview on the Cooking the Books podcast. You can find new episodes in the Herald, or subscribe on iHeartRadio, Apple podcasts app, or Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.