I've Lost My Job, Now What?

By Joanne Lemna  | 
Feb 29, 2016

I've lost my job - insurance

Whether you’ve been told that the company is eliminating your position, or that you’re being downsized, the truth is it’s never easy to suddenly hear you’ve lost your job. But ending your employment doesn’t mean you that you should dump your life—or your savings strategy. Instead, it’s a time to take re-group, take stock and plan for new opportunities.

To help you, here’s a four step process for handling that letter of dismissal:

#1. Ears open, mouth shut

Listen, if you feel shocked or worried that’s not unusual. Losing your job means a sudden and unexpected change in your financial status. But the moment the human resources department uses the term “effective immediately,” it’s time to keep your emotions in check and start paying attention. That’s because vital information about your severance package, and the terms of your dismissal, are provided in this meeting. Then, when everyone has finished talking, simply ask for some time to review the severance package.

#2. Review your package

It goes without saying that you should never sign anything during the initial meeting. While most severance packages are fair and in compliance with provincial labour law, it’s always important to take some time to review your severance package. For more information on how to assess your package go to the Alberta Learning Information Site or B.C.’s Labour of Ministry site.  

#3. Take time to plan

The whole purpose of a severance package is to provide a bit of money to help you to take stock and decide on the next steps. This may be a time when you’ll want to pursue a different career (and perhaps you need additional schooling or training). Or you may be interested in pursuing the same career path, but with a slightly different focus. Either way, this is a good time to take stock and decide what your likes and dislikes are when it comes to employment. Then, when you start that job search, you’ll be more determined and more focused and this will translate well to potential employers.

#4. Update your assets

Any significant change in life should prompt a review of your investments and insurance policies. Are you receiving a lump sum from your employer? Then consider the most tax-effective way to invest this money. Will you no longer be commuting to and from work? Then call your independent insurance broker to alert them to these changes—you’ll probably see a  reduction in your car insurance premiums (as commuting can really increase your rates). Also, consider talking to your broker about ways to save on your home insurance. For instance, now that you have the time, you may consider taking a day or two to install a sump-pump or backwater valve—which could see a drop of up to 10% in your annual home insurance premiums.

#5. Follow your dreams

While losing a job can be frustrating, it can also be the start of better things to come—and for some that means starting your own business.

This can be an exciting and challenging step but one with an immeasurable payoff. (Nothing says freedom like being your own boss). But, the first thing you’ll need to know is that your existing homeowner or renter’s policy does not adequately cover the risks associated with a home-based business.

To get sufficient coverage you’ll need to talk to your independent insurance broker. Your broker will listen,  ask questions and help identify potential areas of concern or liability. Then they’ll help you find an add-on to your current policy or separate, independent coverage that will protect you and your home from any business liability, as well as protect your business in three distinct ways: business property, business interruption and legal liability.

The key is to remember that insuring your home-based business should be a priority that’s addressed as soon as you think of starting a business, not after you set up your company and start working.

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