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Negotiating the New Normal. Part Five - Income

by Sarah McMurray Steps for Better Finances

Negotiating the New Normal. Part Five - Income

The other side of the equation when trying to improve a bad money situation is increasing your income.

This is a time when taking the mindset of being open to new options will likely benefit you, especially if you normally work in an industry hard-hit by the post-lockdown economy. Not all industries have been hard-hit; some are desperately searching for staff. Even if the jobs they have on offer are not your dream job, they will provide an income, and they won’t disadvantage you when you try to get back into your preferred line of work. These times are extraordinary. Future employers will get it.

I’ve talked to several professional recruiters; their advice is -

Think in terms of skills, not the roles you’ve previously had.

Don’t look for a 100% match between the job requirements and your skills or experience. If you fill 70% of the requirements, apply. Apply for as many jobs as you can – pinning all your hopes on one option can be highly de-motivating if it doesn’t pan out. Tweak your CV for each application – put more emphasis on the things you’ve done or skills you have that match the job requirements. Follow the instructions in the ad on how to apply. Seems basic, but many people don’t.

Follow up your application in a professional manner

This is no time to be shy. Tell your contacts you’re looking for work. Try to be specific – “I’ll do anything” may well be true, but it’s not helpful in knowing what to recommend you for. Give your preferences as well as the idea that you’re open to other options. Work LinkedIn, if that’s relevant to your line of work. Contact recruitment agencies. They can help with CVs and interview skills, as well as connecting you with opportunities. My advice is to re-visit self-care while you do all those things. Finding a job is awesome, but job hunting can be awful. Get support; keep taking action. Control what you can control.

If you are self-employed, check with your accountant and the NZ Business website to see what support is available from the government for your business: Click here to check out the resources available It could be that now is the ideal time to re-train. If there’s an aspect of your work that wasn’t working well for you before lockdown; like the pay, the hours, the level of stress it gave you or the satisfaction you gained from it, then free training and extra financial support while you do is part of the support package that is available to individuals: Click here to check out training resources

Other ideas that could improve your income

Do you have anything you could sell online? Second hand goods via Trade Me; art or craft that you create via Etsy? Could you take in a flatmate or border? If you have a small business, it is currently possible to hibernate your debt until normal trading resumes, provided 50% of your creditors agree. Take advice from your accountant on this one. If you owe tax or student loan repayments, contact IRD – they’re more flexible at present. If you have Kiwisaver, you may be able to get a hardship withdrawal. This will take time, and you should fully understand the future impact of doing so. Check with Work and Income to see if you’re entitled to any support. If you find them impenetrable, try the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Beneficiary Advisory Service, Community Law or your local MP’s office for help navigating the system.

Don’t go into debt to stay living the way you are

Finally, resist the temptation to prop up your falling income by going into debt to maintain your current lifestyle. Not only is that not a good idea at any time, but if you do end up needed Work and Income support, then debt repayment is not something they will take into account or help with.

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