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How to Manage Your Finances During a Career Change

Education Posted on May 28, 2021

One of the most exciting – but nervewrecking – experiences you can go through is a career or job change. Whether intentionally seeking your passion, looking for better pay, or recovering from a layoff, being in between jobs isn’t for the faint of heart. But we believe that intelligent planning ahead – and smart maneuvering during your job search – can result in a soft landing for your finances that finds you in better places professionally and financially.

Before You Make the Jump

At Carter Bank & Trust, we’re big believers in the fact that a little bit of planning can go a long way. If you’re still in a stable job, take some time to make these considerations. Even if you can’t wait to get out of your current job, you’ll thank yourself for waiting it out to do the below.

Put Aside At Least Three Months of Expenses

Job searching is easier when you’re not worried about where the grocery budget comes from. Think of this as adding to your parachute when you make the switch from your current job; every extra week of expenses you have set aside means that much more time to interview and find a better position so you don’t have to repeat this process.

Know Your Worth

Next up is concretely figure out your ideal salary for what you want to do. This may seem basic, but if you don’t have a hard and fast figure you’re wanting to achieve (including benefits), you’ll be pressured to take on roles as you watch your savings deplete. Know your worth and know how much the field you’re looking to get into pays, on average. Start budgeting for that salary now if it’s lower than what you’re used to… This will also help you to lean out your current and budget and maximize your savings’ longevity.

Understand Your Current Retirement and Insurance Plans

Your current job may offer you benefits like health insurance or retirement savings. If you’re thinking about transitioning, visit HR and find out all you can about their ability to transfer (or “carry over”) especially with retirement savings accounts. Make certain you’re aware of how long your health insurance lasts after you leave and find out if you can extend it any way you can. And if your dream job might not be as generous with their retirement matching contributions as your current role, take advantage and contribute more to your retirement savings if you can.

During the Jump

All right, you’re currently “in-between jobs” but eagerly submitting your resume and browsing local GlassDoor listings. You’re officially living off savings. Don’t panic! There’s plenty of ways to stretch your finances to give you more time to the dream job search.

Lean Up Your Expenses

Now, when we say expenses, we probably don’t mean your current budget. You should work up a “lean” budget that minimizes nonessentials like going out to eat or streaming services. Those dollars can boost savings even further (and you can leave your current job sooner!). Lean budgets should only include things like rent, insurance payments, grocery bills, child care, and current debt payments. Take a long hard look at those numbers and question any expenses that fall outside them. A little frugality now pays off later!

Get a New Gig

One of the best parts about the so-called “gig” industry – Uber, Doordash, Instacart, Lyft, and others – is that job searchers like you can instantly plug in, earn for a few hours and quit as soon as you need to head to your next interview. Once you’re accepted into these programs, you’ve got a literal on/off switch in your pocket for income, and on a lean budget, this can translate to valuable extra time. Just make certain you understand your own internal costs, like car insurance, maintenance, and gas!

No matter where you find yourself – currently at a job you want to leave or actively seeking a new one you’ll love – Carter Bank & Trust is here to support you. With a variety of financial products like credit cards featuring interest-free introductory periods and powerful savings solutions, our friendly staff can’t wait to hear from you.

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