3 steps to take first if you happen to lose your job

Expert financial advice

3 steps one should take immediately after losing a job with financial expert Rina Hicks

Losing a job is potentially the most tumultuous experience a working-class Kenyan can face.

This as the country's unemployment rate has gone up to 2.65% in 2021 compared to 2.64% in 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Such figures indicate that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Kenyan labour force to find suitable employment opportunities after the seemingly inevitable job loss.

What, then, should unemployed Kenyans in the unfortunate incident of losing a job?

Pulse Live caught up with accomplished Finance Expert Rina Hicks for a conversation on the steps one should take immediately after losing a job or their primary source of income.

Step 1: Cut off non-essential expenses

"If you have lost your income, you must cut off all non-essential expenditure. Non-essentials would be things like entertainment, a visit to the nail spa, alcohol consumption and even data. Data is a non-essential unless you are generating an income from it," Rina advises.

She further explained that some of the other non-essential expenses would be foods like bacon and sausages, which should be substituted with home-cooked meals.

"Change your shopping habits. Reduce your trips to the supermarket, because the likelihood of making impulsive purchases is higher. Manage electricity costs. Minimise the use of heaters and air conditioning where possible. Boil water instead of buying bottled water.

"Consider moving house to a cheaper one if you are paying rent. Alternatively, negotiate with your landlord and request for a reduction in rent to an amount that you can afford," she advises.

Step 2: Managing Debts

Don't take up more debt in this season, Hicks advises. And in case you already are in debt by the time you lose your job, you should renegotiate terms with your lender.

"If you are in debt, speak to your lenders and seek a suspension of interest and principle repayments.

"Do not take on any debt in this season. It doesn’t matter what your need is. A loan that you need to pay back with interest is not your solution. If you dig deep enough you can do a lot for yourself and there is always a way out," she says.

Step 3: Dealing with depression

"Losing a job can be quite stressful and I have seen how it can take a toll on one’s emotional and mental health. We are so used to identifying ourselves with what we do and perhaps the first thing I would say is talk to a friend or loved one, you never know what opportunity could arise from opening up to someone. If you can afford it, a session or two with a counselor/ therapist would be also helpful to process the sense of loss that you feel," Rina advises.

She adds that getting into an exercise regime will also assist with coping with job loss.

"Exercise as much as you can, even in your house, and eat healthy to boost your immunity. The last thing you want is to get sick.

"Research shows that when you are depressed you are least likely to exercise but that is when you need it the most. If there is a time that you need to exercise, it is now. It will improve your mood, and help you think through possible solutions to your challenges. You will also be in a position to recognize opportunities that you can take advantage of to create an income," she recommends.

Rina Hicks is the author of the book Money-Wise: Create, Grow & Preserve Wealth (2016) Integrity Publishers, U.S.A. She is is a Corporate Finance Analyst and Director at Faida Investment Bank. She holds an MBA degree from Strathmore Business School, a Bachelor of Business Degree majoring in Finance and Marketing from Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia.

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