3 Tips to Survive a Retrenchment

This is probably some old news you may have read a few days ago. Starhub will be retrenching 300 full time employees as part of a S$25 million restructuring exercise. This has brought back some of my bad memories. Believe or not, I was once retrenched and it came unexpected. I am not going to write about the impact of the retrenchment on the share price of Starhub, but to share my past retrenchment experience and how I learnt about the importance of having an emergency fund.

Believe it or not, I didn’t know and neither was I interested in stock investing in my younger days. I believed if I work hard and deliver results in the company I am working for, I will be rewarded. The company that I was working for was doing very well until one day, the retrenchment came unexpected. The management did not explained to us what was the rationale for the retrenchment. We were told to pack our personal stuff and leave the office immediately. There was no negotiation on the compensation and was briefly informed that the compensation will be credited into our salary banking account when it is ready.

Yes, this is how cruel and relentless the society is. I just got married, bought my house and have bills to pay. Being young and without much savings, I can only last 3 months without a job. Believe it or not, I scrimp and spent only $4 a day on meals. I was lucky to find job in the 4th month.

Six years have passed and here are the lessons that I have learnt from the retrenchment.

#1 Build an Emergency Fund Equivalent to 6 Months of Your Current Salary

You may have read about my monthly timely purchase of the Singapore Savings Bonds. Besides performing the hack for DBS Multiplier account, it is a safe haven for parking 6 months of my current salary worth as an emergency fund. I estimated that if I do get retrenched again, I will need roughly 6 months to find my next decent job.

November 2018 Singapore Savings Bonds is 2.48%

#2 Build Passive Income

Forget about working hard and expect the company to reward you. It rarely happens. I am not asking you not to do your work well but at the same time you work hard, you should also invest hard. Having a passive income such as collecting dividends from REITs can help tide you through hard times. The dividends can pay your bills and lighten your financial burden.

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#3 Continue to Learn and Upgrade your Skills

Do not be comfortable in your current job and forget all about learning. Continue to learn new skills. It will help you get your next job!

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