How to change careers post-Covid without hurting your finances

Tara McCabe

Tuesday 26 May 2020

The Covid-19 health crisis sure has given us plenty of time to do some soul searching. So much so, in fact, that according to a report by ING 3.3 million Aussies are thinking about changing careers when lockdown is over. 

Man upskilling for a post-Covid career change.

ING’s head of retail banking, Melanie Evans said that the Covid-19 lockdown had made many Australians rethink their jobs. 

“There’s no denying Australians are nervous about what lies ahead, but our report reveals Aussies are being resourceful, using this time to plan for the future and upskill so they can move with the times,” said Evans.

Of course, it’s one thing to contemplate running away to join the circus and another thing to actually do it. In a time when more than a third of Australians are worried about their job security*, it pays to plan ahead.

Prepare yourself mentally

The first thing to do when contemplating a career change is to find out exactly what you’re getting yourself into. You may love theatre, but do you know how much lighting designers actually get paid? 

No one really wants to think about money all the time, but if you don’t do your research and find out what kind of salary you’ll be looking at, you might struggle to make your old spending habits fit in with your new pay check.

Create a budget for your new job

If you’re doing a complete 180 on your old job, then you may have to enter your new career at an entry level position. This means you’ll most likely be earning less than you were before.

To prepare yourself, try creating a budget with your new salary in mind and take it for a test drive. This way you’ll have some idea as to whether or not you can actually afford to switch careers or what you might have to do to make it work. Are there any subscriptions you could cancel? Could you dine out less?

Curb your spending

According to a recent Mozo survey, nearly 60% of Aussies are spending less and saving more. That said, just in case you’re one of the 40% who haven’t jumped on the savings bandwagon, you might want to think about seriously cutting back on your spending.

One thing you could do is put as much as you can from your current salary into your savings account before you quit. That way you can build up an emergency savings fund of sorts, and be more prepared financially for your big life change.

Become an expert in your new field for free

Okay, so you don’t have to become a complete expert, but it wouldn’t hurt to earn yourself some brownie points with a little bit of upskilling.

Plus, if you know where to look, you can even upskill for free! A lot of universities offer short, online courses these days and the best part about them is that they shouldn’t cost you a cent. Have a scoot around the website Future Learn for a whole heap of free, online courses from around the world.

Show off your skills

You might not receive a certificate with some free online courses, but there are other ways to demonstrate what you’ve learnt that don’t involve a fancy piece of paper. 

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You could put together a portfolio of your best work and if you feel like you don’t have enough to put in it, create something! If you want to be a writer start a blog. If you want to be a chef start baking and take pictures of your culinary creations. You could even start an Instagram account for your work, not for the gratification, but as documentation of how you’ve progressed.

Work part-time as a job seeker

Once you’ve figured out how much you might earn in your new chosen field and you’ve created a budget to keep your savings on the right track, the next step is to actually start searching.

You’ve probably heard the old saying that looking for a job is like a full-time job in itself. It takes time and effort, so you’ll have to be patient and strict with yourself. Try to put aside maybe an hour after work each day or four hours on a Saturday to sit down, research companies you might be interested in and seek out actual jobs on offer.

Put your money in a high interest savings account

Finally, to give your finances a little boost while you’re planning your great escape, review your savings account. Are you benefiting from one of the most competitive savings rates on the market? Head to Mozo’s compare high interest savings accounts page to compare rates or take a look at the accounts on offer below, to see if you could be getting more for your hard earned dollars.

*Statistics taken from a survey conducted by Mozo in April 2020.

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