Don’t quit job without plan B

Author: Vivian Agaba. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Anyone considering leaving their jobs should first sit down and re-evaluate the current economic situation.

Would you quit your job without any savings? Recently, someone tweeted saying he had been working in formal employment for 10 years but had no achievements (no savings, no investments.

The same person wants to venture into self-employment, and was asking whether it was advisable to quit formal employment at the moment, and when is the right time to become self-employed. And I liked responses from some tweeps.

Here is their advice: First tweep: “Quitting without savings, do you want to die of depression? First, get a startup income. In fact, revise your saving and spending habits”.

Second tweep: “There is no right time. You can be self-employed and [formally] employed at the same time. When in your employer’s office, you are employed. The moment you step foot into your home and other affairs of life, you are in the wild. Run both employment and side venture concurrently”.

Leaving one’s employment during these very harsh economic times is in my view such a bad idea unless the workplace is so toxic and a threat to one’s mental health, or safety, but other than that, a person can hang in there until things stabilise.

And again, leaving without any savings, or investments, how does one hope to survive? Remember, there are bills to pay such as rent, electricity, water, transport, and food, whose prices keep going up every single day.

I am not a financial expert, but I have heard stories of people who quit their jobs without ‘Plan B’, no savings, no investments, they didn’t get other jobs right away as they had anticipated, their start-ups didn’t pick up as fast as they had calculated. They became frustrated and slid into depression, or went back asking their former employers to take them back. If you are lucky, you will get the job back, but such chances are slim, not with high levels of unemployment in the country.

So, before walking out on your job, ask yourself these questions: How will you meet your daily expenses like food? If you are still renting, how will you raise the rent? If you have a family depending on you, how will you support them?

Anyone considering leaving their jobs should first sit down and re-evaluate the current economic situation, the reasons for leaving, and if the person can wait a little longer, and plans better for their exit. In this sense, one can also establish a side hustle, work at it concurrently with their day job, and when the former has eventually gained ground, the person can fully move on and become self-employed.

Financial experts recommend that before anyone quits their job, a person should have three to six months’ worth of living expenses in their emergency fund.  

Meanwhile, this man’s story is not isolated. I am certain that many young adults in this country are still struggling to learn how to save and invest. Most learn through trial and error, sometimes years later after getting jobs, yet if they had started saving immediately after they got jobs, it would make a whole lot of difference. But in most cases, they don’t know any better, and it must hurt working for 10 years, and there is nothing to show for it.

But this has to change, and I have two suggestions. First: Parents should start talking to their children about money, right from childhood. The older they get, teach them different ways money is earned, saved, and invested. Teach them that when money is earned, it is not only for spending, but also for saving and investing for future goals.

Parents also need to do away with negative beliefs they have been telling their children like ‘money is evil’ money doesn’t grow on trees, people with money are evil’ but instead impart better money management beliefs among their children.

Second: Financial institutions can collaborate more with institutions of learning, and offer financial literacy on savings and investments. With proper financial literacy, young people learn to manage their money well.

On the other hand, the onus is on young people to take their own initiative and seek knowledge on everything about finances. Otherwise, what is your advice to this young man? Should he resign without any savings?

Ms Vivian Agaba is a journalist and consultant writer/editor.