Emergency! Why half of us couldn’t survive a month without a job

What happens if you lose your job?

If you’re like most of us, the mere thought probably induces a white-cold panic.

What’s worse is that for many of us that panic is justified.

Research from Finder found 46% of Australians could be living from pay to pay, with as many as 2 million living on the edge with just enough money to survive one week without income.

Only 36% of us (just over 1 in 3) could survive for four months or more if they lost their income source.

Conventional personal finance wisdom says the ideal aim is to save 6 months of income in case of a rainy day.

On an average Australian wage of approximately $80,000 a year that equates to savings of around $30,000.

Achieving that is no easy feat.

Here’s the top tips from the experts on what to do if it happens to you.

Budget and plan

If you truly find yourself in financial hardship and, for example, you can not pay your loan, the sooner you take action the better.

Contact any credit provider to let them know your circumstances. It is important to always pay on time. If you make a late payment which results in your loan being 14 days or more in or arrears this will be reflected on your credit file. This may be avoided if you have applied for financial assistance.

If you need further help and information about your options for managing your debts, ring 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia to talk to a free and independent financial counsellor. This is a free service.

Treat finding a new job as your job.

Career’s Coach Lisa O’Brien says to act like you’re employed to find a job.

“Apply for as many suitable jobs as possible ensuring that you are clearly demonstrating that you suit the job and follow up with a call,” Ms O’Brien says.

“Apply for both private jobs and find a recruitment agent in your area of specialisation so that you have them working for you as well. Finally minimise spending until you secure a new position.”

Seek help in all areas

In Australia there are various support services including charity and community services to help if you find yourself in trouble.

That means things from housing, to health and general needs like food and human connection. The MoneySmart website is a great resource to help you navigate which Government organisation to go to and when.