Prepare yourself for the "gig economy"

Many believe the "gig economy" is here to stay and will continue to get bigger. I heard a futurist speak at a conference a couple years ago, and he predicted there will be a "match.com" for employers and workers. Work will become more project-based with workers not necessarily being employees of a company but functioning as independent contractors. With Microsoft's recent purchase of LinkedIn, Microsoft may see LinkedIn as that matchmaking site. I will be asking our educational speaker next month for her thoughts, but I recommend professionals do the following: 1) Update your LinkedIn profile and clearly define your skills. Create a recurring task to review and update your profile quarterly.

2) Always be networking. Even if you love your job and have job security now, the future is unknown. I see many people who feel secure with their positions only to be let go due to a company sale, re-location, or structural change within their industry.

3) Reflect on what you are good at and enjoy doing. I just read the book, Spark Joy. The author is a decluttering guru from Japan, Marie Kondo. Her childhood stories are just as entertaining as the organization methods she developed and illustrated in the book. As a child, she would wake up early to organize her family's kitchen, and she practiced until she perfected a system for organizing every cabinet and drawer in her house. While she drove her family crazy at times, I am sure they couldn't deny she had a skill that she was very passionate about.

4) Create a vision of what you want to be doing in the next 5 years. Document everything you need to do to reach that goal. Break the action items into achievable goals for each of the next 5 years.

Contemplating a Career Change?

Quite a few friends and clients have recently shared that they are contemplating a major career change.  They have a passion for something other than what they are currently doing 40 hours a week.  Before making the plunge, consider the following:

1.   Be honest with yourself about why you are contemplating the change.  Did you recently get overlooked for a promotion?  Is there a new co-worker or manager that you don’t get along with?  Have you been overworked? If the urge to flee is due to something that is temporary, consider sticking out your current situation for another 6 months to see if conditions improve.  Consider moving to another department or similar company if you feel you may be happier in another setting.  On the other hand, if you are convinced that you are destined for something else, keep reading…

2.   Start volunteering or working part time in your new career choice before leaving your full time job to make sure you actually like it.  After gaining some experience, you may realize that being a dog walker or personal chef is not all it is cracked up to be.   Or, you may love it and confirm that you are making the right choice. 

3.   Price re-education and / or internship costs.  Estimate how long it will take for you to start earning money.  Start researching this information so you and your financial planner can create a meaningful exit plan.  Be realistic and conservative.  Include the extra cost for babysitters if you will be attending school nights or weekends.

4.   Begin networking and making contacts.  While living in Pensacola, Florida with my husband, I decided to make a career change to become a financial planner.  I researched the CFP® designation and contacted every CFP® in Pensacola, asking if I could meet with them or help them around the office for free.  Only one person responded.  He didn’t have any work for me, but he became a great mentor.  He sent me books to read and helped shape my future path in the field.  I am so thankful for that experience and always encourage others to reach out.

5.  Start building up a transition fund.  It is unlikely that you will go without any gap in earnings unless you do all the training for the new job at night and are able to land another job before quitting.  Start automatically saving to a taxable account, and leave it liquid so you will have access when you need it.  Besides money for basic living expenses, assess whether your cars are in good shape and if your house needs any major upgrades. 

As with everything, you can do it with or without a plan.  Have a plan, and increase your chances of success.  Good luck! 

10 Things to do Before Leaving your Job

Thinking of leaving your job to stay home with your child?  Make sure you follow these steps before making the move.

  1. Obtain references from your current employer.  When you re-enter the workforce, you most likely will be required to provide references.  Ask for references now while you are fresh in their mind.
  2. Collect your Annual Employee Reviews.  Hopefully you have been saving your Annual Reviews all these years!  File and save them for future employers.
  3. Track your spending for one month.  Save your receipts, use Mint, or any other method that works for you.
  4. Once you know how much you spend, try living on one salary.  This will give you confidence that it can be done.  If it is tight, you can start making adjustments now or begin exploring reduced time versus quitting altogether.
  5. Have an emergency fund.  Save an amount equal to 6 months worth of your monthly expenses in a liquid account.
  6. Assess your home situation.  First of all, don't assume you need to upgrade to a bigger house or apartment as soon as you find out your expecting.  Save money by staying in your current place until the kids get bigger and actually need more space.
  7. Assess your car situation.  Do you have old cars that need to be replaced?  Make sure you have enough for a new car purchase or down payment before leaving.
  8. Meet with a Financial Planner.  Have someone who is qualified review your financial picture and help make sure you are on track for the future.
  9. Make sure both of your names are on the credit cards, mortgage and other loans so that non-working partner can maintain a credit history.
  10. Commit to equal participation in all financial matters and decisions even though one of you will no longer bringing home a salary.