Personal Finance

Make these financial and career moves before you quit your job

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You may want to ditch your commute permanently or leave a job that you hate.

Yet before you quit, you’ll want to make sure your financial house is in order.

Not only will it help you survive a period of unemployment, it will help you focus on finding your next role.

“You want to have some sense of stability and peace of mind to accomplish what you want to,” said Denver-based certified financial planner Krista Aliga, senior financial advisor at Personal Capital.

In fact, a recent survey from Personal Capital and The Harris Poll found that 66% of Americans are interested in switching jobs and 52% said they’d need at least $50,000 in their bank account in order to comfortably do so. The online poll was conducted July 29 to Aug. 2 among 933 employed U.S. adults.

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The trend, dubbed the “Great Resignation,” has been driven by people reevaluating their lives and careers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Americans are also burned out. Nearly two-thirds of workers have experienced burnout in their career and 41% said it happened in just the past few months, according to a survey by the human resources tech company Workhuman.

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In addition to being financially stable, you should also ensure you are making the right career moves. Here’s how to make sure you are ready to say, “I quit.”

Have an emergency fund

If you want to quit without another job lined up, make sure you have an emergency fund that will cover three to six months of living expenses, Aliga said. To determine that, assess your spending habits. If you plan to move, make sure you take into account the cost of living in that area.

Set the money aside in a high-yield savings account so that it is easily accessible, she suggests.

However, CFP Diahann Lassus, managing principal at New Providence, New Jersey-based Peapack Private Wealth Management, advises having six to 12 months of living expenses set aside.

“If you need money, the last thing you want to do is pull it out of a retirement account and pay all those taxes and potentially penalties to do that,” said Lassus, a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.

Pay down high-interest debt

If you have high-interest rate credit cards, start paying them down. Consider transferring that debt to a card with a lower interest rate, if possible.

Consider health-care costs

If you quit without another job lined up, you’ll need insurance. Price out your options, whether it is going on a partner’s plan or one through the nation’s public exchanges. While you can get COBRA, which extends your current employer health plan for up to 18 months, it can be expensive.

However, having no coverage at all can really cost you. Credit Karma saw its members take on an additional $2 billion in medical debt collections from September 2020 to April 2021.

Identify your wants

From a career perspective, the most important thing to figure out is what type of work you want to be doing, who you want to be doing it for and the pay, said Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster.

“Now is an excellent time for people thinking of making a career change,” she said.

“So many companies are hiring and looking for transferable skills, so you don’t necessarily need experience in that specific job.”

Once you know what you want to do, come up with a list of target companies and include the type of company, type of job, company size and revenue.

Get ready to job search

Create job alerts through career websites so you’ll be notified when a new job is posted. If you see a job you are interested in, don’t wait to apply.

Also, update your resume and tweak it each time you submit a new application so that it matches the job description.

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