Five steps to help clients when they lose their job

Globe and Mail
February 2, 2023.

Recessions and pressures on businesses leading up to them have led to widespread job losses in the past. Although Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem has gone on record saying he doesn’t think unemployment will reach the high levels of previous recessions, it makes sense for advisors to be prepared to guide clients who are let go in the coming months.

“Before jumping in and talking about the financial aspect of their situation, I would first check in to see how they’re feeling emotionally and that they are doing okay,” Mr. Feindel stresses.

“[Clients] appreciate just having the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings and reactions after going through such a life-changing event.”

To make sure clients receive the compensation they’re entitled to, Mr. Feindel checks to see if there’s termination pay (required if there was no advance notice), vacation pay (typically 4 to 6 per cent of the salary), and severance pay (generally based on length of service).

Looking ahead, advisors can help clients build resiliency into their financial plans so they’re in a stronger position if job loss ever happens again.

Mr. Feindel points to an emergency fund in a high-interest savings account that will cover six months of expenses, a secured line of credit established while clients are working, and sufficient insurance coverage in case workplace benefits are not extendable or portable.

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