November 03, 2022 | By: Jason

Lessons from a Young Adult Who Survived a Lay-off

Financial Literacy | Layoffs

I’m Jason. I’m 32 years old and grew up in Port Stanley, Ontario. I studied manufacturing engineering technology in London, ON (Fanshawe College) and moved around while working for various auto part manufacturers in Ontario. I worked a stint at the APAG Elektronik Corp. in Windsor and moved around until I found my niche. 

Now, I work for Brose in London, Ontario. I scored a permanent contract and slowly moved up to a nice production job with a $60K salary. Since I graduated from Fanshawe, I always lived with roommates to keep my costs low. After joining Brose three years ago, I moved into an apartment on Colborne St. with two roommates for the last little while. 

It’s a pretty sweet apartment, with a wrap-around balcony, renovated kitchen, and spacious rooms. I pay about $900 per month, including utilities and internet. I know you can spend even less living with roommates in London, but I spend the extra money because it’s a great living space. Plus, it’s still within my budget. I also have some student debt that I’m working on paying off, but I’m pretty steady with my payments. 

Growing up, my family taught me to live within my means — no more, and ideally less. I followed their lead by always making credit card payments on time, even just the minimum payment, so I don’t hurt my credit score. 

Eventually, I planned to purchase a home in Northern Ontario. North Bay and Nippissing areas have some decent bungalows in the $300,000 range — not too shabby with my permanent $60K salaried job. I know a mortgage is within reach, but I haven’t taken the plunge or doubled down on saving for my down payment yet. I’ve been more focused on paying off my debts. 

And I was making solid payments on time, quite comfortably. 

Until I was laid off.

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I owe about $15,000 in student loans and have a $2,500 balance on my credit card. I’m feeling pretty nervous because I only have about $8,000 in my rainy day fund — about a 3-month cushion in case anything were to happen. 

Brose recently announced they’d have to lay off about 300 employees before 2023. We’re a labour force of over 6,000, so I didn’t think much of it. But once I received notice that I was included in the layoff, I was shocked. 

Looking back, it was a long time coming after months of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, I don’t have a job and received minimal severance — only two months. 

The first few days felt really anxious. I worried about late student loan payments and even having to take out a personal loan to cover my expenses. But after a couple of weeks, I realized I could handle it. 

Luckily, I also saved a bit of my paycheque every month for my rainy day fund, about $12,000. Slowly, this was supposed to add up to a down payment for a small house in northern Ontario. But I might have to dip into it if I can’t find another job within two months. I’d rather do that than put more strain on my $3,000 credit card balance. 

I’m spending most days interviewing and scouting for more work. I don’t go out for dinner as much and try to cook at home, but overall, my expenses stay the same. 

Luckily, I was able to apply for EI. The process was a bit cumbersome, and I didn’t receive a payment until about six weeks into my layoff. 

Now, I’m receiving regular EI payments that supplement my severance until that runs out in a couple of weeks. But I’ve received two callbacks from potential employers, so I’m feeling optimistic.

A credit counsellor’s advice to Jason

Jason is one of thousands of laid-off employees in Ontario this year. It’s easy to assume layoffs ended after COVID-19, but the trickle effects still affect many Canadians. Overall, Jason is in a good financial spot. 

Realistically, he only needed about a month’s savings until EI kicked in, plus his severance added more security. But he knew that things happen beyond his control, and still set aside a portion of his paycheque accordingly. 

Despite his layoff, Jason’s credit score hasn’t been affected. He has a few income layers for the time being that help him maintain his timely payments. 

He did a great job maintaining a strong financial picture despite his uncertain layoff. We’d recommend that he should see a credit counsellor to help him with budgeting during this time. Credit Canada’s certified credit counsellors are always here to offer debt relief services for Canadians who need it.

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