Redundancy and Your Home Loan

Written by Michael McAlary

It seems that companies are announcing plans to lay off staff on a daily basis. In Australia over the last 3 months car manufacturers have indicated their intention to stop producing, Qantas has announced its intention to reduce its work force by 5,000 and while not as widely reported, Worley Parsons will be reducing its workforce by 500 staff. Not receiving wide media coverage are the knock on impacts to sub-contracting companies and suppliers as they inevitably have to reduce their workforce as demand their products and services decreases.

If you’re someone facing redundancy or thinking you may be made redundant it can be a very worrying time. It’s amazing how just talking about it relieves the stress. An obvious worry will be how you continue to cover the ongoing commitments, the mortgage, car loan, school fees, a wedding or a planned holiday, etc.

Many, if not everyone will do mental calculations on how much redundancy money they will receive. If you have a home loan you will be considering a number of possibilities, including should I:

  • Continue making the same home loan repayments that I have been doing? This may be the best approach if you do not have a new role ready to step into as it means that there is still money to live off. You can calculate how long the money will last while you are looking for a new job.
  • Make a lump sum payment to my home loan, and if so how much? Of course this will depend on the size of the home loan and the redundancy payment. If you have another job organised, then making a lump sum payment against the mortgage is a sound financial strategy.
  • Slightly increase the home loan repayment amount, so that you get in front on your mortgage. The monthly payment may be $2,000, so you increase this to $2,200. This has the advantage of putting you in front on your home loan, thereby providing a buffer that you have available for use, if need be. Hopefully, that situation will not arise, and if it doesn’t then being in front on your mortgage repayments is a sensible financial strategy as it reduces the term of the home loan.

Once you have considered your debt position that should include credit card and personal or car loans, as well as the home loan, then you should consider the investment opportunities and in the context of your life style.

Can I put some into an investment, or as a non-concessional superannuation contribution to support? You may be able to buy a new car or take a holiday. For many it’s a major invitation to spend and live it up as if it was a lottery win, while for others it can feel like the end of the earth. Undoubtedly, each person’s situation is different, but what everyone has in common is the need to take stock of their financial position to avoid inadvertently making a major financial mistake. How much money do you need to live? Do you qualify for Government assistance? And of course are there tax consequences?

It may sound silly but redundancy should also be seen as an opportunity. It’s interesting how new lifestyle and work opportunities arise, particularly if you take a pro-active attitude and approach. Remember that help is nearby!

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