Preparing for emergencies like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes seems pretty straightforward: Make sure you have food, water, safety shelter, and somewhere to go— just in case. But so often, it’s the emergencies of indoor life that creep up and scare us. Medical problems, family strife, and simple home maintenance issues can throw the monthly budget off its axis.
That’s why losing a job can be just as disturbing as an earthquake for a family, just a bit more conspicuous. Facing the prospect of job loss can force a family to reevaluate its priorities (which isn’t always a bad thing).
Here are 10 things to consider when facing a job loss:
- Update your resume. In the fast-paced, judge-at-a-glance world we inhabit, a solid resume is key to getting re-employed. Put it in front of some professional eyes that can give ideas about layout and content.
- Make sure primary bills are covered with a savings supply. Be aware of when your money will run out, and plan out exactly how long that money will cover rent/mortgage payments, insurance, car payments, utilities, etc. Knowing how large that window is will help improve your post-job loss plans.
- Re-budget for a new reality. The money you have saved should now be going towards food, shelter, and your job search. Live within your means. Make it a point to find fun things to do that cost little (i.e. matinees, early-bird specials, hikes, etc.).
- Don’t make enemies as you leave. The instinct may be to bitterly burn every bridge at your last place of employment, but frankly, your last job may still be a good resource. They may have references, counselors, or professionals to help you become re-employed.
- Use credit cards sparingly. Only charge what you can afford to pay back in a realistic time period. Err on the side of caution when transferring balances since some cards carry a higher interest rate or transfer fee.
- Prioritize. What are you most concerned about during a natural disaster? Food, water, safety, and shelter. Well, the same idea applies to job loss. If you invest now in food storage or a long-term food, you could have a solid three-month supply of back-up food, water, and emergency supplies stored somewhere in the house. Many families have survived periods of unemployment without incurring any additional debt by living off of their emergency food supplies.
- Contact your financial advisors. Many loan managers have ways to defer, reschedule, or decrease loan payments, but you’ll never know until you actually talk to them.
- Have a family meeting. It’s important to be open about a tough financial situation, even if it’s embarrassing. Getting everyone on the same page—saving money, aligning financial goals and priorities—can save a lot of internal heartache.
- Build better networks. Keep yourself out there, no matter how discouraging it is. Somewhere, somehow, a job will open up, and much of the time, it will come from someone you already know. (Extra tip – Be open to new kinds of work!).
- Stay calm, but not complacent. This can be a great time to reevaluate some of your own goals. Keep working hard—put at least 20 hours a week into getting re-employed—but if things don’t turn up for a while, stay positive.