In the recent weeks and months we have all seen the reports and read the articles about the unemployment rate climbing at a staggering rate. We have also all seen the articles that regurgitate the same old information that has been around forever about how to prepare for unemployment. Things like, update your email contacts, save sample work to a disk, update your resume, etc. That is something that most employees do on a somewhat regular basis anyhow. Unannounced to the authors of those articles, and news stories, the days of working at one company your entire career are gone, and have been gone for several decades. Today’s employees change companies more often, and the stigma of “job hopping” is just about extinct. So yes, keep your resume up to date, check with contacts you have made at your job, and keep copies of sample work, but don’t expect that to keep you afloat when you do face that layoff.
The things that you need to make sure are in place are mostly financial. If your work history is good, and you are experienced in your profession, then you will more than likely find a new job. It’s just a matter of how long that will take, and if you are financially ready for that amount of time. Everyone knows that you are supposed to have 4-6 months of savings for an emergency. Well, what if you used some of that savings for an emergency already? Medical co pays, deductibles, home repairs, they all take away from your savings, and also take a while to replace. And when it comes right down to it, do you really want to use all of your savings that you have worked so hard to keep, in the matter of 4-6 months while looking for a job? I sure don’t. So here are some ways that you can get yourself prepared financially for a job loss or period of unemployment.
The first thing to do would be to check with your lenders, and see if they have a “skip a payment” option on any loans you may have. It is becoming much more common for lenders to do a holiday skip a payment, or have one available. That could help keep your credit rating from getting hit, and allow you to keep that much more money during your unemployment.
Next, pay down your credit cards as much as you can, that will keep your monthly expenses lower and help in the long run, even if you don’t loose your job. It also gives you another source for an emergency fund if they are paid off.
Finally, look into some of the new Unemployment Protection Plans that are available in the US now. These types of plans are set up to pay the members directly with a monthly check if they loose their job and become unemployed. Unemployment or Job loss protection plans are generally paid in addition to any state unemployment benefits that you may receive. That is a really good thing, since the national unemployment check is only about $378 per week.
Hopefully you are reading this before you have come face to face with a job loss and unemployment, and you will realize that with today’s economy, no ones job is safe, not even yours. Over 1.6 million U.S. workers have been laid off in the past 12 months; the best thing you can do is be prepared financially.