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Financial Survival Tips for the Unemployed
Long term unemployment can wreak havoc on your ego and self-esteem, but the financial effects can be just as devastating if you don't start planning right away.
Get the whole family involved. The entire family suffers during a job loss and everyone needs to carry their share of the burden. Although some advise not to worry your children with personal financial problems, kids of all ages know when there is tension in the family and they will feel more empowered if they can help ease the load, plus It’s a great opportunity to teach them a lesson in frugality. Their age and maturity level will determine how much information you share. Just stay positive and reassure them that everything will be fine.
Apply for unemployment. Although it’s often a fraction of your previous income, it’s still
money coming in and the sooner you file, the sooner the weekly checks will come.
Set spending priorities. Determine what you can give up and what you cannot. Health insurance should always be a priority, but the $100 monthly gym membership is not. There are many expenses you can simply stop at anytime. Others, you may have to call and explain that you’ve lost your job and may need a few months “suspension”
Be certain you and your spouse on are the same page when it comes to setting priorities. You may feel that giving up private school for the kids is an easy way to cut back, however your spouse may see this as a non-compromise issue. Come to an agreement early on so as the funds begin to dwindle, you have a plan of action to cut back if your joblessness goes from weeks into months.
Establish a budget and stick to it. Track your spending so you can see where it it really going. Often when you see it in writing, there are many expenditures that can be eliminated.
Avoid credit whenever possible. If you allow it, unemployment could result in out-of-control credit card debt. Resist the temptation to pull out the plastic and use cash for all purchases.
Hands-off your retirement funds. Your 401K can be a strong temptation, but should only be considered as a worst-case option. Many don’t realize that you will loss one-third to one-half just in withdrawal penalties, not to mention the tax liability. If you have to file bankruptcy, your retirement funds are protected, so they are best left untouched.
Look for creative ways to make some extra cash. Craigslist is a great way to sell items, small and large, around the house that you may not need. Consider your talents and take on some odd jobs or check out freelance websites for work in your field of expertise.
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