"I lost my job and I need money. Now what?"
If you've ever uttered these words, then welcome to the club. In today's economy, keeping your job for the foreseeable future is rarely an absolute certainty. The possibility of losing your job is, unfortunately, always present.
That's why you should never let a sudden job loss catch you completely off-guard. Yes, sometimes a company you work for may notify employees ahead of time about potential layoffs, giving employees time to process and find new work. But other times, the job you had simply won't exist when you get to work in the morning.
But it's not the end of the world — especially if you're well-prepared. After losing your job, here's how you can come out on top.
We want to show you how to survive a layoff financially while recovering from the emotional toll of a job loss. Here are some simple guidelines for getting back on your feet after losing your job!
Re-Examine Your Budget and Emergency Fund
Now that your primary source of income is temporarily canceled, you need to restructure your budget in any way that will help you make it through the next few weeks more easily. You can reasonably expect to find another job sooner or later, but your current budget should look as spartan as possible.
That means cutting out all the extras and frills. Slash your entertainment budget, your junk food budget, even your transportation budget if possible. Limit your expenses to only what's necessary. Then, check your existing emergency fund, and withdraw from it only when you have to.
Tip: for more information on creating and maintaining an emergency fund, check out this recent blog post!
Network Like There's No Tomorrow
Remember all those friends from high school, college, previous jobs, or even in your neighborhood? Some of them might know a place where you can find work. Reach out to them as soon as possible for information about potential jobs, and put in applications wherever possible.
If you are at all savvy on social media platforms, perhaps you have heard of or used LinkedIn in the past. LinkedIn is all about networking and will allow you to make connections with others in your area or your previous industries. By connecting with and reaching out to these people, you may find yourself in a far better position than the one you occupied at your last job.
Consider Unemployment Benefits if Necessary
If you have not received severance pay, a retirement payout, or a form of temporary employment elsewhere, you may qualify for unemployment benefits from your previous company. In Texas, you can apply online or at your local unemployment office, explain your situation, and begin receiving help to bridge the gap until you find more work.
Remember: you still have to pay taxes on whatever money you receive from unemployment benefits, but these are usually collected at the end of the year when it is time to pay income taxes.
Take a Proactive Approach
There is a reason the early bird catches the worm. The more proactive you are, and the faster you apply for jobs and pursue opportunities, the more likely you are to land a new job. You may have to go out of your comfort zone by cold-calling companies you want to work for and jumping on job boards. But the harder you push, the more likely it is that you will be rewarded.
Think of This as an Opportunity
No one wants to lose their job. But if you were unhappy in your role or had planned to leave the industry anyway, this may be a blessing in disguise. You can finally explore a new career field and perhaps find the path you were meant to walk in the first place.
Visit a career counselor or take an online assessment to see what kinds of jobs line up with your skills. Consider going back to school to find your real calling. Many people find successful second, third or fourth careers, no matter how old or young they are, because they have been laid off or let go.
Protect Your Mental Health
Losing a job can be hard on you emotionally. You may feel vulnerable, upset and confused. So what to do when you lose your job? Open up to your friends and family about your feelings, and seek support so you don't fall into the doldrums. Everyone loses a job sooner or later. It doesn't reflect on your value as a person, as those you love can tell you. Don't tie your self-worth to your work.
Look Into Your Benefits
If you lose your job, you may also lose your health insurance, so you need to come up with a plan B. While getting a new job is certainly your main focus, unexpected health issues could set you back even further. You may be able to get coverage through COBRA, your spouse or a health insurance state marketplace.
You should also check on what happens to your retirement plan when you leave. While tapping into it may not be the best strategy, as you will pay hefty tax penalties, you may be able to roll it over into another account. Contact a financial advisor to discuss your options.
Apply for an Online Personal Loan
One of the easiest ways to get through a period without your regular, steady income each week is to apply for a quick and easy personal loan from Atlas Credit online or at one of our locations throughout Oklahoma and Texas. If someone else in your household is working, you have existing funds that can help you begin making payments on your personal loan, or you have work lined up in the near future, you can qualify for an online personal loan -- even if you have bad credit.
Ultimately, only you can control how to deal with losing your job. It will be hard and it will take planning, but it's not the end of the world.
Contact Atlas Credit today to learn more, and keep reading the Atlas Credit blog every week for more financial information and advice!