You’ve Been Downsized! Tips for Your Financial Survival

By Martin Brown

you've been firedIf you’ve got a case of the financial jitters right now, welcome to the party.

Even government employees are feeling the pinch with layoffs and furloughs in their once rock solid world of job security. In the private sector job losses are escalating at alarming rates and the situation appears more dire with each passing week.  

The Obama administration is planning a massive input of government spending in the hope that it will begin to right our economic ship. To date, the outgoing Bush administration’s rescue plans have slowed, but by no means stopped the crashing economy.

At this point we have to hope that the new administration’s actions will be more effective and that a sense of confidence will return to both our housing and financial markets.

In the meantime, hopefully your job will still be there after this economic storm passes, but in the event that it’s not, here are five money smart solutions if you become a victim of downsizing.

1. Signing Up for the Benefits You Have Earned.

Go down to the state unemployment insurance office and sign up for job loss benefits now! Usually six months, benefits have been extended currently to nine months and may go up to twelve months as part of the overall economic stimulus package. It’s a relatively small amount of money but it can make a big difference on a very tight budget.

2. Get Your Budget In Order Right Now.

Take out your bills and charge receipts from the last two months and then write down all your expenditures. Some of your expenses maybe once a year as opposed to monthly. Holiday gift shopping is an example of a non-recurring expense. Other basic outlays, rent, utilities, phone, and cable charges hit you every month. Of course you have a general idea of what you’re spending, but putting it down on paper is an essential step in organizing your current situation and helping you to forecast the future.

3. Time To Slash Those Expenses.

Undoubtedly there are some of us who are already living lean and mean. That’s not the majority, however, by any means. While everywhere we turn we see certain cutbacks being made, retail and restaurant sales are substantially down for example, that doesn’t mean there are not other places you need to cut. So look up and down that list and start marking through items that you can reduce or eliminate. There is no real difference between a dollar saved and a dollar earned only that with every dollar earned the government wants a share, with the dollars you save they are all yours to keep.

4. Look To The Future.

Having laid out your budget in black and white, only you know how far your reserves will stretch: one month, two months, perhaps six or more? That’s why you do your planning now and get your house in order sooner than later. In the meantime do what you can to bring money in to the house. Consider part time work, contract work, anything that will prevent your remaining funds from dwindling still further.

5. Fight The Good Fight.

A columnist in a recent issue of Fortune Magazine said that economic turmoil is much like the uphill stages of the famous bicycle race, Tour de France. It’s only on those difficult stretches that the lead changes hands. Out of the wreckage of this economy will come a new and ultimately healthier economy. New leaders will emerge and old leaders will fall behind. Don’t become mired in mourning the loss of your old job, or your old company. You’re a talented contributor to any workplace that brings you onboard and you will be a valued addition to their team. Fight the good fight, check out job listings every day and push forward with the confidence of knowing that whatever tough times you face today, better days are certainly ahead!

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