Wonderful Wednesday – it is wonderful to know you can make it after unexpectedly being out of work.
Some of my readers are old enough to remember the old Clinton saying, “It’s the economy stupid.” In today’s economy many people are finding themselves unexpectedly out of work. In many cases it is through no fault of their own, it’s the economy. However, no matter what the reason, out of work is out of work. The Wonderful Wednesday articles for December will be exploring the topic of what to do when you find yourself out of work unexpectedly. Future articles will look at:
using your networks to search for a job
starting something new
staying positive and focused
This week’s article is about adjusting your budget. In a previous article, I advised that everyone should have at a minimum, a six month account. A six month account is a readily liquid bank account that has sufficient funds to cover your current lifestyle for six months. My accountant husband read the article later and told me that under the current economic conditions the six month account should be a minimum eighteen to twenty-four month account. What my own experience with being “between opportunities” has taught me is that even with a twelve month account and unemployment insurance, one of the first things a newly unemployed person should do is make serious adjustments to the budget.
Our elected officials in Washington, D.C. are going back and forth deciding whether to increase or decrease the number of weeks of unemployment insurance that will be provided to workers. The elected officials seem to want to decrease the number of weeks to be provided at the same time it is taking even longer to find new employment for many people. Often it can be eighteen to twenty-four months before a person finds a new job. With all these things being true, it is important to reserve whatever income you as and to treat it as a precious resource.
If you find yourself, unexpectedly out of work, adjust your budget. Cut back on expenses where you can now. Some treats will have to go. Instead of a weekly mani-pedi appointment you may need to cut back to once per month or switch to doing these services at home. A similar paring knife should be taken to hair salon appointments, shopping trips for fun and optional entertainment activities. If you start cutting back as soon as the unexpected separation from employment occurs, you will spend less money. If less money is spent the nest egg or unemployment insurance funds will go further and last longer.
This is not to deny a person all treats and comfort, but the reality is, if you are out of work, it makes sense to cut back on salon appointments, shopping for fun and new vacation trips. If you do this early in the process while the bank account is at its zenith, you will still be able to go to the salon six months, twelve months and eighteen months down the road. By amending your spending patterns early by choice, you will not be forced to alter your spending and lifestyle patterns later out of necessity.
Becoming separated from employment unexpectedly happens. So, the question for you this Wonderful Wednesday is what is the first thing you would do if you found yourself unexpectedly out of work?