Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Proofing your life from a Layoff

So you see lots of stuff on the internet about what to do in order to get by after a lay off. However, the time to prepare for any disaster isn't after it happens but before. A layoff is no different. We live in an unstable job market.  Layoffs and redistribution are common and looks like it will stay that way. It's not fun to prepare for the worst but you will have such a peace of mind knowing you are.

Here is my list of actions you can take now to make getting through a future income loss easier:

1) Always keep up to date on doctor's appointments.  This includes dentist, eye doctors, cardiologist, gynecologist, etc. As soon as you are eligible, go in for that checkup. If you are up to date you can usually put off anything until you can get insurance back on line.

2) Keep an extra month of medications on hand. You can ask your doctor for a 1 month prescription on your usual meds. This is also good to have for emergencies. Remember to rotate your supply.

3) Keep private life insurance even if you have it through work.You don't have to worry about your family's finances even more in case something happens to you. It's also good in case you ever have a major medical issue and can no longer qualify for life insurance.

Note: Do not keep private disability or health insurance if it's offered through your work. They are expensive, and unlike life insurance, they don't coordinate benefits. This means they both don't pay out their full face value, and the two insurance companies usually end up fighting over who is responsible for what.

4) Keep up to date on all professional licenses. That way you're not looking for a job with expired credentials.

5) Eat right, exercise, and don't smoke. This keeps insurance costs down if you have to buy private insurance and keeps your out of pocket costs down while in between insurance.

6) Keep a 6 month emergency fund. Yes, it's more fun to spend it and really hard to save that much, but you need it. You'll be under much less stress if you know you have 6 months' living expenses covered while you search for a perfect job.

7) Keep up with house repairs and car repairs. That includes tires, oil changes, etc.

8) Keep cash on hand. We operate in a cashless society, but you need to keep some at home. If your accounts get frozen you can buy food and gas. It's also important in emergencies in case the electricity is down for several days and debit card machines are unusable.

9) Don't have or use credit. That includes car payments and ultimately a house payment.

10) Stockpile. No, you don't have to hoard, but even an extra bottle of shampoo can give mental relief and room in your budget.

11) Keep pets up to date on shots and extra flea, tick and worm medicine on hand.

12) Stay on a budget and keep up with your bills.

13) Keep learning! Whether it's expanding your college education so you can qualify for better jobs, acquiring more professional abilities, learning things that are totally unrelated to your current area in case the field you are in declines, or even a skill like sewing, computer repair, or teaching piano that you can use as a side income.

14) Have multiple streams of income. Use rental properties, a small business, mystery shopper, or alterations. Have them up and generating income now. That way there is no layover of income while waiting for them to start generating.

15) Invest in people! Keep up with your relationships with family and friends  They will be the ones who are there for you long after the company has given you the brushoff. Yes, long hours are required for many jobs today. Remember spending all your time and being great at your job will not keep your head off the chopping block in today's work world.

But the most important thing you can do to help yourself is knowledge. Know that it can happen to you at any time and for any reason. No one is safe from a loss of income.

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