Getting laid off can be a shock for anyone. Sometimes they come as a surprise and on some occasions layoffs are expected. When you’re presented with a layoff, you may feel that your life is crumbling before your eyes. With no job and debt, how will you pay your bills?
The thought of having no job and debt can keep even the most financially stable person up at night. It’s every ones worst nightmare. So if you’re not going into unemployment with a large amount of savings then how do you handle debt while laid off? There’s no simple answer to this question and every situation is unique but here are five tips to help you handle debt when laid off from your job.
Know what funds you have available
Make a list of all of the monetary assets that you have. You should know exactly the amount of money you have in your checking and savings account. As for credit cards, know your available credit. If you have any investments or retirement accounts, you should know the cash value for those as well. Desperate times call for desperate measures and you will probably need these funds in order to get by.
Prioritize your expenses
You always want to pay secured debt first. Secured debt means that the asset can be claimed by the lender if the borrower falls short of payments. Examples of secured debt are your house and car. Your mortgage, utilities and food expenses should be the first expenses that you pay before anything else.
It may get frustrating getting creditor calls from your credit card companies but credit bills are the last thing that you pay in these kind of situation. So don’t be pressured to pay the bill unless you can afford it. Also, don’t allow creditors to harass you. Know your rights and find out what laws in your area protect you from creditor harassment.
When laid off ask your employer about a severance package. Severance package are pay and benefits given to an employee when they have been laid off. The amount given is based on the length of employment. It can include a payment for unused sick and vacation days. Severance pay should be rationed towards your bills until you find new employment.
Call each creditor and make them aware of your situation. Let them know that you have been laid off. Most credit card companies will be willing to work with you due to the simple fact that they want their money. In most cases there is a good chance that you will be able to negotiate a payment plan. Also, ask your bank about a hardship plan or forbearance program. These programs can involve lowering minimum payment, temporarily lowering the interest rate, or the cancellation of late fees and penalties.
Get a job
It’s important to get a job as soon as possible. When you’ve been laid off and you have debt, you are not in a position to be choosy about where you work. It’s important to get a job, any job. Of course you would like to do something related to your experience and your training but you must face the fact that you may not got the job you desire. Finding a job takes time and patience, so if you know of any places that are hiring immediately, just take it.
If you can’t find a job, then get creative and find ways to make money. Sale your car or rent out a room in your house. If you have a skill start contracting out work as a way to supplement income. Start a business from home using resources that you already have.
In conclusion, unemployment doesn’t have to ruin your finances. Although, being laid off from a job can be one of the hardest times of your life, good money management skills and determination can help you manage your debt effectively.
Romona Bradham is the owner of Monasez.com, a lifestyle blog which helps young adults achieve their finance, career, and life goals. You can contact Romona at firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter, and google+.