COVID-19 exposed the fragility of the global economy. In the United States, many people don’t have enough money in savings to cover an emergency expense of $1,000. What can you do in that situation if you experience unemployment unexpectedly?
The reality of financial survival is that you must start before something lousy happens. Your priority should be to establish a savings account that can handle six months of everyday expenses (mortgage/rent, utilities, food). If you receive unemployment benefits, those two monetary sources can get you through those tough times.
You can also take these steps to manage your finances after getting laid off unexpectedly.
Top Money Moves to Make When Laid Off
1. Apply for unemployment benefits.
The qualification criteria for receiving benefits vary, but you may qualify for them even if you’re only working part-time instead of in a full-time job. If you get a severance, your benefits may not start until your final paycheck. The catch here is that your employment separation cannot be for cause.
2. Manage your health insurance.
Get your health insurance coverage changed immediately after your employment ends. There may not be a grace period to use. If your income drops enough, Americans might qualify for Medicaid or low-cost insurance through the Affordable Care Act. In other countries, you’d want to manage whatever supplemental benefits came from your job.
3. Cut back on your budget.
What items can disappear from your budget? Without an income, almost everything should be on the table. Cable television, gym memberships, streaming subscriptions, and other expenses have cheaper alternatives to review. Update each item as necessary to try fitting everything into what you currently receive.
4. Look for new work.
Some people sell unused items on eBay, Mercari, or similar platforms to make ends meet. You could start a side hustle with your skills or talents to earn some cash. It also helps to speak with family and friends about potential job openings that might be available in the community.
5. Apply for community resources.
Some banks and credit unions may provide low- or no-interest loans to keep you on your feet. Mortgage providers offered a forbearance on loan payments to prevent foreclosure and eviction. Some social services in your community can put you in touch with food stamps and similar benefits.
The one thing you shouldn’t touch unless there is no other choice is your retirement account. Keep that portfolio building to keep your long-term goals pushing forward.
If you have been laid off, do not panic; there are solutions within your reach.