If you were to listen to some of the most popular economists and pundits you would think that the economy is on the upswing and that Americans are just swimming in cash. But the truth of this matter is that the economy is still faltering. Unemployment is still over 10 percent nationwide and some states are battling an unemployment rate of 16 percent. And if that wasn't enough to rock our already shaky boat, a private survey revealed that many small businesses are planning to implement more job losses. Already, since 2007, the U.S. has suffered 7.2 million job losses. Many of those job losses were suffered in sectors previously considered secure. So what should you do to prepare for the coming wave of job losses?
- Stay abreast of changes at your company and in your industry. Sales drops, loss of clients or an increase in the cost of materials or services are often a prelude to job losses. When the balance sheets of businesses get hit, they often implement job losses before they make other changes.
- Ask yourself, how many months can I survive if I suffer a job loss? Financial experts agree that the average worker needs to save at least 3 to 6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. Those expenses should include rent/mortgage, utilities, food costs, and debt payments such as your credit card and car payments.
- Assess your current financial situation. Are you financially struggling despite working a full-time job? If so, you may want to consider a bankruptcy plan of action. Bankruptcy can help you reduce your expenses by reducing or discharging debt obligations. Bankruptcy can be useful even if you are fully employed. Do you need bankruptcy? The rule of thumb is if you cannot pay your debts, daily expenses AND save you are probably financially sinking and need to file bankruptcy.
One final note, please do not depend on unemployment insurance to cover your monthly expenses. There have been many instances where individuals who thought they would receive unemployment benefits were denied and placed in financial straits. Plan your job loss survival strategy as if you will have no income and leave yourself a little wiggle room.