No one expected the onslaught that the coronavirus pandemic would bring. The United States wasn’t spared and the job loss has affected many Americans financially. If you’re going through this, here are some tips to help you survive a sudden loss of job.
How to Survive a Loss of Job During This Time
When COVID-19 began spreading quickly in the United States in mid-March, no one could anticipate the unprecedented effect it would have on the economy. Governors rushed to close non-essential businesses. Social distancing and sanitation requirements forced essential businesses to change how they operate.
Tens of millions of Americans were laid off, furloughed, or their hours severely cut. Among those forced to cease operations were small business owners, hairdressers, bartenders/servers, personal trainers, amusement park staff, and retail workers. The entire economy slowed, deeply affecting realtors, financial planners, salespeople, parks and recreation staff, and more.
Especially frustrating is the uncertainty surrounding re-openings as states and municipalities decide when and how to ease restrictions. Large venues and bars/nightclubs could be barred from opening until 2021 in some places.
If you are one of the people who suddenly lost your job due to the coronavirus, you know that financial relief agencies have been overwhelmed. So what are the steps to take to ensure your financial stability?
1. Take Stock of Your Bills
Now is not the time to guess or estimate what you need to make each month to get by.
Write out every bill that you pay monthly, including subscriptions and memberships that may automatically charge to your credit cards. Be thorough and exact.
2. Assess Income Streams
Do you collect rent on a second property? Do you have a savings account you can dip into? Maybe you have investments you can liquidate? With so many jobs temporarily eliminated from the economy, your options for re-employment will be limited, so this is the time for drastic action.
If you have the ability to borrow money from a family member, pursue that.
3. Cut the Fluff
Prioritize the bills you need to pay: housing, food, utilities, and transportation. Cancel gym memberships and magazine subscriptions; stop buying clothes and cut your entertainment costs as much as you can.
Cable TV and streaming services are a luxury, not a necessity.
4. Ruthlessly Cut Expenses
Next, address ways to minimize your bills that aren’t going away, like your mortgage/rent and food costs. Clip coupons and change the way that you eat: fresh food costs more. Consider canned and frozen foods instead.
If you have the ability to, take on a roommate. If you own your home, consider renting it out for more than the mortgage payment and move somewhere less expensive. Pay only the minimum on credit cards and push medical bills to the back burner.
5. Cease All Savings
Stop all contributions to retirement funds or savings accounts. Even small amounts can make a big difference in being able to get by.
Saving $20 each week could conceivably buy you 20 simple meals.
6. Reach Out Before You Miss Payments
Be proactive and contact your credit card and mortgage companies before you miss payments. They may be willing to work with you or offer some type of temporary relief.
7. Seek Help
Apply for every type of help that you are eligible for: unemployment, food stamps, grants, etc.
The CARES act made significant funds available in a variety of ways, and many employers are taking advantage of the Payroll Protection Plan. Some cities are offering the opportunity to waive your utility costs. Pursue all of your options.
8. Be Resourceful
Accept that your industry may not return for months, and even if it is reopened, your ability to make money may be severely limited. Social distancing and sanitation requirements will limit customers in many businesses, for a long time.
Open up your Rolodex. Reach out to friends that are still working, and network with anyone who has offered you a job in the past. Consider all of the skills that you have developed and brainstorm how you can use them.
Instead of wallowing in desperation, get organized and make a plan. Don’t wait for things to return to “normal,” because there will be a new normal when this is all over. Your ability to adapt and your resilience are both of paramount importance here.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going – so get yourself in gear.
How have you been dealing with the pandemic money-wise? Share with us some tips in the comments section!