Nobody likes to consider the chance that they may find themselves unemployed, but due to the current pandemic and possible future recession, it’s a necessity that everyone should start thinking about. No matter how recession-proof you think your job may be, it’s always a good idea to start preparing for unemployment now.
If you’re unsure of how to prepare for unemployment,check this blog about the top eight ways you can ensure you’re ready for unexpected job loss.
- Trim Your Budget
Step one in how to prepare for unemployment is to take a look at your budget. How much of your income are you spending? Compare your spending on necessities versus luxuries. If you have any concerns about losing your job in the near future, cut down your budget as much as you can and don’t splurge on an extravagant vacation! Place all the money that you would normally put towards entertainment into your savings to prepare yourself for months with no income.
- Build Up The Emergency Fund
You might not have any specific savings accounts at this point, but you should now separate out at least two: an emergency fund and retirement savings. You should apply all of your extra funds towards these two accounts, with a special focus on your emergency fund during the time when your job may be in jeopardy.
Many people stop paying into their emergency fund once they reach a specific goal, but on our list of how to prepare for unemployment, the emergency fund is a critical part of surviving while jobless. Even if you’ve reached your initial goal for this account, keep paying into it until you have at least a year’s worth of living expenses.
- Look At Health Insurance
Many people rely on their employers for health insurance. When they lose their jobs, they never even consider what it means for their healthcare costs. You might think that COBRA could pick up the slack until you find new insurance, but this could be a heavy financial burden.
If you’re preparing for unemployment, you should start searching for health insurance options with your reduced income right now, so that you’re ready for whatever comes your way. There are a number of resources through the ACA that can help you find affordable healthcare no matter how much money you’re making.
- Speed Up Debt Repayment
One of the biggest burdens for those who are unemployed is still having to make payments toward various debts. Whether it’s a mortgage, student loans, or credit card debt, you should speed up your debt repayment, even if you have a low income. When preparing for unemployment, prioritize debts that have high interest rates or those that don’t offer deferment.
- Apply for Deferments
Rent and mortgage are at the top of everyone’s list when thinking about how to prepare for unemployment. The reason it’s not as vital as building up your emergency fund and trimming your budget is due to deferment and refinancing options. In cases like the current pandemic, many companies are suspending eviction and foreclosure to provide relief for people dealing with job loss.
You can reach out to your lender to see if you qualify for deferment; that suspends accruing interest and postpones payments until a later date. Negotiate with your lender to ensure the new payment dates are at a time when you’re sure you’ll have a steady income.
- Apply for Unemployment
Part of the taxes taken out of your paycheck is for unemployment insurance, and you should absolutely take advantage of this program if you lose your job. Part of learning how to prepare for unemployment is understanding the application and claim filing process. After you file a claim, it will take the unemployment office several weeks to process your application and attribute the correct Weekly Benefit Amount and Claim Balance to your account. Once they provide you with a claim summary, you can start certifying for your benefits — even if you have to do it retroactively.
- Start Networking
While everyone’s employment situation is different, it’s never too early to start refreshing your resume and networking with potential employers. Hunting for a new job can be very stressful and there are a number of preemptive steps you can take to make it easier.
In addition to ensuring your resume is up to date, you also want your social networking profiles to display you in the best possible light. Add all relevant skills to your LinkedIn profile and share successful projects on your Facebook page. Selling yourself to recruiters is critical for those preparing for unemployment.
- Find Supplemental Income
Starting a side job while you’re still employed is a great way to supplement your income and save more money. Whether it’s a hobby with marketable skills that you can turn into a part-time gig or a passion that you eventually want to transform into your own business, now is a good time to start building up your experience and resources. Did these tips help you learn how to prepare for unemployment? We want to hear from you! Comment below to start a conversation about the best ways to prepare for unexpected unemployment that we didn’t include in our blog.