If you’ve been laid off from work, these tips on how to cope with being unemployed from a financial expert may help. He offers ways to survive unemployment — they’ll help whether you’ve been fired from your job, laid off, or are negotiating a buyout.
“Every recession ends eventually,” says Ethan Ewing. “[If you’ve been laid off from work], stay professional, stay calm and stay prepared so that you can survive whatever the job market throws your way.”
The bottom line? You will survive being unemployed! For more tips on bouncing back from job loss, read Rebound: A Proven Plan for Starting Over After Job Loss by Martha Finney.
And, here are for Ewing’s info on how to cope with being unemployed…
Laid Off From Work? How to Cope With Being Unemployed
1. Before you’re laid off, negotiate a deal. If you have any reason to suspect your company might do layoffs, learn about possible severance packages. If possible, negotiate for a layoff package just as you would for a salary. Ask if you can cash in vacation, sick or personal days; determine how long insurance will run; and look into extension of any other benefits.
2. File for unemployment benefits immediately. Employees who were laid off should qualify for unemployment benefits from their state. File as soon as possible because it could take several weeks to receive a check. Contractors and part-time workers are ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. The new stimulus law increases the amount of unemployment benefits and allows people to receive benefits for 33 weeks instead of 26 weeks. Unemployment benefits will not be taxed up to $2,400.
3. Communicate with others. Tell others what you are going through so they can commiserate — and perhaps refer you to your next job! To cope with being unemployed, find a support group to get you out of the house for coffee and mutual advice, or join an online support group for advice and networking.
4. Do not sign up for COBRA immediately. You have 60 days after leaving a job to apply for COBRA, and it applies retroactively. You might get a job within those 60 days. If not, you can submit your notice to continue coverage on day 55. If you’ve been laid off at work, set aside the amount of the first premium (just in case). Find out what it would cost to be added to a spouse’s insurance policy or to purchase an individual policy. Typically, COBRA is an expensive option, best for heads of household or those who cannot qualify for individual coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
5. Maintain old professional contacts. Write thank-you notes to your supervisor and key colleagues, enclosing your contact information. With luck, they will keep you in mind if job opportunities arise – and they may have tips for even low income jobs.
6. Start networking for new work. To cope with being unemployed, join online sites such as LinkedIn; create a professional profile that mentions recent job experience. Update your resume. Attend networking events in your field. Write down your professional contacts’ information and take it home with you. When possible, obtain personal e-mail addresses (rather than work addresses alone) for your most valued colleagues.
7. If you’ve been laid off at work, stick to your financial budget. Focus on must-pay bills; cut out other costs, such as cable TV or magazine subscriptions. Earn extra money by selling an extra car or having a yard sale. Defer student loans. Talk to your mortgage lender about options, such as refinancing your home mortgage. “If you absolutely cannot pay the bills after significant budget-tightening, seek out a reputable debt resolution firm to discuss options,” Ewing said.
8. Leave your retirement fund alone. Many people reflexively reach for a 401(k) withdrawal form when laid off from work. “But remember that early withdrawals come with income tax and penalties,” Ewing cautions. “Your nest egg is probably already cracked from recent stock market upheaval; avoid tapping it unless absolutely necessary.”
9. Stay positive! This is easier said than done when you’re coping with being unemployed — but get up every day, get dressed and get exercise. Dedicate time every weekday to job networking, applying for jobs and attending work-related events.
Do you feel frustrated, scared, angry, or helpless? Read How to Find the Light at the End of the Tunnel.
If you’ve been laid off from work and have questions or thoughts on coping with being unemployed, please comment below…
Bills.com offers free information about complex personal finance issues including credit cards, debt relief assistance, insurance, mortgages, and other loans.