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Person with head in hands looking at a laptop wondering what to do if you lose your job and have a financial emergency.

Financial Emergency: What To Do If You Lose Your Job

Losing your job can be emotionally, psychologically, physically, and financially draining. However, now more than ever, you need to remain calm and focused. While several challenges are ahead, you can get through this.

This article can help you cope with the first few weeks after losing your job and deal with the challenges and changes. In addition, it can help you manage your finances, look for new opportunities, and come out of this experience as a stronger and more confident person.  

Schedule a Meeting with HR

Ask your company's HR (human resources) representative if you're entitled to separation pay. This varies according to the terms of your contract and how many years you've worked for the company.

Then, go over the details of your final paycheck. It should include any back pay, unused leave credits, and (if applicable) bonuses and commissions.

Finally, ask the HR representative when your current medical employee benefits end. Some companies automatically continue the coverage for the remainder of the year; if not, request if they can.   

Apply for Unemployment Benefits

Check your state's website to determine if you qualify for benefits like unemployment insurance. You will get a percentage of your salary for 26 weeks, which can help pay for necessities while you look for a job.  

Some states will also have job training and placement programs, including subsidies for childcare for anyone who is in the process of looking for a job.

If you were the sole source of household income, you could also apply for rent, utility subsidies, and food assistance. Check out LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

An unemployment application with money.

Explore Your Health Insurance Options

Health insurance is expensive, but getting sick without coverage will cost much more. Check out the Health Insurance Marketplace for more affordable plans and if you qualify for Medicaid or the CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program).

Review Your Budget

Until you find a new source of income, you'll be living off your savings. So first, look over your budget and remove all unnecessary expenses, then look for ways to reduce even the essentials. You won't be able to change fixed costs (such as rent or loan payments), but you can control variable expenses like food, transportation, and entertainment.

To stick to this new budget, you must diligently track your expenses. Write down whatever you spend, no matter how small. Those $10 or $15 random expenses add up in the end! You can use a small notebook, an app, or even the notes function on your phone—whatever works for you.

Collect Coupons

As the saying goes, "A dollar saved is a dollar earned." Look for coupons and discount codes on websites or use a coupon aggregator app. Sign up for newsletters or social media sites of brands or stores you frequent to be notified of special offers.

Change Your Shopping Habits

You may be used to buying online or going to a nearby supermarket simply because it is convenient. But now, it's better to get more value for your money by buying where you can get the best prices. So, plan a trip and buy many of the things you need if a supermarket has a significant price difference.

Always shop with a list. When you go blindly into a store, you're more likely to overspend, buy items you don't need, or forget essential items—which will mean another trip to the store and more temptation to shop.  

Start Your Job Hunt

Aside from saving money, you need to find a new job. Update your resume and look for openings on employment sites and LinkedIn. Ask friends if they have any openings; many companies don't do job postings and prefer to hire through referrals.

When you apply, be ready to make customized cover letters and, if needed, edit your resume to highlight the experience that is most relevant to the position. It may take more time and effort, but it will increase your chances of being hired.

A woman searching for a job online.

Use this time to practice doing job interviews. You'll find many sites that give sample questions and appropriate answers. This can help you stand out among the sea of applicants and help you make a good impression.

Clean Up Your Social Media

Many employers will check candidates' social media accounts to get an idea of their personality, lifestyle, and character. Therefore, check if you have posted anything that could jeopardize your chances of getting a job.

If you do, delete or hide the posts, or change the privacy settings. Avoid posting anything else that could be a point against you.

You may even want to consciously curate your posts to show your skills, experience, or why you would be a good fit for a job. Businesses use social media for marketing, which you can use to market yourself.

Get Temporary Employment or Income Sources

While you wait for your new dream job to come along, don't be afraid (or too proud) to accept part-time jobs. You can find plenty of temporary, part-time, seasonal, or project-based work on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, CoolWorks, FlexJobs, SmagaJob, Craigslist, and more.

While you may not earn as much as you used to, these jobs can help pay some of the bills and also help you stay focused and feel productive.

Also, consider special skills or talents you can use to earn money. For example, consider being an online tutor if you're fluent in another language. You can sell food or take orders if you're good at cooking or baking. If you've got a green thumb, ask your neighbors if they need help with their gardening.

Work on Improving Yourself and Upgrading Your Skills

Every cloud has a silver lining. Though it is hard to lose your job, now you have time to focus on yourself. Grab this opportunity to take online classes, webinars, or short courses.

If you don't know where to start, consider the qualifications mentioned in those job postings. What did employers look for? What are some skills that can give you an edge over other candidates? Then look for the relevant classes and other learning opportunities.

Aside from formal classes, you can research industry trends or read books on your expertise. This can help you give better answers during job interviews and help you feel more confident about your knowledge and expertise.

Process Your Emotions

Going through a storm of emotions is normal after losing your job. You may be angry, frustrated, embarrassed, afraid, anxious, and depressed. You may feel lethargic and emotionally exhausted one day and jittery with nervous energy the next.

Suppressing these emotions will only make you implode. Recognizing what you feel and giving yourself time to grieve is necessary. However, rather than wallowing in them and feeding your negative thoughts, actively process them and reflect.

Consider this as a time to learn more about yourself and grow as a person. Who knows—this could be a significant turning point that leads you to better things.

Practice Self-Care

Any change can be stressful and scary, and losing your job creates the additional pressure of scrambling for extra income and looking for a new job.

That's why it's essential to practice self-care to handle everything in a suitable physical, emotional, and psychological condition. Then, find affordable (or even free) ways to lift your mood and reward yourself. Walking in the park, watching funny videos, spending time with family—even those simple pleasures can make a big difference.

A man hunting for a job on his phone.

Visualize and Attract Success

Career coaches tell their clients to envision the job they want and articulate it clearly and in concrete terms. Then, set career goals, make vision boards, and practice mantras and positive affirmations.

Why is this important? Some people believe it is the Law of Attraction: thoughts have energy, which can help increase your chances of getting what you want.

But even if you don't believe in that, goal setting and visualization can benefit your mindset, mood, motivation, and self-confidence. Also, if you keep your eye on the prize, you can bounce back from disappointment and deal with stress.

Apply for Personal Loans for Important Expenses

Loans can help you cover expenses while you look for a job. It can be used for anything: medical bills, car repairs, rent, or any urgent personal need.

However, applying for a bank loan is complicated and tedious. In addition, since you are unemployed, they will ask for several documents and maybe even require someone to co-sign the loan. As a result, you'll spend more time looking for a new job or earning money.

Simple Fast Loans offers a faster, easier way to apply for a loan. Everything is done online, and you can qualify for the loan even if you have less-than-perfect credit.  

  1. Apply through the online form.
  2. Submit the documents. A loan representative will help you through the process.
  3. If you agree to the package, you will get a link to e-sign the final documents.
  4. Once the loan is approved, you get the money the same day or the next business day.

Simple Fast Loans offers personal Loans from $200 to $3,000 and only requires a government-issued ID, Social Security number, and income statements.

Fill out the online form to learn more about how personal loans can help you as navigate the job market.

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