Losing a job can feel like the rug was pulled out from under you. Whether you recently lost yours or are simply worried about job security due to today's economic climate, you can use these tips to navigate the obstacle of unemployment and determine next steps.
What to do after a job loss
1. Take a step back and breathe
While losing a job comes with a host of practical and financial concerns, it’s crucial to address the mental impact as well. Acknowledge how you’re feeling and confide in loved ones for support. While it’s easy – and understandable – to get caught up in the fear of the unknown, it’s important to remember that this situation is temporary. With some forethought, things can and will get better.
2. Consider applying for unemployment
Contact your state’s unemployment office and file your claim online or over the phone. Once your unemployment claim is received, it could take several weeks to process, so it’s important to file promptly.1
3. Evaluate your savings
What does your savings account look like? Based on your expenses and cost of living, how long do you think it will last? If you don’t think you have enough, you may want to consider hardship or personal loans to help bridge the gap. You could also pick up a temporary job, but keep in mind, this will make you ineligible for unemployment if you do so. If possible, try to avoid dipping into your retirement savings.
4. Cut down spending
Look for places in your budget where you can reel in spending. Consider getting rid of the non-essentials, such as: gym memberships, music streaming services, or even mobile app monthly fees. It might be difficult to part with some of these things, but your budget will thank you for it. As your situation changes, you can always revisit these services to determine if you still want to use them.
- Tip: Use Money Management to easily identify where your money is going so you can make informed decisions about your budget. This free, highly visual dashboard is available to General Electric Credit Union (GECU) members enrolled in Online Banking or who use our mobile app.2
5. Make financial obligations the priority
If you find you need to prioritize some of your expenses, it’s best to tend to necessities, such as: rent/mortgage, electric and gas bills, and food. Then focus on your other debts, such as your vehicle loans or credit card payments. If you’re concerned about these payments, the best lenders and financial institutions offer programs that allow you to skip a loan payment. This can put more money in your pocket that can be diverted to necessities during challenging times.
- Did you know eligible GECU loanholders in good standing can apply to skip a loan payment? Learn more about our Skip-a-Pay program and how it can keep you on track in the event of a job loss.
6. Re-evaluate your student loan payback plan
In these types of situations, you may be able to adjust your repayment plan by temporarily suspending or lowering your payments. If you wish to suspend payments, the two most common ways are through deferment or forbearance. If you’re just looking for a lower payment, you may consider a refinance.3 The best thing to do is talk to your lender about your current financial situation so they can help determine the best options.
7. Solidify your healthcare plan
If you were laid off or terminated, healthcare is likely no longer provided by your employer; however, you may be eligible for a COBRA plan.4 If you decide not to go that route, you’ll need to look for alternatives for healthcare coverage.
The best thing you can do in times like these is take proactive steps to reduce the impact. Minimize the monetary consequences of losing your job by making sure you have access to healthcare, revisiting your budget, and seeking assistance programs to reduce any long-term unemployment impact. GECU offers a wealth of complimentary tools, resources, and programs aimed at benefitting you in both good and bad times. From Money Management to our Skip-a-Pay program, we do what we can to help with Improving the Quality of Your Financial Life.