Being thrown into a position where I had no more income coming in brings a host of thoughts to the forefront of someones’ mind. Nicole wrote about some of the things she felt. I’ve been compiling a list of things that came to mind, and some that dawned on me later. Here are those things and some of my suggestions.
Three big questions kept circling my mind – How am I going to pay my bills? – What do I do about healthcare? – How do I find a new job?
How am I going to pay my bills?
Don’t wait for any of this, you never know how long you’ll be out of work. The sooner you make lifestyle type changes the longer the money you may have saved will last. Of course, there’s always an option of finding another job. That’s not listed here under BILLS since I cover jobs further below.
Unemployment – First, be sure to file for unemployment benefits right away, regardless of how you left your position. Let the state decide if you qualify or not. Here in Illinois, you can start the filing process the day after you left the company.
Sell stuff – Ebay, Craigslist and garage sales are all decent ways to not only clean up around the house, but have a few extra bucks coming in. I was able to test the waters with Ebay and plan on selling more.
Expenses – look hard at all your expenses. Sure, cable TV is nice, but you don’t need it. Streaming services have much to offer as does your local library. Yes, you will still need internet service. But internet service alone is still cheaper than video and internet together. Cut the cord. Keep an eye out for any other expenses, not necessarily to eliminate entirely, but just to cut back on. Do you have any vices you can reduce/remove? It’s probably a good time to stop smoking or cut back on your alcohol consumption. Did you notice I said cut back on alcohol but quit smoking?? Can you guess which one is my vice which I’m not ready to give up? : )
Misc money items
Retirement plan – what to do with it? Did you have a 401k plan? Depending on your company and the plan holder will depend on your options. Typically though, if you have under $5k, you will have to cash it out or roll it into another qualifying account. If it’s over $5k, some companies will let you leave it while some will require you to move it as well. Check into what your requirements are and be sure to follow-through quickly to avoid any tax implications. Check with a tax pro to be sure which is best for you.
What do I do about healthcare?
Healthcare.gov – A good place to start. You MUST have health insurance these days or you’ll be fined.
Spouse insurance – this could be a good option depending on the cost. For example, at Nicole’s place of employment the coverage for her isn’t too bad, but adding me to the coverage, yikes! It’s crazy. So for us, the Marketplace will likely be the place to go.
Medicaid – depending on your household income level, you may qualify for Medicaid. It doesn’t hurt to check and it’s free if you qualify.
How do I find a new job?
I really like Indeed. It’s a good site to search by keyword and crawls a host of online job sites. Of course there’s also Monster, and CareerBuilder, as well as a host of others.
In the positions I’ve held over the years, I’ve had my hands in various areas from operations, to project management, HR and IT. With the responsibility I held, I had responsibility over all these areas. I’m not a professional trainer or teacher on the subjects, but I have learned a few things I like to see/not see on a resume. So for what it’s worth, when it comes to resumes:
– Update your resume. Do this as soon as you can.
– Two pages, max.
– Watch for buzzwords that turn recruiters off quickly.
– Keep work history to 10 years or less.
– Have a list of references (both professional and personal) ready to go.
– Have your LinkedIn updated and list it on your resume. Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Now is a great time to get one.
– Don’t use some goofy email address on your resume or when filling out an online job application. firstname.lastname@example.org shouldn’t be on your resume! Have an email which has your name in the address. email@example.com, something like that. There’s some discussion on what email provider is more “professional” looking. To me, as long as you have your name in the address and not using AOL, you’ll be fine.
Some final thoughts I’ve found true for me:
– Take advantage of your time off. Get into exercising, cooking healthy, cleaning out that garage or start a blog!
– Take over the house duties if your SO has work or school. Our philosophy was always pretty straight forward with this – whoever is at home more should do more at home. That’s not saying that person does everything and the other nothing, but the percentage should be relative to time home.
– Keep to a schedule. I’ve been pretty much keeping to Nicole’s schedule. Up around 5:30am or 6am and in bed at a decent time. I think it actually keeps me motivated more during the day. I feel like I’ve accomplished quite a bit during the weekdays.