The economic times since 2008 that we have been living through are arguably the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Tons of people have lost their homes and their jobs. They’ve had their pensions and what little savings they possessed swindled by investment schemes and the money they owe on credit cards, loans, and other such financial vehicles continue to spiral out of control. What jobs that are created are those at either a much lower salary, part-time, or temporary at best. The social support from governments in many countries are being amended or reduced when people truly need it. Economists have hurrahed in some countries that we’ve come out of the recession, but anyone who has either lost their job or tried to find one in recent years knows better. It’s harsh and tough out there and surviving it is very challenging. So here are some ideas and tips for trying to survive ‘The Recessionary Age’.
First, if you currently have a job, but are fearful of losing it, it is highly recommended to reduce your discretionary spending and start putting away money into a bank account. With social support programs having been amended or reduce you’re going to need that money to keep a roof over your head if you lose your job. Go through your bills and see what you’ve been spending your money on and only use it for essential services. This is not going to be a lot of fun, but doing so in advance will help you should you find yourself unemployed and going through a lengthy period of looking for work.
You may want to consider going back to school to be retrained, but only if you can afford to financially do so. Retraining is an expensive proposition and one that may not be feasible depending on your situation. However, if you do go back for retraining do some research on what occupations there’s a shortage of and focus on being retrained in those areas. By doing so you’ll help to increase your odds of landing work during or after you’ve completed the retraining.
If you owe money on a loan, credit cards, credit lines, or some other financial vehicle make a list of what it is you owe as of today and what the interest rate that you pay for each of the debts. Focus on paying the debt with the highest interest rate first, while in the interim paying at least the minimum payment on the others. When you’ve paid off the debt with the highest interest rate you should then focus on the one with the next highest interest rate. However, this strategy should be mitigated if you’ve lost your job or your job loss is imminent. Under those circumstances you will need much of your money just to survive and you may have to consider declaring bankruptcy. Many people are reluctant to declare bankruptcy for fear of the damage it’ll do to their credit rating. However, when your income is annihilated through a job loss, and you owe a considerable amount of debt, declaring bankruptcy may be the lesser of the evils. If you’re at this point it is recommended you consult with friends, family and someone who knows about financial matters that you trust.
Apply for whatever employment insurance (or unemployment insurance) that exists within your country as soon as you lose your job. Even if you believe that it’s unlikely you’ll qualify or that your country has so reduced it that the benefits will be very small it’s better than nothing. Many are reluctant to apply for employment insurance because they feel there is a social stigma associated with it. However, you’ve had deducted off every cheque premiums and/or taxes that have gone to paying for it, so it is in fact your money. So take it because you may need it to survive until such time that you can find work elsewhere.
Be prepared to move to a new place to live that will be less expensive. If you own a home you may not be able to afford the mortgage and other expenses for long without an income coming in. You’ll need to decide how long you can keep afloat without a job or what the prospect of finding another one anytime soon is. This is a horrible reality to face, but in order to be able to survive you may have to deal with it. Sit down and hammer out how much the mortgage and other expenses are versus how much money you have with which to pay them. If you find you only have enough to pay the expenses for a couple months you may have to cut your losses and sell. Bringing in boarders and roommates to help pay the mortgage can help mitigate the situation, but if your job prospects are really bleak you may not have any choice. Similarly if you’re renting an apartment that’s too expensive, now that you’ve lost your job, talk to your landlord about either moving into a cheaper apartment within the same building or ask what can be done to get you out of the lease.
Don’t be ashamed or afraid to seek out help from family and friends. In times like these there is little choice, but to swallow our pride and fears and ask for help. It is never easy asking for help, but better you do, and take what they’re able to provide, than to continue suffering trying to survive all alone. The amount your family and friends are able to provide may be just enough to keep you afloat until you can land that next job. If you don’t have any friends or family you can ask for help, there may be some charities that are able to provide assistance.
Having no income coming in and needing to pay bills for rent, food, water, electricity and heat may mean getting creative to generate some money; and one way you can do so is selling off some of the things you own. Taking this step can be very difficult emotionally, but a necessary one in order to survive. The best approach is to focus on things you haven’t bothered using in a long time and setting them aside. Then go around the city and take a tour of the consignment stores, antique stores, and second hand shops to not only find out who might be willing to buy or sell your things on consignment, but also to get an idea of what items similar to yours are selling for. That way you’ll know which stores to concentrate on and what a reasonable price will be for your things. Everything from clothes, books, electronics, furniture, antiques, jewelry, art, and various other items a store may take. One thing to keep in mind is that due to the financial circumstances you may need to do this more than once and it can take an emotional toll.
Offloading the amount of things you have can be very advantageous in one regard, which is its highly likely you will have to relocate to another city, province, state, or country to find work, and it’ll be cheaper to do so the less things you have. Often whatever jobs are created are not in the same place where you lost your last one, so in order to find work you must be prepared to relocate. If you’re able to land a job in another city, and can’t arrange to have your things moved right away, either put them into storage or ask a friend or family member if they could store them for you. Typically the employer in the other city will want you to start right away; and in this sort of economy you can’t afford to keep them waiting because the job competition is so fierce they might give the job to the next best candidate. When you arrive you’ll need to seek out a motel or hotel that rents by the month until such time you can find an apartment to rent. Due to the lack of job security, if possible, try to find a building that rents apartments on a monthly basis rather than a one year lease.
Lastly, if you do land a new job it is recommended to continue to put money aside and curb your spending. Most of the new jobs that are being created have even less job security than the ones that were lost and so it’s very possible you could find yourself out of work again within a couple of months.