Jul 182011

Preface – This article is an in-your-face and was written to help to those that going through this unpleasant process.

Ok, so times can be tough and you have lost your job. It has been 6 months and you are still going through life like you still have a job, still eating out, going to the movies, having the same parties, and your mini-vacations etc. Yeah, sound familiar…you have some savings and your not desperate just yet but you know it is coming.

Your Ego has allot with what your doing or not doing now. Maybe you have 3 kids and your concerned about the backlash and how your kids, wives, and friends will view you as less of  a man or breadwinner. This can happen to the best of us and it is realizing that you should “suck it up” and do what you have to do to keep the family in food, rent, and clothes. This may mean a part time job or something but you should act now and stop the financial bleeding, so you do not pay more in the future.

So… what do you do and how do you get started? Most people avoid the reality of taking financial assessment and this should be one of  the first things you do after you pray for strength and getting a new job.  Consider at temporary but immediate financial diet, TV, kids cell phones, overpriced home and car insurance can weight you down.  These NON-Essential expenses are only realized when that steady paycheck is not coming in and you have to take money out of savings or pay with an already partially overtaxed credit card, oh yeah, the credit card. Maybe you were blessed to get some severance pay or had 3-6 months emergency, which the average family does not have, so there is that. What do you do? You start to feel squeezed and you need financial relief until after you get your new job.

First off, don’t kid yourself about looking for and finding a new job as it can be scary. The National job hunting average says it takes 6 months to 2 years to find and land a new job.  Now days you will find that there might be 5 other applicants competing for the same position. It is time to get your family and or select non-judgmental supportive, friends involved. If your married, your wife can start looking at the coupons, your kids may lose their phones, X-Box,  and your internet premium channels package get trimmed. All these reality efforts now will pay off big for you in the long run. Most people in our country do not know how to live without. Think about the daily Starbucks or Pete’s Latte you get, hmm… that is $3.50 x 20 days a month or more, that is $70 per month you can really live without. Make it at home for $15/month. It is not pleasant but you should dig into those sometimes hidden and unnecessary expenses that were “gotta haves”.

Your parents and how you were raised– Think back on your families history, Parents or Grandparents life, ranging but not limited to tough times in 1950-80’s. As a kid, did your parents get you a weekly or monthly allowance and a cell phone, car and or car insurance, XBox monthly subscription, and that Family Gym subscription that you barely used, or something like that.

Most of our older and wiser Mom and Dads, made us earn whatever we wanted over our basic needs, but not so much today. As a Father and Mother providing for their family of 3 kids, these multiple seemingly small miscellaneous expenses can add up and represent $200-$600 per month!. Money that you now don’t have and should not be paying for. Think deep and hard, is it critical for you or your family to have these things at this moment?  Really? Probably not and as painful as it is, have a talk with your family, wife, girlfriend, or whomever, and let them know you require your help.  Husbands and Wives have to get on the same page, as one maybe saving and the other spending on things that are just not necessary to a house in financial instability. Do your best to not use that Credit Card and line of Credit that is just hanging out their for you to pick.

Help your kids with ideas by suggesting they may help themselves by getting part-time work, babysitting or helping around a store or something… anything to cover their OWN, non-essential needs.

College, this is a real tough one… You have a son or daughter going to a nice school and you ONLY have enough funds to cover 3 more months? What do you do? Line of Credit? NO. Think about it now, but do something now before it gets even tougher.

House Payments, Mortgage – Yeah there is that “roof over your head” thing. Look over your current mortgage and see if you have room to refinance of your house. Many people are upside down or owe more than it is worth and you cannot qualify for an interest rate adjustment. Try anyway, by talking to your current bank or lending institution and get some ideas as to what they can do for you without going through a complete refinance. Most are upside down and in the past 15 years, jumping from job to job and bigger house to bigger house to end up with one that scoops up a large amount of your monthly income… Now that house is not as attractive now that the music has stopped. (i.e. no job) Did I say Income? Oh yeah, hello? remember you do not have a job.  Next, look at your auto and home insurances, (oh that boat insurance). A simple phone call to your agent can get you and Immediate adjustment on your insurances by adjusting your deductibles, coverage amounts, the boat, RV, or other Toys, and strip them down until you get on your feet. DO IT NOW, DO NOT WAIT.

Agreements and Contracts – You always want to honor your agreements with all the companies you do business with unless you did not get what you agreed to or you find out what it costs you to get out of an agreement. One thing to remember, if you do not have a copy of the agreement and the company wants to enforce it, it will be up to them to get you a copy of that agreement. In many cases (I.E. phone, alarm company, or cable company), will not have an agreement and will tell you they do to keep you on. Ask for it, it cannot hurt. If they cannot produce it and your certain that you are at the end of your term, pay the fee to get out or tell them that you do not have an agreement because they cannot produce one for you.

Looking for a job – This is typically not a pleasant process, and especially if your over 40 and have worked at the same job for many years. You have to learn how to network and make a resume, if you ever have done one before.

How do you go about finding a job?  Start with the Internet is a great place to start, but your best job seekers are your friends and family. Post it with your friends on your Facebook or blog page if you have one. People love to help others. Post your resume or job qualifications EVERYWHERE. An old sales saying comes to mind, “Untold is UnSold”   Your friends and family know you well and if your a hard worker, they will help you network for a new job. It is great if you have a specific skill. Sometimes you can find misc jobs you can pick up just by telling others about your situation. Ya gotta do what it takes to make it and you will have to roll with these times to keep moving forward.

Church and Food – Networking for a job is critical. Let your Church office know that you are looking for a job. If you don’t have a Church, get one. Do not be afraid to ask for meals that some churches or private food banks offer. Churches are getting strained with the great need a the time of this article. The hardest thing for the proud man or woman is to just ask.

If your not a church goer, find one and get plugged in. One of the best things you can do  is volunteer your time at anything to do with the church, meeting people that are sometimes in the same space you are. It seems that you always find a job or opening when your helping others and not actually looking for a job at that moment. When you volunteer, your guard is down and your open to things you never thought you would be. Think about volunteering on evenings or weekends. Volunteering is extremely therapeutic when your out of a job or anytime.

P.S. Find a smaller church that has missions and is actively outreaching in the community. Our family go to Calvary Refuge Huntington Beach, a non-denominational church, where the door is always open.