Surviving a Job Loss – and How to Prepare for It


Losing a job, no matter how long you’ve held it, can be devastating for a number of reasons. Not only is it a major shift in your life, but the financial repercussions can be daunting. If you’re concerned you might lose your job in the near future, it’s a good idea to start preparing. The COVID-19 outbreak has left millions unemployed, and many American workers fear for their jobs in light of local and statewide restrictions. To these hard workers as well and others who’ve lost their jobs for non-pandemic related reasons, it can never hurt to plan for the worst.


Here are a few tips regarding financial survival and security after losing a job, and how to best prepare:


  • Start planning ahead now.  You lose nothing by preparing ahead of time for the worst case scenario – a job loss. Start by outlining a budget designed for you and your dependents to survive the months after such a loss, so you can begin tapering down certain expenses to prevent a rough transition. This survival budget should be tight and bare bones, to ensure you don’t fall into financial woes down the line. If you’ve already been terminated from your workplace, it can’t hurt to ask if you’re eligible for severance pay if you’ve put in several years. And most importantly, apply for unemployment insurance – it can make a huge difference. Even if you are unsure whether you’re eligible, apply anyway – you might be surprised.


  • Cut down on unnecessary expenses.  We all have them – expenses that are for pleasure or leisure. You don’t have to live like a monk, but cutting out expenses like magazine subscriptions, lesser-used streaming services, regular dining out or takeout, or even credit cards with added annual costs can go a long way in conserving the money you have.


  • Take on part-time or temp work in the meantime.  If you’ve already lost your job, you’re likely on the hunt for work in your industry. While you’re updating your resume and LinkedIn profiles and hitting the more popular job sites, look into temp work through a local agency, part-time work where you can find it, or even gig work like delivering for DoorDash or Instacart (if you own a functioning car). The gig industry is hot right now, and can be a great solution to help you bring in extra money to stay financially secure.