How to Survive Your War with Debt
When it comes to dealing with debt, the road is never easy, but that road is made all the more rocky when there is a job loss involved. Losing a job can make an existing debt problem that much worse, or plunge the formerly solvent consumer into debt.
There are a number of things that every worker can do to deal with the double whammy of debt and unemployment. The first tactic, of course, is to avoid letting a job loss plunge you into debt. Financial experts recommend that every worker accumulate an emergency fund which contains at least six months of living expenses, but that of course is not easy. If you find yourself unemployed and without an emergency fund, you may have to use other strategies in order to cope.
One of the most important coping mechanisms is emotional, not financial. The loss of a job is understandably stressful and depressing, but it is important not to allow that stress and depression to take hold. It is important to come to terms with the job loss quickly, and to take the steps necessary to find new employment as quickly as possible.
After you have come to terms with your job loss, sit down and gather up all the bills you owe. Make a list of everything you owe, and to whom you owe it, and take note of the total. This is the minimum amount you will need to keep afloat.
Anyone who finds him or herself unemployed should be sure to register with the unemployment office as quickly as possible. It takes some time to process new unemployment claims, and you do not want to miss out on any money you are owed. Often, simply knowing how much unemployment you will be collecting will help reduce your stress and anxiety.
If you foresee a shortfall between how much will be coming in and how much you owe, begin to contact your creditors and explain your situation. Many creditors will work with you in the event of a job loss, but it is important to be honest and forthright about your situation, and not to wait until the collection calls are coming in.
After you have assessed your financial situation and contacted your creditors, it is important to apply your remaining energy to finding a new job. The rules of collecting unemployment require that you be actively seeking work while collecting benefits, and the sooner you gain new employment the sooner you will be able to get your finances back on track.