What do you do About Debt When You’ve Lost Your Job?


Losing your job is a killer for anyone; it’s a hard pill to swallow. There is fear and there is panic and there is sadness and depression. It’s not a fun situation in which to be, but that doesn’t mean that you can wallow in your self-pity and sit back watching as your life passes you by and swallows you up. Take a few moments to be sad and upset and stressed and angry about all that has happened to you, and then pick yourself up and work hard to get back on track. It’s what you have to do if you want your life to go back to normal, back to the way it was before. You have to pick up the pieces, find a new source of income and put your life back on track.

But what do you do about your debt when you lose your job? Some people are working hard to pay it off when job loss occurs, and that makes life very difficult to figure out. What you have to do now is work hard to ensure that you are able to figure out how to continue to pay your debts off, not accrue anymore and manage to keep your financial situation in a place that allows you to feel comfortable. It’s not always easy, but there are some things you have to do to ensure that your financial future, and your ability to pay your debts, is handled if you should lose your job. There are steps you can take to ensure that you are protected if you lose your job, but they will require a bit of work and a lot of effort.

Start with Unemployment

Your pride might not want to go there, but you have to. You are entitled to this money – your employer paid it – if you lose your job through no fault of your own. What you get is not going to be enough to cover what you are no longer making at work, but it’s enough to give you something. And something when you have nothing is always better than nothing when you have nothing, you understand?

Revisit your Budget

Smart and financially savvy people have a budget. Now is the time to take a look at your budget and really make it an emergency budget. Trim it up as much as you can. Get rid of your cable and big cell phone plans. See what else you can cut out of it, such as trips to restaurants, vacations and other indulgences. Make it down to the bare bones of your budget in this time of need.

Work on Minimizing your Bills

This might mean turning off the air at night or opening windows during the day. This might mean not using the lights to keep the utility bills down, turning down the water heater temperature and no longer using the television. Do whatever it takes to minimize your bills. You have to do this so that you can save as much money as possible during this time while you look for more employment.

Call your Creditors

This is the time in which to call your creditors and see what they can and will do for you. Don’t be afraid to ask them to lower your rates, to lower your monthly payment or to give you more time to pay. While they might not help you in some instances, it’s always better to ask and see what you can do. Most creditors are happy to be kept in the loop so that they know what to expect from you rather than just being ignored each month that they are willing to help consumers whenever possible. Perhaps this might mean waiving your payments for a few months until you are back on your feet or even lowering your rates so that you can make your minimum payments.

Look into Hardship Plans

Some credit card companies have plans that you can look into if you are having trouble making your payments. Try looking at your statement to see if you can locate these plans. Most card companies do not advertise them willingly, but they are there. You can even call customer service and ask someone about it, asking to be directed to someone who can help you. You just never know where you can find something that can help.

Dust off the Resume

You need to do this the second you lose your job so that you can start looking for another one. Dust it off, update it and get it out there and circulating. You might be surprised all the places you might be able to find more employment if you simply take the time to go out there and look for the business that you want. Try this and you will see that you are able to do more than you thought possible, but make sure you do this first.

Check for Government Programs

This is a hard time for many people, and no one wants to rely on the government for help. There is such a stigma associated with these kinds of helpful assistance plans, but this is exactly the kind of situation in which they were created for. It’s a shame too many people use these programs to benefit themselves and make those who really need them look like bad people. If you need help with your debts after losing your job, contact the local government facility to ask about these programs. You might be surprised to find out you qualify for things like income based repayment plans and even student loan forgiveness so that you can afford your payments.

It’s not always ideal, but you do need help from time to time. These programs are in place to help those who are in temporary financial trouble, and you should look into them if this is the kind of situation in which you are in. You never know just how much they can help over the next three or four months while you look for a job.

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