New year, no job

The steps to take after a job loss.

What happens when the bright start of the new year is tarnished by job loss? This is not a hopeless situation. There are steps that can be taken to help as you maneuver through this difficult time. Remember that you are not alone. Millions of Americans are unemployed.

First, determine the amount of money you will have at the beginning of your unemployment. Will you receive severance pay or pay for unused sick or vacation time? Have you acquired any savings?

Next, review your expenses. What is the minimum amount needed to survive? This is the time to scrutinize all expenses. Decide what can be eliminated, replaced or reduced. Prioritizing your bills is extremely important. Your top goals are keeping a roof over your head, food on the table, functioning utilities, and prescription medication.

Will you be eligible to receive food benefits and unemployment benefits?

There may be programs to help pay utilities, mortgage, child care, and prescriptions. Check with your local government or unemployment office to find resources that will help you.

Don’t forget to factor in health care. You have a few options from which to decide:

Another important task is to contact your creditors. You should contact them as soon as possible, especially if you are concerned about continuing to make your payments. They are usually willing to work out a payment plan. It is critical that you follow through with the new plan once you have committed to it.

This is also an opportune time to obtain a free copy of your credit report. This will give you a clear picture of who your creditors are and give you a chance to clean up any inaccuracies.

Contact a certified Housing Counseling Agency, if you suspect that you will not be able to sustain your mortgage payments. 

Michigan State University educators invite you assess your financial health and visit Michigan State University Extension. In addition, Michigan State University offers money management and homeownership classes. For more information about classes offered in your area visit MI Money Health

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