5 Ways to Survive a Lay Off

Getting the dreaded pink slip, which is not the most desirable situation, is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Yes, you'll have to figure out where your next paycheck will come from. But you can use this downtime to consider a career change, as well as establish good financial habits.

If you've recently joined the ranks of the unemployed, and want to stay productive, here are five ways to survive your layoff:

1. Stockpile Cash: Try to save at least three to six months of living expenses in an accessible account, advises ConsumerReports.org. If you're the breadwinner in your family, try to save at least nine months of cash. And, if you haven't been laid off yet, but think that your job may be next, cut back on spending. For example, do not use your credit cards to purchase any small items - only big ticket purchases if they're necessary. What's more, try to get your family involved in saving, this way everyone feels like they're pitching in. For more tips on spending and budgeting, visit the Military.com Money section.

2. Update Your Resume: Take this time to carefully review your resume and update it with your past work experience. Additionally, if you're thinking of applying to another job, try to weed out any work experience that isn't relevant to the position, or takes up too much space on the page. It may also be a good idea to write different resumes for the types of jobs you're applying for, according to NetworkWorld. This way, the resume will be tailored to the specific type of work you're looking for.

3. File for Unemployment Compensation: Unemployment insurance can help you with financial issues, such as paying your bills on time. The sooner you apply for this compensation the less of a financial headache a lay off will be.

4. Talk to the Employer: Try to negotiate severance pay, outplacement services, and medical insurance options, with your employer. According to ConsumerReports, now is the time to ask your former employer how much income you'll receive and for how long, and as stated above, file for unemployment insurance.

5. Don't Touch Your 401(k): If you withdraw funds from your employer-provided retirement account you'll incur a 10 percent penalty fee, and you may have to pay an income tax if you're not 591/2 years of age. Roll over the funds from your 401 (k) into an individual retirement account (IRA) and consider selling any depreciating nonessential assets.

Extra Tip: Search job boards such as those on Military.com, or use the social networking sites. Your connections may be able to point you towards other career opportunities.

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