COLUMBUS — The loss of a steady paycheck or consistent income can quickly change anyone’s day-to-day reality. Although unemployment levels are improving, 5.3 percent nationally and 5 percent in Ohio, more than 2 million Americans have been jobless for more than six months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite this statistic, 52 percent of Ohioans surveyed in the Mid-Year 2015 Consumer Survey, conducted by the Ohio Credit Union League, said they are only prepared to cover up to three months of essential expenses if an unexpected job loss happens to them
Fourteen percent said they could live for 3-6 months in the event of a job loss, while only 11 percent of respondents said they could cover expenses for 6-12 months. In order to prepare for an unforeseen event such as losing a job, consumers should consider putting away at least 10 percent of net income monthly into a savings account.
Here are some tips to getting back on your feet following an unexpected change in job statue.
• Visit the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website. This website is a good resource for obtaining new employment, unemployment benefits, unemployment insurance, and health benefits. http://jfs.ohio.gov/
• Consider borrowing from current investments. There may be a tax or other penalty, but when income abruptly stops, one option to consider is borrowing from your 401K, Roth IRA, or insurance policy. It can help keep your head above water until you find employment and keep you from having to take out a loan or running up the balance on high-interest credit cards.
• Consider temporary job options. If finding work is taking a while, a temporary job can help bring in some income while you’re still seeking a permanent fit.
• Check with a credit union. If you’re out of work and need advice, a credit union can help. These not-for-profit financial institutions believe in helping consumers afford life by offering benefits such as lower interest rates on loans, flexible payment options such as skip-a-pay to help in a crisis situation like a job loss, higher savings deposit yields, and fewer/lower fees compared to banks.
To learn more about credit unions in your community and how they help people afford life, visit www.asmarterchoice.org.