Unemployment continues to hover slightly above 10% since October of 2009 – a 100% increase since 2007. As mergers, pay-cuts and lay-offs become an ever-present reality with no exceptions or loyalties, independently preparing for a “rainy-day” is a good idea to say the least. Understanding the times and learning how to adapt equals survival for you and your family. By following the five steps below, you’ll discover levels of financial security and independence that will allow you to survive in an uncertain economy.
Live on a Budget
Americans are notorious for living beyond their means. Racking up debts and stacking credit card upon credit card has caused more than one person’s financial ruin. When you figure out how to live solely off of your net income, you may sacrifice some luxury, but you also free yourself up to shake off the crushing burden of credit card debt. And when the unexpected pay cut or termination occurs, your struggle won’t be eliminated, but it will be extremely alleviated.
While decreasing debt and living within your means will soften the difficulty of an emergency, having some money set aside for an emergency will allow you the time you need to find a new job or to simply adjust your budget to a new life style. Financial planning expert, Dave Ramsey, suggests saving three months income in case of a major emergency such as termination, major illness or natural disaster.
Develop Your Professional Skills
Part of making yourself invaluable at work is improving your knowledge of your field and other areas related to your field—especially relational and people skills. Studies show that salesmen who are in the top 20% are some of the most highly sought after employees in their field. Making yourself part of the cream of the crop and refining your relational abilities will cost some time and maybe even some money, but will land you a level of job security not otherwise found.
Establish an Independent Retirement Fund
There are a myriad of options for those who are self-employed to establish an independent retirement fund, and those same options are available to anyone. By pulling these funds together independently you increase your long term security and also have the freedom to decide exactly what you want to provide for yourself in addition to social security.
Find Independent Health and Dental Care Providers
Most likely, you’ve already suffered some sort of benefit cut. Dental coverage, often seen as a luxury and not a necessity, is included less and less with benefit packages. The dental plan or discount dental plan is an affordable and extremely helpful independent option. It allows individuals and families to receive immediate assistance for dental care needs. Many families can find monthly premium options between $15-$30 per month. Then, at the dentist costs are simply reduced anywhere from 20% to 75%. Independent insurance plans are also available and can be a help if a termination occurs, or if your benefits are cut entirely.
Bonus step number six: don’t panic! You might look at these options and think that you’d have to be a millionaire to do all of these things. Start with budgeting, saving and researching—using the internet is free! Find out what you can do now and do it! Following these basic steps will allow you to achieve a level of independence and security you may have never experienced. While others may struggle and be caught off guard in today’s economy, you can be prepared. Discover your options and start living securely today!