Being laid off is something that no one wants to experience – especially when you have mortgage payments to keep up with. If you or your spouse is laid off, the financial, emotional, and mental toll can be enough to shake even the most financially stable family. When it comes to your mortgage, being laid off unexpectedly can be a challenging hurdle to overcome.
If you or your spouse is laid off, know that there are options for you to consider, and that many others have come through this trying time in good financial standing. If you stick to good financial practices, you’ll be back on your feet in no time!
Carrying Your Mortgage after Being Laid Off
A sudden change in your employment situation can lead to a huge amount of mental, emotional, and financial stress. On top of the jarring experience of going from a regular job schedule to a blank slate, keeping your finances in order during your lull in employment can be challenging.
Knowing your options can help make dealing with the loss of your job much easier to handle. While you may think that you have a secure job and a great financial outlook, being laid off is something that every homeowner should be prepared for. Often, being laid off has more to do with the position that the company you work for is in, and less to do with your performance as an employee. There are a lot of uncontrollable factors that can lead to employees being laid off, and while losing your job might seem like the end of the world, it doesn’t have to leave your finances in shambles.
If you or your spouse loses your job unexpectedly, you should first take a moment to reevaluate your financial situation. Take this opportunity to:
- Reduce unnecessary shopping and expenses
- Assess how much money your family is spending on a daily basis
- Look into ways that you can cut down on scalable expenses such as tv, phone bills, and internet
These first three steps should give you some clarity on the state of your finances, your budget, and how much further you need to go to get through your current financial lull. After you have a better understand of the state of your finances, you may need to take things to the next level. Here are some ways to make sure that you can make those mortgage payments if you or your spouse is laid off:
- Rethink your budget and give it an overhaul. Cut back on as much spending as possible and only purchase the necessities until you have a better idea of how long you may be unemployed for. While the temptation to do so may be strong, try to avoid making purchases with your credit card – it will only make your financial situation harder in the long run.
- File for Employment Insurance. If you were laid off at no fault of your own, you should file for EI as soon as possible if you haven’t already. If you fail to file for EI within four weeks after your last day, you may lose some benefits. You can apply for EI online through the Service Canada
- Use those benefits. Some companies offer benefits or severance packages for employees after they have been laid off. Make sure that you check with HR to see if there is any money that you are owed including any overtime or vacation pay.
- Deal with your bills! Just because your income has stopped, that doesn’t mean that you get a free pass on your bills. It is important that you keep up to date with your payments. Having a late or missed payment is much worse in the long run than trying to find a way out of your monthly bill. If you are having issues paying your credit card, try calling your creditors to see if they can offer you reduced payments.
Getting Back to Work
Once you know where your finances stand after being laid off, your next priority should be finding a new job. Once you’ve filed for unemployment benefits (which is the first thing you should do), the job search can begin. Go through these day-by-day steps as you search for new employment opportunities:
- Update your resume. Depending on the condition that it’s in, this may take more than a day. There are many resources online that can help you update your resume. In some cases, you might have to apply with a different resume for every job based on the posting and the field that you are in. And, don’t forget to write a cover letter!
- Start combing through job sites. Look into job posting sites such as Indeed, and set up automatic alerts so that you never miss an opportunity. Setting up alerts is a great way to automate your search. If you can automate any part of the application process to save time, your search will be a lot easier and less stressful. Indeed has a couple resources to save yourself time during your job hunt – use them! Searching for a job is much easier said than done, and there is a lot of time, effort, and frustration that can be involved. Anything that you do to reduce the stress of searching is well worth it.
- Focus on your health. Remember, being laid off and looking for a job is difficult. You need to take some time during your search to focus on your mental, physical, and emotional health. It is important to take care of yourself during a time that can be a lot more stressful and tiring than the regular work week.
- Prepare for the interview process. While landing an interview can be exciting after a long search for a job, it can also be stressful sitting in the hot seat. Before you begin interviewing, make sure you are prepped and ready for success.
An important thing to remember is to not let up on your applications and interviews until you have a job offer in your hand. Don’t make the mistake of slowing down your applications after you think you had a great interview and are the best candidate for a position. If you put all your eggs in one basket and things don’t work out the way you thought it would, you’ll have to start back at square one.
While searching for a new job, don’t lose heart! If you’re days, weeks, or months into your search, remember to take time for yourself, your spouse, and your applications. Treat your job search as if it were your job. Structure your weekdays so that you are doing your work throughout the day, whether it’s revising your resume, browsing job sites, or networking. If you keep all of these things in mind, you’ll be on your way to finding another job.
Being laid off doesn’t have to lead to financial distress. If you practice good financial habits, have emergency funds stocked up, and stay focused during your job search, you’ll get back on track in no time. Making your mortgage payments after your or your spouse are laid off is doable, especially if you keep these tips in mind.