What To Do If You or Your Spouse Lose Their Job

Getting the ax is pretty scary to think about, but it's quite possible. Use these tips to prepare yourself for a worst-case scenario.

By Lisa Peterson

The month of November saw the biggest loss of jobs in nearly 30 years. It feels like only a matter of time before the bad news hits closer to home, if it hasn't already. If you or your spouse has lost a job due to the ailing economy, you may be wondering what to do next to keep your finances afloat and to keep your lack of employment from negatively affecting your marriage. Here are the first steps you should consider.

Avoid Tension

Generally, layoffs are happening because of the troubled economy, not because these employees have been bad at their jobs. Keep this in mind and don't blame your spouse for losing their job. Especially if the primary breadwinner was laid off, the dynamic in the relationship can change and, if you are not careful, negativity can be introduced into your marriage. Make a pact to keep your marriage blame- and negativity-free during this tough time.

Review Your Medical Insurance Options

You have most likely also lost your employer sponsored medical insurance along with your job. You may be offered the option to obtain COBRA insurance through your employer. This can be quite expensive. Before deciding, have your spouse call the Human Resources department for their company and ask how much it would cost to add you to their health plan. You will need to act quickly, since you may have a limited time to consider joining your spouse's plan. Once you determine your best option, secure your new insurance right away.

Work Together To Spruce Up Your Resume

Spend time together thinking about your strengths and accomplishments and put together a strong resume. Don't be embarrassed about or tempted to hide the job loss from others. Instead, leverage both of your professional networks to find out what jobs are out there. Both of you should tell everyone who will listen about the job you are seeking. Don't forget to spread the word on the social networks you may be a part of. The reach of your friends there often go much further. You never know where you will find your next opportunity!

Consider Temporary Employment

While you are figuring out your next step, you and your spouse might consider freelance work in your respective fields to bring in some extra money. Freelance work may actually open doors to permanent opportunities by introducing you to new people and companies.

Save Money On Daycare

If you and your spouse have kids, you can save a lot of money by canceling the daycare while you are looking for permanent work. The cost of daycare these days is often a significant portion of income, and easing that financial burden while you are unemployed may help your finances stay afloat.

Buckle Down And Learn To Live On One Salary

Use this job loss as an opportunity to reduce your expenses so they can be covered by the remaining salary. Once the two of you are back to full-employment again, you will be in a great position to save large amounts of money each month and make a big impact on your goals and your future together.

Next: Is a 'Work Spouse' a Good Idea? >>

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Lisa J.B. Peterson is the founder and president of Lantern Financial, LLC. (www.lantern-financial.com), a comprehensive, fee-only financial planning firm located in downtown Boston. Lantern specializes in helping clients in such areas as debt and cash flow management, investment, insurance, tax, retirement and estate planning. Additionally, Lantern Financial recently launched Harmoney, a service helping engaged couples communicate more effectively about money and navigate their pre-marital as well as marital financial lives.

Copyright © 2008 Hitched Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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There is a "Famous" Quote that goes something like this, "The Major
Key To Your Better "Financial" Future Is YOU!"

If you are Open-Minded, a BIG Thinker and ready to get your "own"
(MBA)Massive-Bank-Account, CHECK THIS OUT!!!

What Do You Have To LOSE?>http://www.casshnurface.com

May 22 2009 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


There is a "Famous" Quote that goes something like this, "The Major
Key To Your Better "Financial" Future Is YOU!"

If you are Open-Minded, a BIG Thinker and ready to get your "own"
(MBA)Massive-Bank-Account, CHECK THIS OUT!!!

What Do You Have To LOSE?>http://www.casshnurface.com

April 19 2009 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

405.00 is the maximum in NEW YORK STATE, and it has been for years.
Actually, it is about to go up to 430.00.

But Barack Obama has nothing to do with it. It is a state thing, and many aren't even getting the 405.00.

I wish the Right wingers would give this man a chance to correct the failed Bush policies of the last 8 years.

March 05 2009 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My advice is to get into a home business. I wouldn't settle for another job. And then make sure that business has residual income...something you get paid for over and over..that'll let you retire in 5 to 6 yrs...
If you spend or would spend more than $50 a wk having a job..your better off staying home and saving money..
A year later, I'm still working my business from home.
Stay away from surveys, clicks...envelope stuffing..
If you need help..feel free to contact me.


February 26 2009 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Savana's comment

career at home.. I really want to find a passion. I loved the job I lost. It was my passion..but I need to find a new passion. I DO NOT want to work for a large corporation again. I put my heart and soul into their business and now I'm feeling lost and empty. I need to regroup and move forward. Working for myself is the answer. Let unemployment be my base and build from there.

March 09 2009 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When one door closes, another door opens! Why not work for yourself and enjoy what you do! Meet great people doing the same thing. Travel cheap! Help others do the same and have a thriving business! Be determined that this year will be different than last year! http://www.danita.mydfilive.com

February 24 2009 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Even at 5:45 in the morning I caught the (quiet) quite spelling error. Didn't want to read on after that. I see this in the local newspaper all the time. Maybe we should spend more time proofreading or hit spell check.

February 24 2009 at 5:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amelia Ramey

It has gotten tough out here! So take control of your financial situation, like I did by joining Finacial Destination, the title says it all, (Homed-Based Internet Business). it has changed my life, I was working part-time not sure about my future...now things are Looking Good! it's great being your own boss. go to www.mydebtfreedate.com/232132 or go to www.FDIOverview.com/232132

February 24 2009 at 4:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I myself knew this day was coming and planed ahead. If you work on 2 pay checks in the future you should plan on 1. I did and im doing fine now, the extra I saved helped get me throught the rought time

February 24 2009 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
swizzle stick

If you are laid off and entitled to unemployment insurance do not take a temp job which makes less than that. If you work long enough in the temp job and are laid off from that you will get less in unemployment as it is based on a rolling 12 month cycle in most states. Collect what your entitled to and look for a good job, if you get within 3 months of running out of unemployment think about taking the lower paying temp jobs.

February 24 2009 at 2:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would love to have $405 a week. Our state only allows $275 a week max. Try to live on that. My job went to Mexico in November. Even the temp services are out of job opportunities. My husband is still working but lay-offs are happening there too. We are pulling together but the reality is that we may soon lose everything we have worked 30+ years for. Don't blame each other, blame corporate GREED.

February 24 2009 at 2:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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