This post is the first installment in the Financial CPR series. Financial CPR comprises a set of tools to use in the event of a sudden crisis, such as unforeseen unemployment. The following information should be seen as general education and is not intended to constitute individual financial advice.
Remain in control.
Though the interruption to your income may be out of your hands, it does not mean that your entire financial life is out of control. Stay calm. You have the power to make choices, minimize the debt or damage to credit that you will incur, and plan for a successful financial recovery once you’re employed again.
Remember that you always have options.
Usually the best options are available when you act pro-actively instead of waiting until the problem becomes a crisis.
Follow the Four A’s to create a Cash Flow Plan:
1. Acquire information
- Tally up your cash on hand;
- Survey your expenses and income to get a complete financial picture;
- Read your contracts and user agreements to see what opportunities there are to cut or change service plans, memberships, etc.;
- Solicit price quotes for comparable services;
- Identify opportunities for “found money” – items you can return to stores for refund or credit, gift cards, etc.
- What can be cut?
- What must be protected?
- Are there ways to increase income?
- Do not make random, haphazard, or emotional changes. Work purposefully.
- Take steps to make the identified changes.
- Schedule time to make a few calls a day; don’t try to tackle everything at once.
- This information = power!
Even if you are still operating at a deficit, you can be confident that you have done everything you can to minimize the deficit and put yourself in the best position to get back on your feet quickly once you’re back to work.