Help! I’ve lost my job!
Whether you have lost a job or you are in a prolonged season where your expenses are higher than your income, the result is the same: Stress.
When we are stressed, it is hard to make good decisions, to think clearly, and to plan for the future with confidence.
We were in this position for a long time. I dreaded opening the mail (and often left it unopened for a month or more). Paying bills was extremely stressful. We owed more than we could pay and had to choose which ones and how much.
How to Prioritize
In this past week, I came across some common sense advice that I wish I had known when we were struggling.
It’s simple, straightforward, clear advice in a video by Dave Ramsey (click here to watch the video … at about 16 minutes)
I’ll sum up one of the keys ideas here
Focus on the Four Walls.
The only thing we need to do with our money when we have lost our job is take care of the ‘Four Walls’ of our house.
The Four walls are:
We should take care of these priorities in this order. Buying food for our family is our top priority. Then we pay our mortgage or rent. Next, we pay our utilities: water, power, electricity. Finally, we make sure we have transportation so we can get to work.
You don’t need to worry about anything else right now. Credit card payments can wait and student loan debt can wait. You don’t need to put money into investments or savings right now. Take a deep breath, and take the pressure off yourself. Your goal is simply to meet the basic needs of your family.
This is so concrete and practical. It would have reduced my stress and helped me have confidence in my financial decisions during our painful time.
During a storm, the goal is to hunker down, take shelter, and weather the storm. You don’t want to panic. You just want to lay low, wait for the storm to pass, and do whatever you need to survive through this season.
In the last half of the video, Dave Ramsey and his team also talk about finding work during this time of crisis (click here to watch the video).