Evaluating Finances

Doing a full “state of the finances” was on our to-do list for 2012. We wanted to get into doing these on a regular basis since we have gotten off track from talking about the finances in full detail. We probably would have held our first couple’s meeting this weekend anyway. There’s no better time to do a financial evaluation than when you suddenly lose your job!

When I heard the news of Paul’s new job status, I was on my way back from a trip and still had 2.5 hours in the plane (on the same flight as Erin, thankfully). I love getting online during long flights because I get so much work done. This time, I was wishing I hadn’t. Or, maybe I’m glad I did since I could chat with Paul and get more details (honestly, a few other choice words were expressed about the decision but won’t go there :).

As soon as I stopped chatting with him about the other stuff that we’re going to discuss (health care, unemployment, etc), I immediately did what I knew the best: searching online for available jobs. I couldn’t really go into full-blown financial evaluation because many of our records were at home. Still, I wasn’t going to take the next 2 hours with wi-fi being sad or unproductive. I emailed Paul no less than 20 leads (of which he has had several phone interviews already). When I got home, we would discuss our finances.

I arrived home on Friday and T was still at practice. We decided to tell the boys when he got home. We weren’t sure what to expect from them, honestly. Luckily, they weren’t concerned since they realize this online stuff is my job now. Actually, T was more concerned with us having to relocate (since I joked that we were moving last month). There will no doubt be some adjustments when they want the trivial things and we start saying “No” more often. Which honestly needs done anyway.

On Saturday, Paul had most of his resume updated and I was going to review it one last time before he started applying for positions. I’ll talk extensively about this process since this is the most crucial to getting a call back and getting in the door with a company initially. Until then, I did the numbers and we discussed our finances.

Really, financial evaluation should be an ongoing discussion as I mentioned. Just like many other times we have done this review, I pulled out a spreadsheet which contains details on each of our bills (due date, amount due, notes, etc). It’s a very basic excel spreadsheet similar to this one (that you can download for free if you like).

The main goal in this is obvious: how much do have coming in and how much do you owe going out?. We want to ensure we can pay the bills and not accumulate any (additional) debt during this timeframe. This exercise can cause anxiety since people may see that they can’t pay everything without the loss of income. Don’t worry, we’re gonna get your resume updated so you can start finding something immediately!

Taking a first look at the finances, I knew we could make ends meet based on my income. However, in these types of situations, I am shooting for super-ultra-extra conservative. Meaning, even if we can afford the extras, until a new job is found, they are a want and not imperative to keeping food in our bellies and a roof over our head. That includes my wonderful Fourbucks coffees which I was already cutting down at the beginning of the year as a personal goal. It’s ridiculous how much I spent on coffee when I have an awesome Keurig machine!

Oh, and there’s the 6-months of savings during job loss. Nope, we didn’t have it in savings per se. We have access to the money but it isn’t set aside in savings for this type of situation. This first month will be focused on putting more money aside specifically in savings to cover our expenses. When that’s all fully funded, I’ll feel like I can breathe a bit…but I’m still hoping he has landed the job of his dreams before then.

The other thing I don’t want to forget during this financial evaluation is that we STILL want to pay off debt during this period of uncertainty. Last year, we replaced Paul’s car (which I didn’t tell you about) so we had that debt and monthly payment. While we paid cash for 60% of the price of the car, it was/is a goal to completely pay it off. The same for a few other loans we have. Our goal is to be debt free and it’s a process regardless of how much, or how little, debt you have.

Sorry, I feel like I just told you all that happened along with the point of this. It feels good to get it out there since this hasn’t happened to us before and it’s still leaving me a bit surprised and annoyed at the circumstances. Maybe you have been in this situation and done this, or have advice to offer as well.

I love and appreciate what you have all shared so far – you’re not just helping me but you are helping the many people who read this or stumble upon it because they just received the gut-wrenching news. I’ll continue to share more on what to do during a sudden job loss in case others need help with resume writing or finance/money-saving ideas. I have lots to share with you!

My friend Connie at Smockity Frocks wrote an awesome series on how to survive a layoff. I talked to her the day we got the news and told her I would be reading through all of the posts. Connie has some fabulous tips and resources, and loads of encouragement for you and your spouse during this challenging storm. I would encourage you to read through her tips to get through a layoff.

P.S., my husband’s profile on LinkedIn in case you know of any (awesome) companies who are looking for a top notch production management professional. I know you heard how I feel about him, but he’s one of the best leaders I know (if you could only see some of the comments from people he worked with, you would see)…and he does an awesome load of laundry too!

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by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on January 25, 2012

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