Lessons in Job Loss: 3 Things We’ve Learned
We often learn the greatest lessons during the most challenging times. Since the beginning of the year, my family has been learning a lot from our encounter with job loss. Dealing with unemployment hasn’t been a breeze – we were lucky though because we had an inkling it was going to happen at some point in time so we were able to prepare ourselves for it.
I wouldn't wish this struggle on others, but I will share the important lessons I've learned to focus on in hopes they'll help another family.
Lesson 1. The Importance of Being a Saver
I have always known that putting money aside would come in handy, and there was a time when I was pretty proud of my savings account – and then I met my husband, and his savings account put mine to shame. You see, my husband is a wizard when it comes to saving money. Our paychecks weren’t impressive, but he took a consistent amount of money from each one, no matter what, and distributed it into different savings accounts before putting what was left into checking. By doing this, he built a pretty nice safety net – one that could sustain our financial needs for an entire year. I tell him “Yer a wizard, Shaner” but he will never appreciate my talent for using Harry Potter references in everyday, mundane conversations as much as I appreciate and admire his ability to manage and save money.
Do you save? If you haven’t started seriously saving, please do it, just in case!
Lesson 2. Needs vs. Wants
My husband built our financial safety net by respecting the concept of needs vs. wants. It’s a simple idea but it’s one that a lot of people have difficulty grasping, even though it could make a huge difference in anyone’s financial state.
Shane has been putting in for a once in a lifetime hunt for moose, for years and years. He has always said that if he ever draws, he would buy a camp trailer and a new rifle. This year – of all years – he finally drew a moose tag. But in the wake of job loss, his plans for a new gun and a comfortable place to stay during the hunt – those wants – have been put on hold; a sleeping bag in the bed of the pickup will have to suffice.
Guns and campers are big expenses, which in a way are easier to give up on than smaller priced things like Netflix and smartphones. Yep, Netflix and smartphones. I’m not saying that you need to go without it, I’m simply saying that for now, I can learn to cope without Doctor Who, because that extra $7.99 per month is better used to buy my daughter’s nondairy milk – something she needs; and the money that I’d have to shell out to pay for a phone, that I don’t need, can buy a month’s worth of groceries.
What do you have that you could do without if you had to?
Lesson 3. Finding the Silver Lining
We all experience hardship. In our case it was the loss of my husband’s job – a job that he had for nearly 20 years. It hurt emotionally and financially, and sometimes we still get a little worried, but we recognize everything good that has come of it. It has opened up doors and opportunities for schooling or a career change that we never thought were possible. Even though we are not as financially comfortable as we once were, we are a lot happier than we ever thought we could be during a time like this.
Have you and your family experienced something challenging? How did you survive it? What did you learn from it?
What advice would give others in your situation?