My husband was laid off yesterday.
So far, he is actually taking it surprisingly well. I’ve never seen him so optimistic. He sees the layoff as an opportunity to do something new, and has been contemplating a number of different options both within and outside of his current field.
I, on the other hand, am a nervous wreck. I’m probably doing enough worrying for the both of us – and then some.
I think a lot of my anxiety has to do with the fact that it took me so long to find a reasonably stable job after college. I’m still not full-time with benefits, and my primary job is completely unrelated to my degree. Granted, we started in entirely different fields (music education vs. web development) and the economy has been slowly improving since then… but there’s a part of me that still so completely terrified by the uncertainty of the situation.
So what does this mean for us financially?
Thankfully, my husband will be receiving enough severance pay to get us through the end of the year. He will also be eligible for unemployment benefits at some point, although we’re not entirely sure when yet.
We also have some emergency savings and two completely paid-off credit cards… so in all honesty, we’re in a pretty good place in terms of being prepared for a loss in income.
Additionally, while this won’t exactly be a “vacation,” not having to report to work every day from 9-5 will free up some much-needed time to clean the house, get our cars inspected, take the cats to the vet, make bulk pasta sauce and applesauce for our annual canning extravaganza, etc. Not having the daily commute will also cut down on our gas expenses.
The biggest downside to this situation is that both of us are losing our health insurance at the end of the month. Since my employer doesn’t offer any medical benefits, we have a lot to figure out in terms of insurance. Should he use COBRA? Should I buy off the new health insurance exchange when it opens? Should we both buy off the exchange? Is it even worth buying a new policy during a (hopefully) short period of unemployment? I don’t know.
Another downside is that, until we have a better sense of our upcoming financial situation, we’re going to have to re-examine our budget and go back to paying the minimums on the student loans for the time being. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but definitely a disappointment after the progress we started making over the past few months. Sigh.
Have you ever been laid off? How did you handle your finances during the transition?