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What is the first thing I should do if I lose my job?

With foreclosures still looming, rising college tuition costs, millions of Americans without health insurance and people forced to put off retirement, it doesn’t seem like you’d be able to save a dime. But that doesn’t have to be you! We asked financial expert Chris Millio for some common-sense tips to ride out the financial storm.
Unemployment can be one of the most trying experiences for your whole family; you need to know how to pull through it. The important thing is, don’t panic. Here are a few tips to take while you’re looking for a new job:

• Contact the state benefit office to apply for unemployment benefits.
• Check out other ways to get health insurance coverage – losing your job might be considered a “triggering event” that could let you join your spouse’s policy. If that doesn’t work, you may be eligible for COBRA, a temporary health insurance coverage program through your previous employer. It’s important to do this quickly – you only have 60 days from the time you’ve lost your job to apply.
• Identify how long your financial reserves will last and create a disciplined budget. Scrutinize every dollar you spend.
• Contact your bank or mortgage lender and explain your situation. Request a temporary suspension of home loan payments, or a loan modification to lower payments.

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