Ways to prepare for a financial emergency
For families facing a possible furlough or layoff, it likely doesn’t feel like the most wonderful time of the year. Financial and job stress are difficult, especially at a time when people have just spent money for the holidays.
“Emergencies never happen at an optimal time,” said Christ Wolgamott, Director of Financial Education at Meritrust Credit Union.
Wolgamott says it’s important to be proactive with your financial decisions when facing a possible change in income.
First, prioritize your expenses. Pay the most important bills first, like mortgage/rent, utilities, food, medication and vehicle expenses.
“Take care of these items first, then you can work on other items as they come about,” said Wolgamott.
Second, contact your creditors. Let them know what’s happening. Many may be willing to work with you on payments.
“If you owe them money or have a financial payment that needs to be made, typically they'll be able to put you in a program or do some sort of emergency measure to help you out.”
Third, don’t panic. Don’t make any rash decisions with your finances.
“Take a deep breath,” said Wolgamott. “Gather your resources so you know everything that you need to take care of on a monthly basis. Then you can start evaluating your choices and make smart, financial decisions.”
Meritrust has information on preparing for loss of income. You can find that information here: