July 6th, 2011
For many re-employed people, a new paycheck might not solve all money problems. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, among workers who were laid off in 2010 and found new jobs, 61 percent took pay cuts.
With money tight, pay attention to urgent expenses first.
Attend to maintenance on your home and car. If you put off medical care for yourself and your family, that should be attended to. Advisors for Money magazine say it’s important to get the basics back on track.
The next priority is paying off credit card debt you have accumulated, paying more on the card with the highest interest rate first. Big credit card debt can harm your credit rating.
Paying off a home-equity line of credit is less urgent. The interest is tax deductible. Since the debt is secured, it won’t affect your credit score very much.
Since you have probably used all or most of your cash reserves, it’s important to rebuild them at the same time. If you have $500 a month in discretionary money, advisors recommend that you put $300 toward debt and $200 toward savings.
Next comes your retirement fund. Even if you can only manage a very small amount, contribute to your new company’s 401k plan right away.
If you don’t have enough cash to save and pay down debt, plus put a small sum into your retirement plan, it might be wise to refinance your mortgage. Especially if you have significant home equity, it will be easier to do now that you are employed.
Once you have met these goals, you will have more money to put into living life instead of playing catch-up.