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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Survival Without A Paycheck? How Much Time?



If you really thought about it, how many paychecks away from homeless are you?
Survival without a paycheck, becoming homeless, or having to move in with friends or family, is something that most people probably do not ever think about. The belief is that somehow we will never be without a decent paying job, the bills will always get paid, and nothing that bad could possibly happen to me. But please consider this, if you and – or your spouse lost your job and were without a steady paycheck, how much time would you have before things get terribly bad for you?
Serious thought should be given to this “what if” scenario, because the economic times that we are living in today, are uncertain at best. A seemingly stable employment could vanish overnight resulting in no more paychecks, throwing your survival instincts into overdrive. The corporate machine takes little account for many of the qualities that may seem good and rock-solid to you. Instead, it is always about the bottom line, profit, of course. Although rarely said in the halls of the corporation, the longer you’ve been employed there and the older you are, the easier it is to replace you with a younger, eager, “cheaper” and “trainable” body. Face it, your years at the office have probably provided a decent paycheck, raises, maybe bonuses, and you might feel quite comfortable in the feathered nest that you’ve made for yourself at the office. Believe me, the bean-counters notice, and you are a target in today’s hard times environment.
So back to the question. How many lost paychecks, or how long without a paycheck before things get desperate? If you sat down and analyzed your current financial obligations, you might be surprised to discover that it wouldn’t take that long at all. Over the years the system has made it real easy to live large and have the toys that we want. We are all probably guilty to some extent, having not resisted all of the tasty treats during the good times, but have you managed to squirrel away enough cash or investments from your paychecks to buy you some time in the event of a personal financial disaster? Have you taken on more debt than you probably should have? Or are you one of the lucky ones who have been fortunate enough to have built a nice financial cushion and are mostly free from debt. The later is probably the exception to the rule out there.
When the paycheck stops coming and you stop paying bills, bad things start to happen very quickly. Not paying your credit cards is one thing, but when you stop paying mortgage, rent, or utilities, this is quite another thing. Realistically you will only have a few months before you are in serious trouble and are being actively pursued. Soon after, you will be forced to live without your home or apartment and your survival will suddenly become forefront in your mind. Are you certain that your friends or relatives will take you in? If they do, how long will it be before that situation gets tense? Most of us have had friends or family stay at our home for a period of time while visiting (or maybe it’s the other way around). You know how little time it takes before everyone has pretty much had “enough” of each other. It’s not easy.
The point is this… at least consider your current financial condition and what would happen to you and family without a paycheck. Make some adjustments if need be. Base your future decisions and purchases with this in mind. Survival and preparedness is not always about beans, bullets, and band-aids, but is also about your finances, your money. Today’s form of money is what it is, and until it is not, be smart and rid yourself of its debt obligations the best that you can. Be financially cautious and be prepared for a financially secure survival.

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