Unfortunately, layoffs are an all-too-common reality. And the prospect of finding new employment can seem daunting. What can you do if you find yourself facing a life-changing event such as losing your job? What steps do you need to take?

1. Prepare your parachute.
It's important to talk to the employer that is laying you off. See if they will extend healthcare benefits, provide severance pay or continue any other benefits that can be of help. They may say no or offer less than you request, but what will they say if you don't ask at all?

2. Take advantage of your benefits.
Unemployment benefits are funded through taxes paid by workers and employers. During the time you've worked, your unemployment taxes have accrued and you may be able to tap into them in the form of unemployment. Take advantage. Research the application process and find out the requirements in your state to make sure your benefits are not held up unnecessarily.

3. Buckle down and cut back.
Now is the time to eliminate any costs you can. Extra cable channels, mobile phone minutes beyond the amount you need and subscriptions like satellite radio can all add up. Every penny you save is a penny you can use for necessities as you work to regain your footing.

4. Explore all the options.
You've heard it before: your full-time job is now finding a job. But don't rule out working for yourself, especially if it's something you've always wanted to do. Consider reaching out to acquaintances that are working independently in your field to gain from their experience. While it might be tempting to isolate yourself in the face of life-changing events, you never know when the contacts you keep can become a resource for your next job, project or client.

5. Take care of your credit.
You may need to prioritize your bills in order of how essential they are, and paying down credit card debt may not come in at the top of this list. However, be sure to contact creditors early. Many creditors may be more willing to work with you by reducing your interest rates, lowering minimum payments and even forgiving missed payments. Don't wait until you're in over your head; get ahead of the problem.

6. Make the most of your money.
For any money you have remaining in savings, try to avoid paying miscellaneous fees just to keep it there. The Ally Bank Online Savings Account and Interest Checking Account both require no minimum balance to open and have no monthly maintenance fees. And as an online bank, we offer consistently competitive rates compared to traditional banks that have higher overhead costs. A better rate can provide a higher return if you are able to take advantage of it.

Learn more at Allybank.com or call live, 24/7 customer care at 877-247-ALLY (2559) today.

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