Now that taxes have been filed, it’s time to kick back and still think about money. As a jobseeker, whether employed or unemployed, you need to think about money because it affects the timing of your search, the sectors you want to target, and the way you position yourself. I coached someone who wanted to change careers from financial services to pastry making and then seemed startled when I pointed out that entry pastry chef jobs paid minimum wage. That wasn’t to discourage her from the transition, but she needed to know how to meet that income gap if she decides to do so.
Wanting to make more isn’t going to change what the market will bear or how much you happened to have saved. So take stock of your cash position and plan for the future. Then you will know how long you have for your search (and whether you need to take interim work in the meantime), how aggressively you need to search, and the range of choices you have that meet your current obligations (or whether you want to change your obligations to expand your choices).
Plan for the upcoming ad hoc expenses now. Mark your calendars one month before major expenses are due (e.g., insurance payment, home maintenance contracts) so you have a visual reminder to get the money in time. If you know that August is when you take vacation, plan for that September credit card bill.
Outline specifically where you will get the money for bills due immediately. Will you decrease restaurant dining or cut the vacation out? Can you work overtime or get freelance work to earn more?
Start your tax paperwork for next year. Set up an accordion file now that has categories for the receipts you will need for 2010 tax time: charity, child care, investments, meals, any expenses that may be tax-deductible. As you get receipts, just file them by category. You can add new categories as needed, but this way, you do a little at a time.
Protect your identity. Everyone is entitled to a free annual credit report. There are three agencies that give reports. By staggering your requests, you can get a free report from a different agency every four months. More employers are checking credit as part of the background check process, so you want to know what your report says about you – and have the chance to fix any errors. Visit annualcreditreport.com to order your first one now. Then mark your calendar four months and eight months from now to get your other two. Repeat for next year and beyond.
Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com).
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