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Dealing With Lost or Reduced Income



In the current economic environment, with the quoted unemployment rate above 10% and the real unemployment rate closer to 18%, more and more people have either lost their total household income, their spouse’s income or had their income cut down due to reduced hours.

At the same time that income is dropping, expenses either stay the same, or may even increase due to things such as a child heading off to college, unforeseen medical expenses or the need to help a parent as they age.

On top of that, as it gets more difficult to make ends meet, a late payment on a credit card can cause the interest rate that you pay on your outstanding balances to double or even triple.

They say that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, but when the postman delivers more bad news in the form of bills, catchy phrases are of little help.

How Do I Make Ends Meet?

Being short money is the bad news. But there are ways to deal with it that can help to stabilize the ship, and provide some breathing room to think of ways to handle the problems going forward. That said, what are some of the best ways to go about raising cash?

Rainy Day Fund

Naturally, if you had money stashed to use if a crisis ever occurred, then that would be the first place that you would look, although some people will hesitate to do it.

It reminds me of the story of a man that went to his psychiatrist, and told him that he had lost his job and that bills were piling up. The psychiatrist asked him if he had put any money away, and he said that he did, but that it was for a rainy day. To which the psychiatrist said, it’s raining now, go use it. If money is there and you need it, use it.

Ebay, Craigslist, Tag Sale

Nobody wants to sell prized or valuable possessions if they don’t have to, but looking around the house there may be items that could fetch good dollars in an online auction house such as Ebay, or the online classifieds such as Craigslist. If you have the ability and merchandise to run a tag sale yourself, that can be a good method as well.

Savings Bonds

I recently went to the vault where I store valuable papers, and found a stack of savings bonds from long ago that I forgot were there, and that had stopped earning interest long ago. Many of us through the years have been given these as gifts, put them away and forgotten about them. Look, and you may find.

Take Part-Time Jobs

It’s going to hurt, but delivering pizzas at night or serving tables is a great way to quickly make extra cash. No one wants you to be working 2 or 3 jobs long term doing menial work, but it might be necessary while you are looking for a new career or getting your income back up at a commission based job.

Gold, Diamonds and Precious Stones

As kind of a last resort, with the run-up in precious metals and other commodities, there may be quite a bit of untapped money either sitting on a shelf in the closet, or possibly in a bank vault. While you would probably not want to part with your wedding ring (although some might), you remember the jewelry that your Aunt Bertha gave to you that you would never think about wearing. Or perhaps some other item that you don’t like or use that you feel may have value. Make sure to get the item appraised or bring it to several dealers to get a better idea of what it is worth.

These are only some of the methods that are available. Do you have any other good ideas for replacing lost income?

Michael Haltman
Former fixed income analyst/trader and institutional salesman for some of the largest firms on Wall Street, some of which no longer exist. Was a proprietary equity trader for Opus Trading for fifteen years until opening my own commercial lending firm, and mortgage title insurance firm. Contribute articles to many publications including Money Crashers, and have had articles picked up by The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Sun-Times and Houston Chronicle to name a few. Also created and write The Political Commentator which examines the world from the right.

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