Assess Your Finances

Gather all financial information (bank statements, financial records, etc.) and assess your situation as quickly as possible. Many people make the mistake of not adjusting a budget soon enough. Cutting back immediately may buy weeks of solvency.

Try to tap into any savings strategically. Checking and savings accounts earn little in interest, and don’t come with large tax bills at the end of the year. Keep tax-deferred retirement savings as a last resort.

Oftentimes if they are pulled out early the money is fully taxable as regular income, which can be much higher than 15 percent and there is also a 10 percent federal penalty that can be assessed. There could also be state taxes and penalties.

If you were living paycheck to paycheck before being laid off, or have a limited amount in savings, a credit counseling service may provide some help on budgeting and credit managing for little to no cost.

Steelworker members and associate members are eligible for a wide range of services like credit counseling through UnionPlus. UnionPlus is an organization created by the AFL-CIO that uses the buying power of union members to offer a variety of services and products at discounted rates. UnionPlus also sponsors a SAFE program (security, assistance, financial education) that compiles a number of resources that may be helpful to union members. UnionPlus’ free and confidential credit counseling services can be accessed by calling Money Management International (MMI) toll-free at 866-490-5361. MMI is one of the nation’s largest full-service nonprofit credit counseling agencies.

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