Getting the Pink Slip: Part Two

Getting the Pink Slip: Part Two
By: CJ Cassidy

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - How do you prepare for a shaky future?
As a general rule of thumb, experts say you should have between three and six months income socked away.
But, what if you don't?  How can you prepare or worse, how can you get through a crisis if you find yourself holding a pink slip?
Terry Smith says when he lost his job, he acted quickly and filed for unemployment online.
"Luckily, I'm getting unemployment now so that helps a whole bunch," he said.
Smith says he spends hours looking for jobs at the Missouri Career Center at the Marquette in Cape Girardeau.
But it isn't enough to ease his fears, not when he has two children he worries about feeding.
"We cut a lot more food out.  You can't tell by looking at me, but a lot of your necessities, care products we buy cheaper brands," he said.
"You have to figure out what you have to pay every month," said Economist Bruce Domazlicky.
He believes Smith's on the right track, and says if you find yourself filing an unemployment claim, sit down and make a list of your expenses.
Then, cut out and trim what you can.
"What surprises me the most especially about people's finances is how unprepared they are for the future, for emergencies even long term," he said.
For those of you who still have a job, but worry you might be the next to go, Domazlicky has tips for you too.
"As an alternative to the three to six months of savings rule, have some kind of line of credit to draw upon in case you need temporary financing for your basic needs," Domazlicky said. 
As for Terry Smith, he's not giving up.  If he doesn't get a job soon, he's going for a whole new career.
"I'm supposed to start truck driving school.  I'm going to find a local trucking job so I'm home a lot more often," he said.
Economists say the most important thing you can do right now is to start saving money.
They also suggest you put away a little bit every month, in your savings account, stocks, bonds, CDs, any place you choose just as long as you do actually do it.