LOS ANGELES (CBS) — One month? Two? How long could you pay your rent or mortgage if you suddenly became unemployed?
It takes the average American nine months to get a new job once they find themselves out of work. But financial experts say one in three would not be able to make their next rent or mortgage payment if they lost their job today.
Certified financial planner Nancy McCready says in order to survive the mortgage gap, you must find creative ways to bump up your income and cut back your expenses.
McCready suggests searching sites like Craigslist to find ways to put your skills to money-making use. She found numerous ads for part-time handymen, interpreters, tutors, and babysitters.
Next on McCready’s to-do list? Maximize your tax potential.
If you usually receive a substantial refund from the IRS, why not utilize those same funds year-round?
“If you think about it,” says McCready, “if you even got to keep an extra couple hundred dollars a month that could make a huge difference.”
The IRS provides a withholding calculator on its website. Just punch in last year’s numbers and find out how much you should claim on your W-4.
If you’re like many Americans, living paycheck to paycheck and relying on credit cards, McCready suggests calling your creditors to see if they can lower your interest rates.
You may also want to meet with a credit counselor for help determining if debt consolidation would be best for you.