Money Minding: Health, Wealth & Change in the U.P. Workplace, by Tawni Hunt Ferarrini, Economist

In today’s dynamic economy, everyone can expect job change.  Some of us will be asked to acquire new skills on the job or find ways to be more productive in our current positions as people retire, relocate, or expire.  Others will be released from present jobs, leaving them to seek new ones.  Have a strategic plan that takes changes like these into account.  Minimize stress.  And, live a healthier and happier life.

Evidence of job change over the last year is present in our local community.  Recently, 300 miners were laid off at the Empire Mine.  160 of the 300 did so voluntarily.  Upfront & Company closed its doors last fall, releasing 70 plus workers into the local workforce. Over the past couple of months, Rio Tinto has slowed its progress toward active production at its Eagle Mine.  11 workers were laid off and others landed jobs elsewhere.  Northern Michigan University has been peppered with a rash of retirements.  New people are coming on board, changing the working environment.  Whether employed at one of these businesses or not, everyone should anticipate some impact of this movement on our overall economy, local businesses, and households.  Just like devising and putting into action a plan to eat and exercise regularly for healthy living, there are things you can do to prepare for job change in your life and the lives of others.  Different perspectives are considered below.

The ordinary person like you and me is likely to face unemployment at some point, so it’s best to prepare.  Many financial experts recommend setting aside three to six months’ worth of expenses in a rainy day or emergency savings fund.  This serves as a safety net when you’re out of work.  It should be easily accessible and secure.  That is, placed in something like a tax-free savings account.  Devise and follow a budget for allocating those funds during your rainy days. Use emergency funds strategically and prudently.  First focus on meeting your mortgage or rent payment.  Do the same with other debt obligations.  Do not take on new debt to “get by.” Doing so will negatively impact your credit history, which some employers view to gain a more comprehensive view of your ability to manage a variety of affairs in a variety of circumstances.  Drastically reduce, if not eliminate, your expenditures on wants and luxury items.  Focus on your needs – basic food, clothing and shelter. Pull in your belt.  Entertain and feed yourself and others at home instead of going out.  Narrow your cell plan to the basics.  Drive less and car pool or bike to work.  Work out at home instead of using a personal trainer at a gym.  The list goes on.

Update your resume.  Map out a plan of action to find and secure a job that is a good match for you and your new employer.  Complete a free massive open online course (MOOC) to update your skills, complete a self-study course, or enroll in a college class.  Find a way to refresh your skills in ways meaningful to businesses looking for new people to bring into their fold.

Get excited, go out and find a new job!  If you don’t know where to start or are having trouble finding a good fit, lean on one of our numerous local resources.  Consider Michigan Works, the Job Force Board.  Visit where you can look for a job, explore the current job market, devise a career plan, and seek new skills that fit the needs of the current market.  If necessary, apply for unemployment, but understand that by not doing so, you incentivize yourself to find a job as soon as possible and prospective employers are impressed by those individuals who elect not to tap into unemployment compensation.  The name of the game is to signal to others that you can meet and exceed their expectations.

If you are currently employed, looking for new challenges, or expecting changes in co-workers and/or skill requirements, do the same as our unemployed counterparts.  Refresh your resume.  Get your financial house in order.  And devise and implement a plan to remain current, if not ahead, of present-day job conditions.

Job change is part of the current U.S. labor force’s fabric.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people can expect an average of eleven jobs in their lifetime.  Be prepared for change and stay on top of the changes in the labor market.  Get ahead of the movement by refreshing your resume, updating your job skills, gaining experience serving in leadership roles in volunteer or religious organizations, and finding a mentor to help you navigate through these changes.  Doing so will minimize insecurity stemming from not being prepared to face change.  Less insecurity translates into less stress, which helps you live a happier life.  Preparing for a period of unemployment, and being able to live comfortably through it, helps you live a wealthier life over time.  A happier, healthier and wealthier you also helps others in your family/friend network and work.

Tawni Ferrarini is co-author of Common Sense Economics (2010) published by St. Martin’s Press.  She is a PhD in economics and is published in numerous peer reviewed journals.  She speaks globally on topics related to advancing literacy in economics, entrepreneurship and personal finance.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Summer 2013 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

Health And Wealth, by T. Ferrarini

Live a financially sound life.  Hold all else constant and… sleep well at night without concern over whether to buy groceries or make a payment on a credit card the next day.  Start each day with a fresh look at what lies ahead. No need to worry about having money in the bank account to cover an unexpected veterinarian bill needed to save the life of your furry, life-long companion or replace a blown tire of the car that gets you thirty miles to and from work.

Jog through the day with fresh thoughts about how to be your best.  Get the most out of your day for yourself, your coworkers and your employer with minimal financial stress.  Forget about the day-to-day worries of figuring out how to make a mortgage payment while saving or paying for a down-payment on a home or your two young children’s education.

Invest that mental and emotional energy in other places. Think about how to grow and develop that energy and other valuable resources in your life in ways that improve your health AND contribute to a financially secure and stable future.  It will benefit you and those surrounding you at home, work and other places.  So get financially fit!

Financial fitness involves developing a few key habits.   Keep track of all spending and income earned.  Use your phone, a piece of paper or a napkin to do so.  Devise a budget.  Grab one from the Internet.  Just sit down with it and start.  It is not rocket science.  Lay out where all your funds come and go.  Commit to setting into motion a budget that includes a healthy plan for financial stability.  Every day, stash away a little for a rainy day.  Bring lunch to work.  Skip buying soda, energy drinks, coffee or other incidentals.  In other words, spend prudently.  Invest wisely.  And, give purposefully to others.  Set aside credit cards.

Think creatively about how to save, spend, invest and share in ways that help you and others prosper. Find a personal coach if needed.  Ask a family member.  Visit your bank.  Go online and seek coaching there.  But beware.  Never give out your personal information, especially your social security number.

Inspiration on how to get started is everywhere.  Find a mentor if you want companionship or commit to doing it alone.  Just devise a plan for a healthy and wealthy life.

Stick to the plan and, before you know it, you will gain momentum.  Cutting coupons, buying used versus new or narrowing your cell phone coverage will get you started.  You will soon have enough money to create a small nest egg, pay off high-interest debt or establish a small investment account.  Financial fitness is in reach.

Being financially fit is important for you, and it is important for others.  Just look around the globe.  Health and wealth grow in tandem across countries and time.  Think about wealth levels and health standards one-hundred or two-hundred years ago.  No one can argue that each is not better today.  Individuals living in high-income economies have better health than those living in low-income economies.  More wealth gives individuals access to better food, sanitation, health care, recreational options and the list goes on.  Individuals who are healthy and financially fit are more productive than their unhealthy and fiscally out-of-shape or poor counterparts.  Financial fitness and health benefits the person, his or her families, coworkers, and, society at large.  Plus they place individuals in a stronger position to share time, talent and treasure with others.

Stay healthy and remain financially fit!

Tawni Ferrarini is co-author of Common Sense Economics (2010) published by St. Martin’s Press.  She is a PhD in economics and is published in numerous peer reviewed journals.  She speaks globally on topics related to advancing literacy in economics, entrepreneurship and personal finance.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Spring 2013 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2013. All rights reserved.