The latest employment numbers showed American business is hiring and the unemployment rate dipped to 5%. That’s a key metric because it means the U.S. is nearing full employment. Full employment doesn’t necessarily mean zero unemployment, but it’s the equilibrium point where most people seeking a job can find one.
During the Great Recession we went through a phase of rampant layoffs that impacted hundreds of thousands of people every month. That sudden employment catastrophe left mental scars on an entire generation. Today, as Yogi Berra once famously pointed out, the future ain’t what it used to be. Now employers are hiring and in-demand skills are getting better pay and better work perks. This is not the time to be clouded by the employment market of the past. If history is any guide, times of bountiful employment like we’re enjoying today are short-lived by historical standards. Here are five moves you’ll want to make while the employment picture is brighter.
Deleveraging is just a fancy way of saying pay down debt. In business you don’t say “debt” you say “leverage” because, when you’re getting paid obscene amounts of money, it sounds more lofty and knowledgeable. This is the time to be taking a second job, finding gig work and anything else you can do to make money and pay off your bills. Debt is an anchor that keeps people from moving to where opportunities are located and keeps them trapped in unsatisfying jobs.
Bank Some Cash Ahead For Emergencies
First make sure you have an emergency fund of between $1,000 and $3,000, then switch to paying off debts. Once you have your debts paid off, then turn to banking some cash ahead. That stash cash can be used for moving if you need to relocate for another job or as a buffer against an extended layoff.
Right now your dollar goes farther overseas than ever before. That makes right now the perfect historical moment for extended travel overseas. Spend a month or more backpacking across Europe and still have a decent chance of landing a job when you get home. It’s also the perfect time to consider jobs like working on a cruise ship. The wages are low, the hours are long but it’s your ticket to get paid for traveling to exotic locations. When you get back you won’t have to worry about being able to land a job. Traveling like that in 2008 would have been economic suicide.
The best way to increase your income is changing jobs. The best jobs will frequently be somewhere else, so being prepared to move is step one in landing a new job. Be sure and check the company’s track record when it came to layoffs in 2008. Any company can cut back but some held out longer than others during the Great Recession. You should have long enough in your new job to make yourself layoff resistant before hiring cutbacks happen again.
Invest In Education
The other way to raise your income is qualifying for better paying jobs and the ticket to those is almost always education. You don’t have to get a degree; just keep going to class and learning new things. Read a lot, at least one new book a week, and make some of those books about investing and financial management. You’ll be surprised how fast you can learn, especially when your own money is on the line!
Now is the time to shed the fearful mindset of the Great Recession and take an educated gamble. Make the right moves and you’ll be better prepared for the next financial disaster which will surely happen.