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checks drying up after 26 weeks. Other conservatives have used the inane argument that lengthening such benefits make job seekers lazy or too finicky about employment choices. Apparently, they haven’t spent time with hordes of highly-educated, well-credentialed professionals unable to get a nibble quarter after demoralizing quarter.
There’s no proof people prefer unemployment checks to paychecks. For one, job markets have collapsed and a number of positions aren’t coming back. Benefits are vital to keeping households intact while prospective breadwinners engage in retraining or seek other options. Moreover, there’s a ripple effect when individuals have little money to spend in local economies; businesses fail and unemployment grows exponentially.
So here’s the rub: Congress is about to enact reforms to help you protect your money but if you’re among the long-term unemployed then political inaction may lead to financial ruin. In both cases, you can ill-afford to sit on the sidelines. At Black Enterprise, our Wealth for Life philosophy has been that you’re on your own and you must take initiative when building wealth, preserving a career or reinventing oneself. Related to the financial overhaul legislation, be proactive and learn every nook and cranny of the new law so you can use the provisions to full advantage. Find out from your bank programs such as mortgage loan modifications that can help you to maximize dollars. Make sure your increase your emergency savings in case you lose your job. As you can see, gaining new employment may take months, even years.
If you are among the unemployed, immediately downsize your life to minimize expenses. It may mean living with family members for a while. Also if you have been looking for a job in your field for well over 18 months, you may want to consider making a career change and developing skills in growth industries. Read our series on “Where the Jobs Are” in the Powerplay section of BLACK ENTERPRISE and on the BlackEnterprise.com Careers channel to discover areas of opportunities.
Lastly, whether its consumer protection, unemployment benefits or another measure affecting your family’s livelihood or financial well-being, fight for your future. Let your voice be heard in congressional offices and at the polls. Now is the time to do it. It is an election year after all.