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Alberta could lose up to 185,000 jobs are you prepared?

With the drop in oil prices, many energy companies and oil patch service firms have laid off over 50,000 workers since the summer of 2014. The current uncertainty in Alberta’s economy, mostly in the energy sector, is a reality unfolding too close to home for many Alberta families.

In February 2015, about 14,000 jobs were lost in Alberta and subsequent months have seen over 30,000 job cuts. This pushed the unemployment rate in March 2015 to 5.3 percent – highest since September 2011 in Alberta. As countless financial experts are predicting low growth in oil and gas, it would be advisable for Albertans working in the oil and gas sector to take a hard look at their personal finances.

People should dedicate some time to review their current financial position and also research reliable tools, organizations, and resources that can help them plan ahead financially.

Here are some suggestions on what you can do immediately:

Get organized – Have a clear picture of where you currently stand financially. Take a look at your income, investment, emergency funds, insurance, assets and debt. Without a better understanding of your finances, you may find yourself in a very difficult position.

Set financial goals – It is important to set and prioritize financial goals. Some examples may include paying down debts, creating an emergency fund or starting to save.

Develop a budget and track your spending – Start by keeping track of all incoming and outgoing funds. Create spending categories such as food, entertainment, credit card payments and rent. Once you have an idea of how much you spend you will be able to create a budget and find areas where you can cut back.

Pay down your debt and avoid major purchases – Stop using your credit card unless you know you can pay it off fully before the end of the billing cycle. Develop a plan that helps you pay down debt. Always try to find an area to cut back on in your budget so that you can pay off debt or build your savings more quickly. Additionally, this is not the time to buy a flat screen TV, new car or take an expensive vacation.

Start saving – Start saving money for your irregular expenses, such as an emergency or retirement fund, as soon as you can. You may also need to cut back on your current spending. Look for ways to reduce your bills including your cell phone payment, cable, unnecessary credit card interest, and eating out. Attempt to set aside one day each week where you do not spend any money, and instead put that money into a savings account.

Seek Credit Counselling and Financial Review – Credit counselling and financial reviews empower people to take control of their finances. A friendly, qualified, and experienced financial counsellor will be able to provide you with unbiased advice – keeping your best interests in mind. Book an appointment with a counsellor to learn how to manage and repay your debts efficiently.

Money Mentors is the only Alberta-based, not-for-profit credit counselling agency. Through a number of services, we help families and individuals recover from financial crisis and move forward. From credit counselling and money coaching to retirement planning and community financial literacy, we are contributing to a healthier financial future for the entire province.




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