The job numbers out this morning may have dipped a bit—by 21,000—but they don't include the almost-quasi-jobless (called "idle") who have been put on hold as the Big Three slow production 30% or so. Nor does it include the number of Americans working part-time looking for full-time gigs.
So let's assume that our 26-year-high of unemployment only tells part of a millions-and-millions story. Last week we asked on On the Money if viewers were worried about losing their jobs and over half said "Yes". Unemployment can act as a contagion. It becomes a "Will I be next to 'get' it?" way of thinking. If this appropriate anxiety fuels you to set into motion some great habits when it comes to your money and how you perform on the job, great. However, remember that the biggest and best move you can make when and if you're let go may not be intuitive: getting and maintaining health insurance.
Even if you sail out with a healthy severance, it may take longer than you expect to land another benefits-laden gig so prepare to shell out the big bucks for COBRA (average of $1,200 a month for a family of three) or shop around to insure yourself.
(Watch the accompanying video to see how you can use Facebook to land your next job)
Nothing jeopardizes your financial future more than being uninsured—even being jobless.
*For more on your Pink Slip Survival Guide, tune in to ON THE MONEY Thursday at 10p ET*