When the income decreases, it is pays to set priorities

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits is on the rise.  In fact, the recent increase left claims at their highest level since late March 2002. If you experience a loss or reduction in income, you may have to set some financial priorities.  Not all of your debts equally impact your family.  For example, it is important to pay your rent or mortgage.  You must also make arrangements with your utility companies and you must provide food for your family.  Please do not be tempted to allow your insurance to lapse. (If you become unemployed, you may have the right to extend your medical coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)).

The following is an example of how you might prioritize your financial obligations:

*First priority debts likely include your rent or mortgage, tax liabilities, insurance premiums, auto loans and utilities.

*Second priority debts may include secured loans through finance companies.

*Third priority lenders may include retailers, hospitals, doctors and credit cards issuers.

Remember, each person will have their own unique list of priorities.  Realize that just because a category of debt is listed as a third priority, does not mean it isn’t important. It simply means you need to contact the higher priority creditors first.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating Better Business Bureau
    MMI is proud to have achieved an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting and improving marketplace trust. The BBB investigates charges of fraud against both consumers and businesses, sets standards for truthfulness in advertising, and evaluates the trustworthiness of businesses and charities, providing a score from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).
  • Financial Counseling Association of America Financial Counseling Association of America
    MMI is a proud member of the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA), a national association representing financial counseling companies that provide consumer credit counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling, bankruptcy counseling, debt management, and various financial education services.
  • Trustpilot Trustpilot
    MMI is rated as “Excellent” (4.9/5) by reviewers on Trustpilot, a global, online consumer review platform dedicated to openness and transparency. Since 2007, Trustpilot has received over 116 million customer reviews for nearly 500,000 different websites and businesses. See what others are saying about the work we do.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development - Equal Housing Opportunity Department of Housing and Urban Development
    MMI is certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide consumer housing counseling. The mission of HUD is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD provides support services directly and through approved, local agencies like MMI.
  • Council on Accreditation Council On Accreditation
    MMI is proudly accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. COA’s thorough, peer-reviewed accreditation process is designed to ensure that organizations like MMI are providing the highest standard of service and support for clients and employees alike.
  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling National Foundation for Credit Counseling
    MMI is a longstanding member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), the nation’s largest nonprofit financial counseling organization. Founded in 1951, the NFCC’s mission is to promote financially responsible behavior and help member organizations like MMI deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.