The odds are good that you’ll be undergoing a dramatic life change sometime in the next few years, if not even sooner. And while major changes are always a little scary, they don’t have to stress you out.
Just kidding! They totally do have to stress you out. There is literally no way around that. For one thing, you read this blog, which means that you probably get stressed out when the supermarket is out of Fresca, or when you think you see your ex-partner on the street, or when you wake up. That is just the way people like us are. Don’t fight it.
But you can prepare yourself! Kind of. I mean, you can’t prepare yourself in any meaningful way, but you can at least give yourself the temporary illusion of preparedness, which is the best any of us can hope for. At The Wall Street Journal, Andrea Coombes offers some good suggestions on how you should plan before any major life changes. Unfortunately, all the life changes she mentions — marriage, childbirth, home ownership, college, retirement — are positive ones. (Well, theoretically positive. Your mileage may — OK, will — vary.)
So, inspired by Ms. Coombes, we present a list of financial steps you may want to consider before your life changes for the worse. Which, let’s face it, it will. You’re too old for college and too young for retirement. Sorry to have to break it to you, and we hope you find this helpful, which you will not.
…getting dumped by your boyfriend or girlfriend, then:
Make a list of your personal property that can be easily liquidated for cash. You haven’t exactly been paying your part of the rent, and now you’re going to have to find a place to live, fast. That college ring can be exchanged for well over $15 at one of those sketchy-looking “CASH 4 GOLD” places. Your 1983 Hyundai Stellar might not run anymore, but you can probably sell the parts for cash! Or expired Pop-Tarts coupons. You’re not really in the position to bargain, you know? And while your Vanilla Ice CD might only fetch 10 cents at the used CD store, consider fake-autographing it, and watch the value…plummet, actually. Yeah, maybe don’t do that one.
Write sad poems about your broken heart. The poetry market is red hot these days. Everywhere you look, people just keep buying books of poetry! Yeah, poetry’s your way out of this one. Definitely.
Beg your partner to take you back. Sometimes you have to face facts and realize you have no assets, no marketable skills, and no chance of every fooling someone else into falling in love with you. There’s no shame in just weeping as hard as you can, and begging your ex to change his or her mind! I mean, OK, yeah, there is some shame in that. Quite a lot, actually. But it’s slightly better than sleeping on the street!
…flunking out of college, then:
Find a scapegoat immediately. Your parents aren’t going to spot you any cash if they think your failure is your fault. So find someone to blame! Just be sure to tailor it to your parents’ biases. If your folks are Republicans, tell them your English professor refused to pass you because of the Sarah Palin button on your backpack. If they’re Democrats, claim that the dean expelled you after being angered by the “COEXIST” bumper sticker on your Volvo. In either case, you’ll probably have to move back home, which is lame. But they do always buy the name-brand Hot Pockets.
Sell your old textbooks. Those 900-page tomes you had to buy for the class you never went to were pretty expensive, but don’t worry. Your college bookstore will be happy to give you a fair price for ha ha ha ha ha ha, I’m sorry, I can’t even finish this sentence. Book-wise, you’re screwed.
Get a damn job, slacker. There’s pretty much no way around this one. Sure, it’ll be humiliating when you’re delivering pizza to your old classmates, but always remember: life is basically just one humiliation after another. So you’re getting an early start. And let’s face it, your band’s not going to take off. And even if it does, you’re not going to get any money from it. Think about it: when’s the last time you paid for music? Yeah. We thought so.
…getting fired, then:
Ask the human resources director whether your 401(k) is portable. Don’t worry if you don’t know what this means. We don’t, either. You probably don’t even have a 401(k), but with any luck, the HR lady will be so confused by your question, you’ll have time to steal some paper clips and highlighters before she notices. Then it’s straight to eBay with your newly-acquired loot! You might want to find some way to fake Vanilla Ice’s autograph on it, though. It couldn’t hurt.
Start looking on Craigslist for new jobs. Let’s see, here’s one. It appears that a “very good-looking” 45-year-old white man — you’re not sure why this is relevant — is looking for an employee to OH MY GOD, YOU’RE LOOKING IN THE WRONG SECTION, HIT THE BACK BUTTON ON YOUR BROWSER AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, BACK BACK BACK BACK BACK
Update your résumé to reflect the fact that your old boss was a total jerk. Prospective employers will be curious about the reason you left your most recent job. Be sure to list this prominently on your CV, preferably using vividly descriptive phrases detailing how stupid your old boss was. Delightful compound words such as “ass-face” and “[human waste]-head” can be particularly enlightening to your would-be employer. And if at all possible, include an unflattering caricature of your former supervisor, preferably with a word balloon saying something like “DUUUUH, I’M A DUMBASS!” We can’t stress this enough: employers love this.