Mark Johannessen: Losing a job is often traumatic, but it doesn't have to be a financial disaster. You can take actions to make your transition more manageable and less stressful, for you and your family. There are four important steps to surviving job loss. The first step is to put a plan into place. Early key moves and decisions can make the difference between surviving financially, until you're successfully employed again, and making financial mistakes that could jeopardize your financial well-being for years to come. The next step is to Understand Severance Packages. Your employer may offer a Severance Package, probably before you are dismissed. This package typically extends salary and perhaps benefits for a certain dollar amount over a period of time. The third step is to Think about Insurance and Retirement plans. Losing a job will likely force you to make some crucial decisions regarding Insurance, and any Retirement account you had with your former employer. The last step is to Create a Spending Plan. A basic aspect of sound financial planning is knowing what your income and expenses are, and balancing the two. If you don't use a Spending Plan or Budget already, now is the time to get one down in writing. If you do use a Spending Plan, revise it to reflect your new situation. Remember, job loss is a fact of working life in America, even in the best of times. So take a deep breath. In fact, losing a job may actually turn out to be an opportunity to land a better job or a new career.