Stories about a couple both losing their jobs and surviving
May 5, 2020 6:33 AM   Subscribe

Maybe it's too early, and maybe the COVID situation is too different, but I'm looking for stories/articles/anecdotes where a couple have both lost their jobs and they have come out on the other end.

My husband was laid off at the beginning of April and I am very likely to be furloughed at the end of this week. We were doing fine on my income and we were going to be ok for the long term, even with my income getting reduced because of COVID. The idea now of both of us being unemployed in this market is terrifying. Adding to this, we have a toddler and a second baby coming in the fall. Our only debt is a car loan, we don't have credit card debt or student loans. We have savings that was intended for a down payment but now will be used as our emergency fund when we need it. We shouldn't have to tap into it unless we are both still on unemployment in October and then it will last us about 7 months - taking into consideration additional monthly expenses for healthcare once we lose our health benefit. (I'm conservatively estimating health costs to be $2,000 a month as I pay $1,000 a month through my employer now for 3 of us). After that, it wouldn't be pleasant, but we could move in with my parents.

All of that background is just to say that I really could use some hope. I would love to read stories where a couple has both lost their jobs and has bounced back. Can you direct me to any? Do you have a personal story?

Thanks for reading.
posted by kmr to Work & Money (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Not necessarily parallel because we didn't have kids, but my ex boyfriend and I both lost our jobs in the last economic crash, so 12 or so years ago. I was laid off and he had a job offer post-grad-school rescinded. (Since we had not yet gotten the income from his post-grad-school job, we were doing OK on my income but obviously would have preferred to have both.)

I went on unemployment, and he dipped into his savings. I probably also did, but I definitely never ran through them all. UI payments were more than I had expected even then, and I recall getting some extensions on them as well because of The Crisis.

It probably took about 2-3 months for me to find freelance work steady enough to disqualify me from the UI benefits. I worked freelance for awhile, parlayed a gig into a job, and then eventually the official recession was over and things settled into a new normal until now.

We both definitely bounced back. It took longer for my ex, and we broke up for unrelated reasons, but we both are steadily (well, steadily pre-COVID) employed and currently make, I'd guess, 2x as much as we were earning back then.

Caveats: I think because this was in the bad old days and we were young and stupid, we just went without health insurance. Not sure if losing that expense is an option for you guys. We did both have student loans at the time, but I think we deferred them. I honestly can't remember, so you can take that as a data point! As traumatic as I'm sure it was back then, I barely remember the details now.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:31 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]

If you are still in California as a pregnant woman you can get Medicaid without copays/deductibles through the MediCal Access Program even if you earned too much income earlier in the year to qualify for Medicaid. Pregnant women also count as 2 people for the purposes of family size and income calculations, which may mean toddler can also get MediCal. Husband will probably need an exchange plan. All that to say there may be ways to get that health insurance cost lower thanks to some of our state programs. I'm pregnant too and started researching this in case my husband loses his job so thought I would share what I found.
posted by wilky at 8:08 AM on May 5 [6 favorites]

Here is a story about a woman who lost everything but her home and successfully lived on a thousandth of her earlier expenditures. This one describes how a couple leaves the city and homesteads in Ohio in 1933.
posted by metasunday at 7:43 PM on May 9

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