Financial counselors seeing increase in business - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Financial counselors seeing increase in business

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WATERLOO (KWWL) --  In the past month and a half eastern Iowa families have been hit hard by lay-offs. So far in the month of November, Rockwell Collins and Yellow Book laid off  or announced plans to lay off a combined 275 workers in Cedar Rapids.

Last month, Lennox announced plans to eliminate 280 jobs at its air conditioner plant in Marshalltown and earlier in October, Whirlpool laid off almost 450 workers at it's Amana plant.
These layoffs have left hundreds of families wondering where to turn.

Employees across eastern Iowa are facing an uncertain future, but there are steps to protect yourself before it's too late.

Janet O'Connell, a credit counselor in Waterloo, says she has seen an increase in business over the past couple of months.

"July or August of this year we really have been seen an increase in the number of appointments that we had here and a lot of us were having three or four appointments a day," O'Connell said.

O'Connell says during these tough times people need to prioritize their finances.

"Okay what can I cut out of my budget. What can I do without right now. How can I make this work. Especially if they have credit card debt they need to make sure they get that paid down because that's just cancerous," she explained.

For those who have already lost their job it's important to keep money coming in to pay the bills, a reason to apply for unemployment benefits. Officials with Iowa Work Force say to receive unemployment you have to have lost your job, be able and available to work, be registered at the local Workforce Development Center, and actively looking for a new job.

Anyone filing needs their social security number, information about their former employer, the date of employment and if they're not a U.S. citizen, an alien registration number.

For those who still have their job, O'Connell says to go above and beyond to make yourself stand out.

"Ask for new projects to do what can I do to help. Learn new skills. A lot of times companies will offer training and they need to take advantage of that so they are more valuable possibly less likely to get laid off, " O'Connell said.

Financial experts say to save at least three to six months of salary to help get through to the next job.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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