These days, a lot of people have layoffs on the brain, and understandably so. Not only have many large employers been implementing layoffs since the start of 2023, but with all of the recession warnings that have been popping up, a lot of people are increasingly worried about losing their jobs.

Clearly, getting laid off could have a major impact on your finances. But you may not realize that it also has the potential to impact your marriage.

In fact, a recent Quicken survey found that about 50% of people would consider leaving their spouse in at least one scenario if they lost their job. Now to be fair, there’s a little more to the story than a glaring lack of empathy among those 50% of people.

When we dig deeper, we see that people would be more likely to end their marriage over job loss if the laid-off spouse started spending too much money or remained unemployed for more than a few years. And 16% of respondents said they’d consider leaving their spouse if their partner made no effort to look for a new job after losing one, which is more understandable.

But clearly, getting laid off has the potential to bring about unfavorable consequences. And while you can’t necessarily prevent a layoff, you can at least do this one thing to protect yourself and your family financially in the face of one.

Build an emergency fund

A big reason the loss of a job might drive some couples to split up is that being unemployed can be financially stressful. And financial stress can evolve into emotional stress, putting a strain on any given relationship.

That’s why it’s so important to do what you can to prepare for a layoff by building up an emergency fund. In a nutshell, you’ll want to make sure you have enough money in savings to cover at least three full months of essential living expenses.

As such, comb through your financial documents to figure out what your essential bills look like, from your mortgage payments to your utility bills. Aim for at least three times that amount so that if you were to lose your job, you’d have the ability to pay your bills while looking for work elsewhere.

If you go into a layoff with three months’ worth of bills in the bank, you may not experience so much stress in the wake of one. And if you’re able to show your partner that you’re able to pay your bills despite having lost a job, they may not react so harshly.

It’s important to be prepared

It’s pretty shocking to see that such a large percentage of couples would consider leaving their partner over a layoff. But the reality is that financial stress tends to be a huge reason why couples split up. So if you want to position yourself to get through not just a layoff, but a rough patch in your relationship, do what you can to build up the right amount of cash reserves.

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