I recently received this question via e-mail:
I am very worried about my job right now, since there have been rumors of cuts at work. I have credit card and a mortgage that -- unless I lose my job -- is mostly manageable. If I have to make this decision, which should I pay first: my credit card bills or my mortgage?First of all, I hope that you keep your job. This is a time of trepidation for many as mass layoffs become more common. And I am sure that others are starting to tote up their obligations and try to determine their priorities.
Now is a good time to starting preparing for a worst-case scenario if you are concerned about meeting all your financial obligations in the coming months. Figure out what you can cut from your budget, and start building up an emergency fund that can help you get through a period of unemployment.
Also, if you can, start paying down some of your debt. If you are very concerned that your financial situation is hopeless, you might consider consulting with a trusted financial adviser about bankruptcy.