The Pink Slip. It’s the dreaded official notification from your employer that they no longer need your services. You’ll often hear the corporate rumors flowing within your company about the impending layoffs, but you’ll never suspect that you might be a person on the hit list. We never imagine that we will be that person who gets called in for dismissal time. While getting a pink slip is an awful feeling, it’s also a phase in your life where you need to immediately get your financial act together. Here are my four smart money moves to make when you get laid off from work.
1. When is your last paycheck? – It’s truly amazing to me how many people don’t ask the very simple questions when they get the heave ho from their employer. You will want to ask specifically when your last day or work is and what the expectations are of you over the next 30, 60, or 90 days. You should ask about vacation time or PTO or other types of benefits that may or may not be converted into money. See if you are eligible for any type of severance and then gain a full understanding when your last paycheck will be. Be very careful that sometimes your employer may want you to sign a release of claims letter to get some final monies and be sure to have an attorney review that letter before you sign on the dotted line.
2. Time To See The Doctor – Health insurance is one of the biggest items for consideration during a layoff. You should make all doctor visits before you separate from service with your current employer. You should get the details of what happens to your health insurance plan if you get laid off. Are you under COBRA or state continuation? Do you understand what the cost of COBRA would be to your family? In many cases you will have to pay the full premium which could be very costly to your family. Should you go to the Obamacare exchange? Can you switch to your spouse’s insurance? These are important details to sift through especially if you are half way through your yearly deductibles and may be switching over to new insurance.
3. Which Insurance Policies Are Portable? – If you have policies including life insurance or disability insurance, you should call your benefits or human resources department and find out which policies are portable. By portability, I mean having the ability to transfer a group policy into an individual policy. Perhaps your health has changed since you started with your employer? What will the costs be for converting the policy? Can group coverages last while you are receiving a severance check?
4. What Are The Options With Your Retirement Plans? – Let’s say that you have programs such as stock options or the company is contributing money into a retirement plan that may be important to you in this arena. What will happen to all of those programs should you be laid off? Will your stock options require you exercise within 90 days? Can you keep your company stock purchase plan? How much of your 401(k) is vested? Should you keep your 401(k) plan at work or move it to an IRA? What will happen with your company deferred compensation plan if you are an executive? In many cases, you may not have remembered whether you chose a lump sum, a five-year payout, or a ten-year payout which could drastically affect your tax situation for the year.
5. Do You Get Job Hunting Support? – You should always be working on having a fresh resume, even if you aren’t thinking about leaving your employer. You never know what’s going to happen at your job and having a fresh resume might help you get started quicker with your job search. Your employer may offer resume writing or job outplacement services which will be free to you.
Remember, try not to get prior management upset. In the game of business, it’s always going to be a nine inning game versus a one inning game. You never know how a former colleague or boss can help you or hurt you. You want to make sure that you don’t upset former employers because the merry go round will come around again. You never know what’s going to hit you in the future. So just make sure that you leave on positive terms.
Try these four smart money moves when you get a pink slip from work. If you are struggling on your own, then it might be best to get a qualified financial advisor who specializes in job transitions so you can maximize every bit of your transition package from work. Don’t let a pink slip take your finances into the RED!
Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc.
Request a FREE consultation: www.oxygenfinancial.net