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Coronavirus: What To Do If You Get Laid Off From Work


What to do When You Feel Market Whiplash

April 05, 2020

The Pink Slip. It's the dreaded official notification from your employer that they no longer need your services. What's worse is that with the COVID-19, it may not be your fault at all. We've never had this type of health crisis lead to this type of financial crisis. You'll often hear the corporate or small business rumors flowing within your company about the impending layoffs, but you'll never suspect that you might be a person on the hit list…unless you see it coming. We know restaurants, hospitality, travel, airlines, and others are just a few who are going to be the most impacted. We never imagine that we will be that person who gets called in for dismissal time. While getting the pink slip is an awful feeling, it's also a phase in your life where you need to immediately get your financial act together. Especially in a time where unemployment could reach double digits.

When is Your Last Paycheck?

Many people don't ask this very simple question when they get the heave ho from their employer. You will want to ask specifically when your last day of work is and what the expectations are of you over the next 30, 60, or 90 days. If you are furloughed, then get specifics as to what benefits are available to you and when your employer believes you can return to work.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 of when your last paycheck will be deposited so you can plan backwards. Be very careful because 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.

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. Even though doctors' offices (some will be closed) will tell you to only come is for essential needs, this may be the lowest cost your insurance will be for the rest of the year. 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?Will you have to go to the exchange? 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. Can you switch to your spouse's insurance? These are important details to sift through especially if you are halfway through your yearly deductibles and may be switching over to new insurance. Of course, you also want to take care of dental and eye doctor visits as well.

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 life insurance has changed since you started with your employer? What will the costs be for converting the policy into a personal policy if the corporate allows for it?Should you apply for individual life, disability, or long-term care insurance before your employment is up? Can group coverages last while you are receiving a severance check?

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? Should you consider NUA-Net Unrealized Appreciation if you have company stock in your 401(k)? 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.

What Will Your Tax Situation Look Like for the Rest of the Year?

If you don't work for the next 3, 6, or 9 months, what will your tax outlook look like for the rest of 2020.Should you be converting IRA money into Roth IRA money?Do you have capital gains that could be taxed at a lower tax bracket?Did you have to cash out on stock options or vested in Restricted Stock Units that could cause you to move to a higher tax bracket?Will you collect unemployment?Did you get funding from the Government beyond unemployment? What can you deduct from your home expenses this year? It's really important to proactively get a tax plan in place so you aren't surprised when you file for 2020 in 2021.

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.You might also want to consider what sectors will need workers and perhaps take a course or two to prepare yourself in case you need to find a new job quickly.The more skills and competencies you have, the easier it will be to get a job.

Make sure you take advantage of whatever free money, stimulus, or loans that may come from the Government over the next year.You've got to research every opportunity to put dollars in your pocket to provide for your family.

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 at some point in your future. So just make sure that you leave on positive terms.Many of these layoffs in 2020 will happen to no real fault of your employer, but the circumstances created from the coronavirus worldwide.

Try these six money moves from oXYGen Financial when you get a pink slip from work. We have been helping thousands of clients all over the United States to build a solid financial plan and make sound money decisions during these difficult times.

If you would like to receive more information on making smart money moves for your future, be sure to contact us today!



About the author

Ted Jenkin in a suit and tie

Ted Jenkin

CEO and co-Founder


My friends and family all think I'm a workaholic, but I say I'm just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice. Investor Disclosures: https://bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.

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Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice. https://Bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

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