IMPORTANT STEPS IF YOU GET LAID-OFF

After throwing yourself a brief pity-party; remind yourself, this didn’t happenbecause of your actions.  You were not at fault, your employer’s situation resulted in the lay-off.  Get ahold of your emotions and focus on what you need to do next.  

Is This Temporary Or Permanent

Determine if this is temporary.  Maybe your employer has had to lay-off employees due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but anticipates bringing everyone back over the next few months.  This potentially short term scenario will make an impact on your plans, however, it is understandable and can be dealt with more easily.  If your employer was showing financial strains prior to the pandemic, this would lead a person to believe the lay-off may have long term affects as potentially significant restructuring of the company may need to occur.    

Before You Walk Out The Door  

Ask for your final paycheck.  You need money, not the stress of waiting for a check in the mail or direct deposit two weeks from now.  Inquire about severance pay and any unpaid sick leave.  Ask if your healthcare benefits will be extended for a period of time.  If not, you may be eligible for COBRA continuation coverage.  If your employer had 20 or more employees COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) allows you to pay out of pocket to maintain your employer healthcare insurance for up to 18 months.  (Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA) 2020).  Last but certainly not least, you are feeling vulnerable, but your employer is too.  Now is the time to ask for a letter of reference.  Request the letter includes your availability is due to a company lay-off.      

File For Unemployment

Unemployment requirements vary from State to State.  If you are a  California resident visit https://edd.ca.gov/unemployment/ where you can find “COVID-19 Temporary Exceptions” and “Requirements to File a Claim”.  (Department,File for Unemployment – Overview)  While you were working, you paid into unemployment.  Now it is time to file and receive this important financial support. 

Job Market Readiness

You have now put some important administrative tasks behind you.  Focus can now be switch to searching for new employment opportunities.  This may be an ideal time to consider, research, and possibly acquire new education allowing you to take on a different role within your profession or make a total career change.  You have options.  Polish up your resume and don’t forget a target specific cover letter for each company where you apply.  Your resume should include details of your recent employment.  Hopefully your previous employer provided a glowing letter of recommendation and has already addressed the issue that you were laid-off.   If this is the case, it would not be necessary to provide a description of the circumstances of your lay-off.   Your former employer has taken care of this for you.  If you were not able to obtain a letter, you can simply include a quick one sentence statement in a cover letter explaining why you are looking for work.  An example, “Due to the impact of Covid-19, I was laid-off at XYZ company and am now seeking employment with your company ABC”.  Keep it clean and simple.  Remember to update your LinkedIn profile and submit your resume on other job posting sites.   

Address Your Finances

  1. If you do not already established good budgeting practices, now is the time.  It will be important to understand the difference between fixed and variable expenses and which expenses are necessary verses discretionary.  Fixed expenses include rent or mortgage.  You know your rent/mortgage costs so much per month.  However, gas would be considered a variable expense.  Some months you drive a lot and others not so much.  Necessary expenses are food and shelter.  Discretionary expenses include entertainment.  Be realistic with cash outflow.  Do you need or do you want those new shoes for a job interview?  This is not the time to indulge in retail therapy.   
  2. You have options regarding your former employer’s retirement plan.  You can take a lump sum payment, rollover your account to an IRA or Roth IRA, and you may have the choice of leaving it in your current plan.  If you find employment right away, you can transfer the old account to your new employer plan.  “WARNING! If you take a “lump-sum distribution” instead of rolling your retirement savings account over to an IRA or a new employer’s plan, you will have to pay income taxes on the money.” (Bennash, 2014)  Talk with a financial advisor or tax professional who can help you assess your best strategy.      

Conclusion

Breathe deep.  Determine if this lay-off is temporary or permanent.  A lot will hinge on this distinction.  Before you leave, be sure to ask for all benefits due.  Any extra cash and healthcare protection may be very important over time and.  Don’t be bashful.  File and receive unemployment benefits.  Prepare to market yourself.  Update your resume, generate customized cover letters for each employment outreach, put yourself out there on LinkedIn and employment platforms.  Address your financial position.  Be realistic with your budget requirements and trim out the fat (discretionary spending).  Seek professional advice regarding your previous employer’s retirement plan.  

About the Author

My name is Marianne Martini Nolte and I’m a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner.  I provide financial planning services for individuals, families, and small business owners.  In particular, I have a passion for working with women in transition, new investors just starting on their path to financial independence, and those seeking  special needs planning.  For more in depth information, please contact me at my firm, Imagine Financial Services www.imaginefinancialservices.com  

Reference

Bennash. (2014, November 03). What happens if I get fired or laid off? Retrieved July 07, 2020, from https://www.narpp.org/fiacademy/what-happens-if-i-get-fired-or-laid-off

Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA). (n.d.). Retrieved July 07, 2020, from https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans/cobra

Department, E. (n.d.). File for Unemployment – Overview. Retrieved July 07, 2020, from https://edd.ca.gov/unemployment/

The opinions expressed in this newsletter (article) are for general information only and are 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. The views expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by PlanMember Securities Corporation. Material presented is believed to be from a reliable sources and PSEC makes no representation as to accuracy or completeness. 

Representative is registered with and offers only securities and advisory services through PlanMember Securities Corporation (PSEC), a registered broker/dealer, investment advisor and member FINRA/SIPC. 6187 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria, CA. 93013, (800) 874-6910. Imagine Financial Services and PlanMember Securities Corporation are independently owned and operated companies. PlanMember is not responsible or liable for ancillary products or services offered by Imagine Financial Services or this representative.  Marianne Martini Nolte, CA Insurance Lic #0J02045.  

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