It has been over 20 years since I received a notice that my position as Director of Finance was being terminated. A company takeover had fallen through, and cuts were underway. That news was devastating, and even now as I think back on it, I still get a sinking feeling.
During this pandemic, many people find themselves in a similar situation, faced with uncertainty and many questions. Once the initial shock subsides, there are a number of things that need to be addressed.
First, after filing for unemployment, you will need to evaluate your budget and financial position, as well as begin the job search.
Second, you will need to address your healthcare needs. If your company has over 20 employees, you will be eligible for COBRA healthcare benefits for up to 18 months. You should also investigate potentially less expensive options like joining a spouse’s health plan or shopping for coverage on the state or federal ACA exchange at healthcare.gov.
Third, review all of the options with your 401(k) or other company retirement plan. You basically have four options to consider:
- Leave the account with your company 401(k)
- Roll over the account to a new employer plan
- Roll the account over to an IRA
- Cash-out the retirement plan
These decisions are irrevocable, and it is important to understand the differences in fees, taxes, and risks associated with each one. Discuss your situation with a tax and financial advisor to determine which option is best for you.
The government provided some temporary relief in the CARES Act that was passed in March of 2020, and you need to be aware of how these rules could help you. We have helped our clients with these decisions for over 20 years and would be glad to discuss your situation with you in detail.
Although it may not seem like it now, there are great things ahead. In my case, I took the opportunity to start my own business and have been helping clients successfully chart a course to their financial future ever since.