You’ve Lost Your Job. Now What?
We’re several months into this pandemic, and some companies are having to make some tough decisions. If you have been impacted by a recent job loss or cut in pay, you are not alone. This is a scary time with so much uncertainty. Our Des Moines Financial Advisors have created a video series to help you Navigate Your Finances Through Uncertainty. We also want you to know there are several steps you can take to get through this and be stronger on the other side.
#1 File for unemployment.
You’re probably reeling after the unexpected loss of your job, and you may be reluctant to apply for unemployment benefits. Don’t be. That’s what it’s there for. You’ve been paying taxes and now you need to collect. Most states offer 26 weeks of unemployment benefits.
#2 Health insurance.
This is essential, especially right now. Look into COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). It gives you the right to continue using your employer’s insurance for a period of time after termination. If you have a spouse, you may be able to shift coverage to their employer’s plan.
#3 What to do with your 401(k)?
A previous employer will often allow an employee to maintain the funds in the 401(k), and there may be benefits to that course of action. It may also be beneficial to shift 401(k) funds into an IRA to avoid any penalty taxes. Now, the CARES Act is waiving that customary penalty for early withdrawal of retirement funds if you can show you’ve been financially impacted by the pandemic. The 10% penalty for withdrawal before age 59 1/2 is waived for distributions up to $100,000. If you’ve lost your job and you’re concerned about living expenses, this may be an option. We recommend you speak with your financial advisor about your options and your particular situation.
#4 Revise your budget.
Focus on those areas that matter most: food, utilities, shelter, and transportation. Cut out any other unnecessary expenses: streaming services, eating out, and extra grocery trips. Pay the minimum amount on any debts owed, if needed. Focus on the essential things you need to live. New to making a budget? Our How To Budget blog post is a good place to start!
#5 Can you make any money now?
Do you have any immediate prospects for new positions in your chosen field? If not, maybe you need to look elsewhere just for a little while. Certain retail positions are hot right now (think grocery stores, Costco, Target). Delivery drivers are in great need as more Americans rely on online shopping. The health field is booming, and don’t be dismayed if you don’t have a medical background. Receptionists, admins, and other positions are needed too. Technology companies are also hiring right now, and cleaning services are in extremely high demand! It may require you to think outside of your normal box and try a position you wouldn’t normally have considered.
#6 This too shall pass.
Give yourself some grace and take a deep breath. We’ve all collectively been through the wringer this year, and you’ve just been handed another tough challenge. You will get through this. Spend some time thinking about what you want to do. Network and connect with friends through technology and see what pops up. You have what it takes to succeed.
A job loss is tough to take and our team of Des Moines Financial Advisors is here for you. If you need to discuss next steps and devise a plan to weather this financial challenge, we’re here to listen and walk with you on this next journey. Contact us or give us a call today at (515) 327-1020.