Reducing The Stress of a Job Loss

Job Loss is Stressful and Complicated

Because my practice has morphed these last years from helping families in divorce to helping those in any major transition (getting married, losing a spouse, etc.), I see a lot of job loss.  It can happen so fast and be completely unexpected. What to tackle first?

Typically, when you are walked from an employer, they are going to send you home with some paperwork or perform an exit interview on-site.  In high times of stress, one's brain cannot focus and concentrate.  Listen to your exit interview, take your paperwork and go home.  Please do not sign anything until you have had a chance to review it.  You do not need the stress and pressure of the HR Director peering over you and the immediate sense of shock of losing employment to make major decisions.

Instead, write down your questions, organize your thoughts and call HR later.  

HEALTH INSURANCE

We get a lot of questions about about health insurance.  Heck, I know many people that go to work only to obtain health insurance for their family.  This is a major concern. 

COBRA

By 1986 law, COBRA gives employees the right to continue coverage at the group premium rates. Typically, it is 100% of the premium (which might have been partially covered by the employer) and a 2% administration fee.  This is a viable option and can provide consistent coverage for a family while other options are researched.  The employer will send over coverage termination information and your insurance provider within 2 weeks will send you COBRA continuation options via the mail.

Healthcare.gov

Outside of open enrollment, one can obtain coverage due to job-loss.  This is important to research while exploring COBRA options.  It might be less expensive to obtain independent insurance or move to a short-term coverage policy rather than pay your COBRA premiums.  I have researched this enough times with clients to know that every one family is different.  

For example, a family with young children and frequent trips to the doctor, might decide to it advantageous to maintain consistency of coverage through COBRA.  For a single person with minor health issues, a short-term medical policy through healthcare.gov can be significant savings.  

I recently read a Motley Fool article that advised to research, research and do more research.  Compare plans, check prices, and check doctor participation depending on your attachment to your physician.

Make a list of the medications you take and what they'll cost under various plans. List services you expect to need, too, such as visits to mental health counselors. Then try to estimate how much each candidate plan will cost you. Don't be afraid of high-deductible plans. If you're not likely to spend a lot on healthcare, they offer a good way to keep costs down. (Source: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/06/04/read-this-before-you-buy-health-insurance.aspx)

BUDGET

We say we are going to analyze our spending but let's face it, we get busy.  This is the time now to put that thought to action.  Sit down and list out all known expenses.  I like to use receipts and an Excel spreadsheet - a legal pad will do!  Take some time to get a handle on what needs to be paid and how you can address your imminent bills. 

What is not acceptable is ignoring it.  You cannot ignore your bills because you feel bad.  They don't care.  You can control your spending and your stress will reduce, the more your stay on top of it.  If there are small bills that can wait to be paid, call the company and ask for small payment plan or an extension while you sort things out.

GET ORGANIZED

You are already disciplined.  You got up every day, got ready and went to work.  Continue to do so.  Work on your resume, research new job opportunities ad treat it like your full-time job.  I see the most success and the least down time with people that have a plan. 

Get up, get ready, research, submit resumes, make calls, and have coffee with people who can help you in your field.  You will be shocked at how much time it takes to get your next awesome role.  It needs your time, dedication and attention.

GET SUPPORT

There is no shame in losing a job.  It happens!  Talk to your friends, arrange to do things to keep you occupied (hikes, movie rentals, pot lucks) that do not strain your budget.  Seek support and ask for help.  Your friends want to help but they do not know how and they cannot read your mind.  

The more you can prepare for emergency, the better (like with an emergency savings account) but hey, this is life! and $h1t happens.  Breathe and know that you can do this, get better and succeed in another role wherever you may land.

Sources:
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/faqs/cobra-continuation-health-coverage-compliance;
https://www.healthcare.gov/;
 

 

401(k) Fees: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

401(k) Fees: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

While the 401(k) plan has been around for decades, we are just now starting to see the cycle of this strategy.

Most people know that if you save in a 401(k) plan, you're able to deduct what you put into it on your income taxes. If you put $18,000 total a year into your 401(k) and you make $78,000 a year, then only $60,000 a year of your income is taxable.

However, what people don't talk about is how 401(k) plans are constructed, charged and the responsibility of the employer in managing those plans.

The Uncertain Future of 529 Plans

The Uncertain Future of 529 Plans

President Obama recently tried to hijack 529 plans and go back on the popular benefits.

529 plans, named for their section in the Internal Revenue Code, allow people to save after-tax dollars and come in different varieties.

An employee can place a percentage of their income into a 529 plan, which grows tax-deferred and comes out tax-free, as long as the money is being used for legitimate college costs...

Prenuptial Agreements - Why the Long Face?

Prenuptial Agreements - Why the Long Face?

The value in setting up a prenuptial negotiation is that both people can lay out what really matters to them from a financial standpoint.

With various forms of insurance, we prepare ourselves and our families for the worst of circumstances. Prenuptial agreements can also be a helpful tool to prepare people for another life-changing event: divorce or happily staying married. No one plans on getting divorced before they marry, but isn’t it wise to be prepared? If you do not get divorced, it really does not matter anyway.

$99/Hour Mediation Service Aims to Serve Families

$99/Hour Mediation Service Aims to Serve Families

For parties seeking an alternative route for divorce, mediation is the best option. However, the high price tag associated with mediation can create a roadblock. I recently had the opportunity to meet with Lilliana Real, a Mediator I strongly recommend to my clients and colleagues. We had a candid discussion as to why she is launching this service and why it is so needed in our community.

Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I am a family attorney for the past 9 years and I have been a Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator for the past 5 years, since 2009.

Year in Review and a Look Ahead

Year in Review and a Look Ahead

Each winter, I spend a lot of time doing what we call practice management. Before I delve into the components of this, I want to thank you for all the support you have given us this last year. Many things have happened in 2014 -- we have updated our business name, rebranded the firm, launched blogging and social media campaigns, changed registrations, created a new website and changed custodian firms where we hold our clients’ investments.

With these new practices and measures in place, we are certain that 2015 will be our best year yet. We are looking forward to helping you this year and for many after. I’d like to touch on several parts of my practice management for 2015.

Strada’s Fiduciary Oath - So what?

Strada’s Fiduciary Oath  - So what?

Not a month goes by, when I open an industry magazine, such as Investment News or Financial Planning, and find articles asking the same three questions: 1. What is a fiduciary? 2. Who is a fiduciary? and 3. Who claims to be one?  

There is so much internal churn about how we, as investment professionals, call ourselves, present ourselves and where our interests align – brokers, advisors, financial planners and wealth manager. However, the public lacks understanding of these various terms. After all, do you know what all these "professional titles" mean?

Who Is an Advisory?

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