How to Prepare for Layoff

Today it was reported that the company my husband works for is laying-off all employees from its Mississippi plant and will now outsource their workers. Also, this includes laying-off 2 of its 5 managers. The date this will take place: December 19th (unfortunately, right before Christmas).

Now, we heard this would be happening but didn’t know when and if it was actually set in stone. Now we know it is true. The dominos are falling in effect. The word is out that my husband’s place of employment at the California plant is next. When? Do not know yet.

Fortunately, (we think) we hear that my husband’s stature with the company and its representatives are telling him he will not be let go when all this happens, here in California. But, we are not for sure. Luckily, my husband is in the guidelines to start receiving his retirement, if necessary. Of course, he will not reap the max benefits at this time, but it is there should we need to use it.

I know that we will be okay. But, I feel very sad for the people who are not okay. Many are friends of ours. It is very unfortunate.

So, I told Mr. SeaDog that it is time to buckle down ship and plan for a potential rough ride. We need to plan for a possible disruption in our financial flow. So, we know it’s always a good idea to plan ahead for potential financial emergencies before they strike. I wanted to share with you, my fellow readers, some tips to consider when you need to tie down the ship:

1. Establish an emergency fund. Set aside enough money to cover your basic living expenses for three to six months. This should give you the ability to pay your rent or mortgage, buy food and repay debts. Consider socking this money away in an online-only, high-yield money market account or a short-term certificate of deposit.

2. Live within your means. Try hard not to spend excessively on items and services you don’t truly need. This will make it even easier to build up that emergency fund once and for all.

3. Use credit cards with great caution. Especially if you have a hunch that a layoff might be looming, be extra careful with credit. A credit card can keep you in denial about your true financial situation. Accumulating debt will only add to your stress – and you don’t need any more stress, whether you lose your job or not.

4. Talk about money with your partner. Even when things are going well, it’s common for one partner to be completely unaware that the other partner has different financial priorities and goals. A layoff – or the specter of a layoff – can put the spotlight on such differences and lead to terrible fights. To avoid this, talk honestly and set goals together about how to cope in the coming weeks and months.

5. Tackle high-interest debt. Before a layoff ever strikes, make sure you’re not letting debt hang around for months on a high-interest credit card. Transfer that debt to cards with lower interest rates, or consider paying it off with money from a small closed-end loan from your bank or credit union. Then over the next three months or so, you can concentrate on paying back that lower-interest loan.

6. Network, network, network. Always make a point of getting to know as many people as you can in your line of work. By having plenty of friends and contacts in your industry, you’ll stand a better chance of finding work quickly if you lose your job.

7. Line up a line of credit while you’re still employed. If you own a home and you can see that a job loss might be coming, consider opening a home-equity line of credit and keeping it open. Don’t tap into the line of credit at all; just know that it’s there in case a real emergency hits. Some lenders – but not all – charge an annual maintenance fee in the $75 to $100 range for keeping a line of credit open, but that can be worth it for the peace-of-mind factor.

8. Pursue disability coverage before you lose your job. Personal disability coverage is an important thing to have – and it’s also important to secure coverage based on your current level of income. Apply for such coverage while your income is at its highest. This would involve supplementing the group coverage you may have through your job with individual coverage. If you buy additional coverage on your own, you can take it with you when you change jobs, and it will be tax-free. Comprehensive disability coverage can be very costly, but you can find accident-only disability policies for as little as $25 a month. At least you’d have that much coverage during a bout of unemployment; once you get back on your feet, you could make sure you have disability insurance that covers both accidents and illnesses.

9. Pursue higher education while you can. Do you work for a large company that offers a “Corporate U,” or for an employer that helps cover education costs at schools in your area? Tap into that resource so you can improve your skills and bolster your resume. Hundreds of corporate university classes have been accredited, meaning you could get college credit for them if you ever enroll in a degree program.

10. Investigate your health insurance policy. Be clear on what your health plan covers, and figure out how much it would cost to extend your employer’s group insurance coverage through the federal program COBRA. Be aware that you would have to pay both the employer and employee shares of the premiums – ouch – but at least you’d get to keep the same coverage.

11. Stay away from your 401(k). The possibility of losing your job is an excellent reason never to take out a 401(k) loan. You’ll need to pay it back before your last day at work. And don’t even think about tapping retirement savings if things get tough. Find another way to shore up your cash flow.

Well hopefully, no one will need to face such turmoil especially in times of such economical turmoil. But if you do, this list provides valuable tips in keeping your family afloat.

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5 thoughts on “How to Prepare for Layoff

  1. Budget Mama

    I’m sorry that your hubby’s job is going through this and I know it’s hard to see people you know have to deal with a layoff. I hope your husband stays safe.

    The tips your provided are great! I’m trying hard to live at or below my means now. It’s an adjustment, but it will be second nature in no time.

  2. Shtinkykat

    Thanks for the timely post. I, too, am facing a layoff in the next couple of weeks. Your tips are so much better than what the L.A. Times gave!

  3. Money Funk

    budget mama: least I know we will be okay if it does happen. I feel thankful for that. 🙂

    and if I think of any more tips, I’ll be sure to let you know!

    shtinkykat: I am sorry for the unfortunate circumstances, but I hope that you will be transition smoothly to your next adventure.
    And good luck with your parental situation!

  4. Money Funk

    ray: thanks for visiting MF! It really is devistating to know that during economic catastrophe the layoffs are taking place (cause-and-effect, of course). But, if anyone does happen to be laid off…hopefully, they will benefit from these great sites you provided (haven’t heard of them, checked them out, they’re great). Thanks!

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