By Joel Johnson
When companies announce a round of layoffs or plans to downsize, often due to a merger or sale, employees face unexpected challenges and unsettling financial uncertainties. A series of basic yet critical questions can help to navigate the doubts and fears, and chart a confident course forward.
Do I need to find another job?
This is a pivotal question. Begin answering it by developing a budget and examining how long your savings are going to last. You may choose to work for any number of reasons, but if you’d rather not, you need to determine if you can afford not to. Some people plan to work to age 65 or 70 and are suddenly offered a retirement package or are forced out at age 61 or 62. Can you afford to retire earlier than you had planned? What is your nest egg; what income will you have coming in? You may be in better financial shape than you think, but you need to find out before deciding whether finding a new job is optional or necessary.
Should I collect unemployment?
Yes, definitely. There is often misplaced guilt around collecting unemployment, frequently emanating from an individual’s upbringing. Get past the guilt. Unemployment is a fund that your employer paid into – and it is there for you if you are unemployed. You should not feel guilty. You should not hesitate to collect the benefits that you are entitled to. There is no good reason not to collect unemployment insurance payments when you are laid off or unemployed.
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