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What Issues Should I Consider If I Lose My Job?

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Clients sometimes find themselves in the position of losing their job. In today’s economic uncertainty, business closures and layoffs are increasingly common. The loss of a job can cause serious stress for our clients, personally and financially. To help guide our clients through a disruption in employment, we’ve created the checklist “What Issues Should I Consider If I Lose my Job?”


In this checklist, we cover a number of issues to consider when clients are facing unemployment, including:

  • Severance options, if any are offered

  • Employer benefits, including the continuation of health insurance, sick pay, etc.

  • Eligibility for unemployment benefits

  • Budget adjustments

  • Health insurance options

  • Employer-sponsored retirement accounts, stock plans, and other benefits

  • Income tax considerations

  • Retirement or future employment options

This is a comprehensive checklist of the financial issues that clients need to consider surrounding a job loss.

In today's uncertain economic climate, the prospect of losing a job is a challenging reality that many individuals face. Job losses can bring about personal and financial stress, making it crucial to have a well-thought-out plan in place. To help guide you through this difficult transition, we have created a comprehensive checklist that covers various essential considerations. In this blog post, we will discuss severance options, employer benefits, unemployment benefits, budget adjustments, health insurance options, retirement accounts, income tax considerations, and future employment opportunities. By addressing these factors proactively, you can better navigate the challenging period of job loss and ensure financial stability.

  1. Assessing Cash Flow: Before losing your job, it is essential to bolster your emergency fund and reserves. Evaluate your flexible spending account and utilize the funds before you become unemployed. Determine if you are entitled to any compensation, such as back pay, sick pay, vacation pay, or a severance package. Understanding your cash flow situation is crucial for effective financial planning.

  2. Unemployment Benefits: Depending on your termination circumstances, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Research the eligibility criteria and duration of benefits in your state. Note any extensions or enhanced benefits that may be available during your unemployment period.

  3. Budget Adjustment: Review your budget immediately and identify areas where you can reduce spending, especially discretionary expenses. Cancel unused subscriptions and identify ways to cut costs. Consider contacting your creditors to discuss the possibility of reducing or deferring payments during your job transition.

  4. Health Insurance Options: Losing your job often means losing health insurance coverage. Explore options such as COBRA, which allows you to continue your previous employer's health insurance coverage for a limited period. Additionally, check if your spouse's employer offers health insurance that you can join. Evaluate the health insurance marketplace and consider enrolling in a plan if necessary.

  5. Managing Assets and Debt: If you have outstanding debt, communicate with your lenders to explain your situation. They may offer short-term hardship programs or flexible payment options. Assess your retirement accounts with your former employer and understand the loan repayment rules. Avoid the common mistake of leaving an outstanding loan when leaving your employer, as it can lead to significant tax consequences.

  6. Tax Planning: Collaborate with a CPA to engage in proactive tax planning. Explore options such as Roth conversions during low-income tax years or selling taxable investments at a lower capital gains tax rate. Determine if you qualify for any tax credits or deductions based on your changed circumstances, such as eligibility for premium assistance tax credits.

  7. Career Planning: In addition to managing immediate financial concerns, consider your long-term career plan. Understand any non-solicitation or non-compete agreements you may have and how they may impact your job search. Take advantage of any outplacement services offered by your former employer and update your contact information within your professional network to enhance your job prospects.

While losing a job is never easy, having a well-structured plan in place can alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty that comes with it. By following this comprehensive checklist, you can address crucial financial considerations, such as cash flow, health insurance, retirement accounts, and tax planning. Remember that handling challenging situations with resilience and strategic planning is key to overcoming adversity. With the right approach, you can navigate job loss and lay the foundation for a successful future.

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