Job Transition

When considering a new job or career change, you’ll need to take a hard look at how this will affect your personal finances. Some things to think about and compare, beyond basic salary differences, include:

  • Changes in commuting costs and time.
  • Differences in flextime and telecommuting policies.
  • Benefit packages offered by your current and prospective employers.
  • Differences in retirement savings plans, especially employer 401(k) matching.
  • Pension vesting requirements if either company has a pension plan.
  • Job security, seniority and opportunities for advancement.

If you do change employers, make sure you keep your 401(k) balance tax deferred with one of three options:

  • Open a new Rollover IRA.
  • Transfer your old 401(k) into your new employer's plan.
  • Leave the money where it is until you can withdraw it at age 59½.

There are specific rules you need to follow with each of these options to avoid losing a significant portion of your nest egg to taxes and penalties. Your First Midwest Financial Consultant can discuss all your options in detail, and help you navigate this often complicated transaction.

Call 800-241-1749 to get connected with a First Midwest Financial Consultant today.

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Be Prepared to Cope With Job Loss

If you are one of the millions who lost a job during the recent economic downturn, there are strategies that can help reduce the financial pain. Even if you‘re still employed, you may be wise to consider ways you can prepare yourself financially for the possibility of job loss, especially if you sense layoffs may be coming. In a worst-case scenario, advance planning may help cushion the blow. And if your job remains safe, you may have adopted better spending and saving habits in the process.

  • Hard as it may be, try to put aside at least three months’ worth of living expenses.
  • Pay down household debt you may be carrying, and avoid incurring any new debt.
  • Cut back on your discretionary spending, and defer major purchases if possible.
  • Consider applying for a home equity line of credit while you are still employed, then leave it alone. That way, you will have access to it in case you need it, and the interest rate will be lower than most credit cards.
  • Make dental and medical appointments while you still have coverage.

Call 800-241-1749 to get connected with a First Midwest Financial Consultant today.

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If You Do Lose Your Job

  • Take advantage of benefits such as state unemployment assistance, employer-provided outplacement services, and financial counseling.
  • If you get severance pay, try to set aside 35 percent to 40 percent for income taxes.
  • Apply for public assistance, such as food stamps, if you are eligible.
  • Communicate with your creditors to explain your job loss and request reduced payments or an extension of time to pay bills.
  • Maintain your health insurance coverage through COBRA if that option is available (ask your human resources representative for details).
  • Try not to cash in tax-deferred retirement plan assets to pay living expenses, to avoid taxes and penalties; if you have no other option, withdraw only what is truly needed.
  • Talk to your mortgage lender. You may be able to arrange a forbearance agreement that enables you to reduce your payments for a set period of time.
  • Consider working with a nonprofit credit counseling agency that can negotiate with creditors on your behalf.
  • Expenses related to your job-search may be tax-deductible, so be sure to keep careful records and file your receipts. Qualified expenses can include travel to interviews, meals and lodging, phone calls and faxes, postage, photocopies and printing, and fees charged by employment agencies.

Call 800-241-1749 to get connected with a First Midwest Financial Consultant today.

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