As we get deeper into the calendar year of 2018, bankruptcies are at an all-time high for the retail sector. In fact, in 2018 store closing are expected to be up 30% and cross over 10,000 retail stores that will close this year. There isn’t a person you run across today who won’t admit that online companies are killing brick and mortar. Even if your company says they will reorganize their debt and not officially lay everyone off, it’s probably time you make some smart financial moves now to get your personal financial plan in place.
- Make sure you take care of all of your health items- Health insurance is one of the biggest things to be thinking about if your company is filing bankruptcy. What you want to understand is what will be happening with your company benefits. If you do lose your job, do you understand the COBRA rules and the costs? Do you understand what the cost would be if you have to get your own individual insurance? Most importantly, if you feel that the hatchet may be coming, one of the things that you should absolutely do is to take care of all your doctor dental appointments especially if you have met the yearly deductible.
- Are any of my benefits portable? If your employer offers them now, and you have benefits including life insurance or disability insurance, you should call your benefits or human resources department and find out which benefits are portable. By portability, I mean having the ability to transfer a group plan into something that’s more individual which you will pay for on your own. Many employees never research portability of benefits until it is too late. No matter what the cost is of these portable benefits, you want to be able to have comparable numbers should you purchase this on your own.
- What happens to your investment plans at work? Let’s say that you have programs such as stock options or the company is contributing money into a retirement plan, you will want to research all of this to understand what happens under a bankruptcy. Will your stock options or 401(k) plans be immediately vested? Do you have a certain period of time you can exercise your stock options, or are there other deferred compensation plans that may affect your tax situation differently? Will you potentially be getting severance? It is important to check in with company policies to find out these items.
- Make sure that you’ve got your resume ready– You should always be working on is having a copy of a current resume available. Should your company decide to completely layoff its workforce, you’ll need to get your ducks in a row, so your family doesn’t have a gap in income. In a tight job market, a good resume versus a bad resume may separate the number of interviews that you have for your next position.
- Don’t get prior management upset– In the game of business, it’s always going to be a nine-inning game versus a one inning game. You never know how a former colleague or boss can help you or hurt you. You want to make sure that you don’t upset former employers because the merry go round will come around again. You never know what’s going to hit you in the future. So just make sure that you leave on positive terms.
You can’t predict when a company bankruptcy will exactly happen, so the best you can do is to get prepared. We hope this never happens to you and you never have to consider looking for a job if you get laid off for your company, but you never know especially in the retail sector. These are just a few tips from us to make sure that you get yourself prepared just in case something happens down the road.
Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc.
Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.
Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.