Financial survival guide: What to do if you lose your job

Facing job layoffs is never an easy task. Miguel Reyna, a CPA and owner of Reyna CPAs PLLC in Dallas, says the best defense to a potential job joss is to build an emergency fund, pay off credit cards and 401(k) loans and cut discretionary spending. But if you’ve already been laid off, Reyna offers the following financial tips to endure the shaky economic climate:

  • Keep the cash flowing: Check unemployment benefits from your state and severance pay options from your employer. While looking for a new job, consider part-time work or borrow against a life insurance policy.
  • Reorganize: Plan on your new job search taking six months and budget accordingly. Negotiate with your creditors to lower interest rates or receive temporary deferments and review car insurance policies to increase deductibles or drop certain coverage.
  • Hold on to health insurance: Under COBRA, you and your family can remain covered by your company’s health insurance policy for up to 18 months or longer. Also consider converting your employer health plan to an individual plan or seek coverage through a professional association.
  • Beware of tax penalties: Participation in a retirement plan such as a 401(k) entitles you to all your contributions plus any vested portion of the company’s contributions. Avoid tax consequences by rolling over your 401(k) into an IRA within 60 days.

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