We’ve been spending a lot of time at Create & Cultivate HQ discussing how we can best show up for and support our community during this uncertain time. Community is at our core, and connecting with others through one-of-a-kind experiences is what we love to do. While the world has changed, our mission has not. We’re committed to helping women create and cultivate the career of their dreams, which is why we’re proud to announce our new Ask an Expert series. We’re hosting discussions with experts, mentors, and influencers daily at 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm PST on Instagram Live to cure your craving for community and bring you the expert advice you’ve come to know and love from C&C. Follow Create & Cultivate on Instagram, check out our Ask an Expert highlight reel for the latest schedule, and hit the countdown to get a reminder so you don’t miss out!
It happened. It’s not a drill. And you most certainly aren’t happy. Why would you be though? You were part of a major layoff, a restructuring, or some other term your company arbitrarily chose to deliver bad news, and now you are wondering what to do. You don’t want to spend time on a government web page endlessly scrolling for answers on unemployment, and you definitely don’t want to breach the subject with your friends or family yet.
That is exactly why Kathy Entwistle, the senior vice president of wealth management at UBS Financial Services Inc., has outlined clear, actionable steps for you to take because while it is always acceptable to ask your network for help, a little preliminary research can bring a sense of independence and the power to stay positive and keep moving forward. Consider this your go-to source for handling all things personal and financial wellness for the next 30 days.
Find your best Spotify playlist, give yourself a hug, and let’s get to planning your next act!
Put Yourself First
Take some time to process the fact that your day-to-day life has changed. Not only is social distancing starving the human condition for connectivity and engagement, but your routine and purpose will have to be redirected, too. Find time over the next few days to look inside, reflect, pause, and even try meditating if this is not something you normally do. There are many great mediation apps, and most are offering free trials.
Set Your Goals and Objectives
Whether you choose meditation or some other form of internal reflection, one important guidepost in your checklist and planning will be your purpose and intention. Setting an intention as to your schedule, routine, and plan to get yourself back on track will be crucial. The less intentional you are about your goals and objectives, the less effective you will be in pursuing them.
Let’s start with your career intention and work our way to your financial intention. LinkedIn just became your new best friend (or same old friend for some who use it often). Reaching out through messaging, connections, and coffee breaks will provide exposure to the people who can provide proper guidance, advice, and possibly even the interview you wanted all along.
A great book to read to help guide you on your new career path is called, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” It will give you some great questions to ask yourself when assessing your career intention, and possibly, a new career path.
Assess Your Resume
Find time to recraft your resume and ways to be a storyteller rather than a fact board. Make sure your resume tells your authentic story and is crafted to the right target audience for jobs you will now be applying to. Let’s not forget; your current connections at your company are extremely valuable. Reach out to both those who have been laid off and those who haven’t, but you know well. Their recommendations and willingness to help you on your next path are not to be overlooked!
Review Your Financial Plan
You want to first reacquaint and understand where you stand financially. How much you have, how much you need, and where you can pull cash flow from. Is it your portfolio kicking off dividends or coupons from stocks and bonds? Do you have an emergency fund with three to six months of easily accessible funds? Do you have anyone who is depending on you?
Make sure to take a look at your credit card statements or activity online. This will tell you where you might be able to cut costs, like shopping for clothes online or ordering takeout. Just as you would block off time on your schedule for meetings, block out time on your schedule to review your plan, we might even suggest you accompany it with a matcha or your favorite cold brew.
Review Your Severance
The standard is two weeks of severance for every year you have worked at the company, but that is not mandatory. Make sure you take the time to understand what they are offering you, you are even permitted to try and negotiate.
Also, check to see about your health insurance coverage. Will your employer be providing Cobra coverage and for how long? If you have a partner or spouse, make sure to account for yourself on their benefits when appropriate.
Not everyone’s package will be the same, so focus your energy on yourself and what you can control. While we are still in the assessment stage, we are already moving forward. Keep that playlist rolling!
Review Your Debt
If you have credit card, auto loan, or student debt, now might be the time to conserve and preserve your cash. Don’t pay anything other than the minimum until you get back on your feet and are in a better position to get back on track and put together a plan to reduce your debt. These are debts that you will want to be able to eliminate once you have your cash flow back in place and you have an emergency fund set aside.
Map Out a Savings Strategy
It might seem that much more difficult to worry about your day-to-day expenses let alone remember to stash away some for later, but it is important to keep saving, even if you have to decrease your contributions to your savings account. Ideally, you would not be selling any of your investments to fund your day-to-day expenses so you can continue to let your nest egg grow, however, we realize that you might need to sell some investments to get by.
Come Up With a Selling Strategy
You will want to be aware of any tax impacts of selling investments with unrealized gains. Unrealized gains are taxed at capital gains, instead of your higher ordinary income rates, and could cause an even larger burden if you don’t have the funds to pay the taxes. You will also want to keep in mind your long term investment strategy. If the investment has good prospects for future return or it is an investment providing cash flow, you might want to rethink selling that position just for liquidity.
Think about borrowing, as long as the rate of return will outmatch the rate of borrowing and opportunity costs. For example, rather than selling your investments to access cash, think about keeping your long term investment strategy running and borrowing for short term liquidity. When you get back on your feet, you will be happy to see your nest egg was compounding for a longer time and without any tax drag or reduction in size.
Money can be stressful. Not having money can be very stressful. Taking the time to understand your financial picture and take the steps necessary to create a financial roadmap will help you feel more in control and take the uncertainty out of your future financial picture.
About the Expert: Kathy Entwistle is the senior vice president of wealth management at UBS Financial Services Inc., providing straightforward financial advice tailored to the life you lead. Kathy has been in the financial services industry for more than 25 years. A former stay at home mom who donated her time teaching local financial classes to women, she rose to the heights of being named a “Forbes America’s Top Women Wealth Advisor” in 2017 and 2018. As a seasoned multigenerational practice within UBS Private Wealth Management, Kathy, along with her son and the rest of her team, has guided generations of sophisticated families as well as senior executives and entrepreneurs through complex financial challenges.