I Lost My Job – What About Health Insurance?

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

I received an email from a Savvy Ladies member today; a heartbreaking tale of how she had been laid off, and was now trying to figure out how to survive – and feed her two small children, as she is a single mom. One of the expenses she worried about was medical. I think any parent can relate to this: with children around, unless you have the proper insurance coverage, medical expenses tend to run the gamut. For those of you in the process of losing your jobs, here’s how to keep this aspect of your finances under control.

First of all, if you are still employed, make the most out of your insurance plan while you have it. Get all your routine checkups out of the way. If you use medications, take out as much as your insurance provider will allow. If you have been putting off procedures, now’s the time to have them done.

Once you do lose your job, know that you have options. Under COBRA rules, in most cases, your company must allow you to keep your insurance coverage for eighteen months, as long as you pay the full premium. While this is great news indeed, there is one drawback. The full premium can be quite a bit higher than the monthly payment you are used to, depending on your insurance plan and how much your employer has been contributing. Do your research – shop around, and request other quotes. You may be able to find a cheaper deal on your own, especially if you are eligible for a state run insurance program.

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

Job Loss – Now What?

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

We all know someone who lost his or her job last year. For my husband’s friend, though, it seemed to happen out of the blue – he is a news producer at a major news station. But with dwindling demand for advertising time, many stations are finding it difficult to cover the costs associated with local news. And so sixty people were advised in December that when the holidays were over, they would no longer be needed. The reason I am mentioning this is not to whine about the economy, but rather to share the story of how he coped – like a true role model for the millions of Americans in similar situations. If you are one of them, here’s what to do: 

  1. Be professional. Many people said “no way am I working during the holidays if this is how you thank me,” but not my husband’s friend. By continuing to prove himself until the end of his very last show, he scored himself a much better chance of being rehired when the economy comes back around.
  2. Lick your wounds – but don’t wallow in self-pity. Yes, losing your job is sheer misery, especially in this economy. Feel sorry for yourself for a day or two – then move on.
  3. Cut your spending – but give yourself a pat on the shoulder for the emergency fund you have set aside. In the past, you sacrificed things you wanted to save that money. Now it is paying you back by saving your life!
  4. Manifest and focus on your best-case scenario. Taken the right way, the loss of a job can be a golden opportunity to make positive changes in your life. Take some time to figure out what you want the future to bring, set goals, and get to work on fulfilling them.
  5. When you are unemployed, your job search becomes your profession. That means setting the alarm at your usual hour and spending a good eight hours browsing job sites, writing cover letters, sending out resumes, networking and attending interviews.
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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

Laid Off? How to Get Back on Track

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

I think most of us know someone who has lost his or her job recently. To me, this recession became a reality when a client called mid-afternoon (and mid-latte) yesterday to let me know her company had let her go. Now, being a long term Savvy Ladies devotee and subject to my continuous reminders, she has enough money stashed away to survive six months without income. But of course, she was still devastated. What did I think she should do?

“The most important thing to keep in mind,” I told her, “is that when you are unemployed, the job hunt becomes your job.” So stick to your pre-lay off routine, the only difference being that rather than hopping into your car (or the subway) in the morning, you sink down in front of your computer and get to work on those applications. If you keep at it, you will have a new job long before your emergency funding (or unemployment) runs out.

Of course, browsing job sites is not the only thing you should be doing. If you’ve been doing your networking duty, you should have a number of contacts you can get in touch with, just to let them know that if they hear of an opening, you are interested. Former colleagues, relatives, friends and college buddies can all come in handy when it comes to getting you back on your feet.

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

Creating a Safety Blanket in Case of a Lay-Off

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

I was recently on the Today Show talking about how to recession proof your finances when facing a layoff. Not the most upbeat interview. Not only is NBC covering this story but watching the evening news last night was depressing to say the least. It was all about lay-offs, a dwindling economy, and people losing their homes. As I am not the only one watching the news, many of my clients have been asking lately if there’s anything they can do to create a safety blanket, just in case the lay-off nightmare becomes a reality for them. Here’s my advice:

  1. If you haven’t already, create an emergency account with enough cash to keep you afloat for six months. This is advisable even in the best of economies -- but now more than ever. Give yourself plenty of room to get back on your feet, should disaster strike.
  2. Network. Even if you’re not actively seeking a new job, it never hurts to have the right contacts. Hand out business cards, stay in touch, and half your job hunt will be done already, should your company let you go.
  3. Don’t get stuck in a rut. The fact that you’ve had the same job for years and years so you’re excellent at it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take steps to boost your value on the job market. Sign up for a class, ask your boss if you can manage a new type of project, or learn that new software. Not only will your boss be impressed and work harder to keep you around, but the skills could score you both a higher salary and a shorter job search time if you do end up on the market. 
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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.