Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Layoff Survival Guide: Back to work! September 20, 2009

Filed under: Careers,Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 3:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

So, let’s say you’ve gotten a job offer.  Congratulations!  But now you may be wondering what to do about all those changes you had to deal with when you got laid off.  What do you do about your health insurance coverage now?  And how do you stop collecting unemployment?  What are all the things you have to deal with when you’re starting a new job?

A friend of mine asked me to write about this subject.  Well, one friend complained that my Layoff Survival Guide was too depressing, so my other friend (who is still looking for a new job) suggested this would be a happy twist to the posts.

So, with my first post, I talked about 401(k)s.  At your new job, you’ll likely be given the option to enroll in their 401(k) program (or similar program for non-profits, government jobs, and the like).  Sometimes you’ll have to wait to enroll, or wait for them to match or somehow contribute to your account.  I recommend signing up for a 401(k).  If they provide a matching contribution, I would strongly encourage you to sign up.  There are usually a few different options for funds you can invest in.  Don’t let that part intimidate you!  If you’re not sure, there’s often someone you can call at  the company running your 401(k) (or even in you HR department)  that can give you some general guidance.  And while I’m not a certified financial adviser, I would suggest you look into a “life cycle fund”, one that invests in funds that are more aggressive if you’re not retiring for many decades, and become more conservative as you get closer to retirement.  That’s what I’m doing with my IRAs.  For my 401(k), I’ve tried to make a diversified portfolio with assorted styles of funds, and only looking at the funds with low or no expense ratio.

Next I told you about COBRA and transitioning your healthcare coverage.  Now that you’re at a new job, you’ll likely have access to a discounted (or free) health insurance program (depending on what your company offers).  If the new insurance available is, in your opinion, better (cost-wise, or cover-wise, or other factors important to you) than what you’d been on while unemployed, you should sign up!  Confirm that your new health insurance is officially started, then get in touch with your former company’s HR person in charge of health insurance, and/or your previous insurance company, and let them know that you’re on a new plan.

Finally, I discussed collecting unemployment.  At least for me, in Massachusetts, I didn’t have to call to cancel.  I just stopped filing claims.  Hopefully, that’s what I was supposed to do!  I had asked a friend what she did when she got a new job, and she said she did the same thing.  It may differ from state to state, so check in with your state’s Office of Labor to confirm.

Hopefully this has given you a good idea of what you can look forward to once you get a new job.  As always, feel free to comment or email me if you have any questions.

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3 Responses to “Layoff Survival Guide: Back to work!”

  1. Being in Canada seems so much easier than being in the States, with the lack of paperwork and healthcare coverage BS…

    Still, we have our cons, but at least after reading your blog & others, I am starting to get the hang of the terms 🙂 COBRA in particular.

    Thanks for coming by the blog!

  2. Is a “life cycle fund” and a “target date fund” the same thing? Target funds have a certain retirement year and they change their stratgey as they get closer to retirement. These target funds took a beating in the recession because they didn’t become as conservative as they should’ve become. Right now they are under a senate inquiry.

    http://www.usnews.com/money/blogs/Fund-Observer/2009/10/30/target-date-funds-go-under-the-microscope.html

    • Stephanie Says:

      I always considered them the same thing. The article you shared also seems to use both names. I agree with the article in that most people just buy the funds and leave their money there…it’s a very passive technique, which could cause problems.

      Also, thanks for including me on your list of Female PF Bloggers!


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