What Should You Do with Your 401k After a Layoff

By Nancy Opiela, Monster Contributing Writer

vbnIf you’re among the millions of people who have lost their jobs since the recession started in December 2007, you’re facing some daunting financial questions. One may be: What should I do with my 401k?

While raiding your 401k to pad your bank account during your time of transition may seem appealing, doing so could sabotage your chances of a financially secure retirement. Generally, if you tap your 401k account before age 59½, you’re subject both to ordinary income taxes and a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. However, if you lose your job and are 55 or older, most plans allow you to access your funds without an early withdrawal penalty, but you’ll still owe taxes and forfeit what could be decades more of tax-deferred growth.

Check with your 401k plan administrator to determine how to keep your retirement nest egg intact. Generally, you have three choices, each with pros and cons: You can leave your 401k plan with your former employer, roll over your account into an individual retirement account (IRA) or transfer your old 401k into a new company’s plan.

Option 1: Leave Your 401k

The Layoff Survival Kit

phkThis article offers general information on legal and financial matters relating to employment. For specific information relating to your situation, please consult an attorney, financial planner or appropriate government agency.

Now that you’ve lost your job, you need to hurry up and find a new one, right? Wrong. You’ve got to buck up and tie up loose ends with your ex-employer in order to secure your finances and insure your health. Add these items to your to-do list for your first week out of work.

Salary and Accrued Vacation Time

Hopefully, as you walked out the door with that box full of personal possessions, your boss slipped a check in your pocket that covered your salary through the last day, pay for unused vacation and so on. But what can you do if your former employer can’t — or won’t — pay you in full?

First, be sure you and your ex are on the same page regarding what you are owed. Contact the human resources director and synchronize your records. Then call your state labor board and make sure you understand what the law mandates.

Look for Work in Troubled Times

Look for Work in Troubled TimesIt’s hard enough to job hunt in a thriving economy, but now, even the heartiest job seeker may be inclined to roll over and catch a few more z’s rather than hit the streets.

Don’t quit looking before you start. Job hunting requires you to pull out all the stops and take the basics to a new level. You truly have to work it.

Ironically, the challenge of a tighter job market may work for many job seekers by forcing them to think of new approaches. It all boils down to attitude, stresses executive recruiter Diane Barowsky, president of Barowsky Search Partners Ltd. in Olympia Fields, Illinois. “We underestimate the importance of that positive attitude, but that’s what gets you through the day,” she says.

Gain confidence by asking yourself, “What do I have to lose?”

“It’s easier to take a risk and call that intimidating contact when you feel [this way],” says Barowsky. “On the flip side, when things are going well, you don’t need to do anything to keep your job going.”

Barowsky also offers the following job search advice:

Expand Your Search

If you’re a general administrative

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One of the most important benefits of being a government employee is job stability. Because of the frequent economic turmoil that the world is experiencing today, layoffs have become a common event in the private sector. Layoffs are a rare occurrence for government employees, regardless of the state of the country’s economy.
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Pointers for Job Hunters in Italy

Are you thinking of working in Italy? Let’s give you a glimpse of what’s there to expect in that part of the globe!

Tips for Job Hunters

English-teaching jobs are very popular for foreigners in Italy, but if you would like to explore other fields, here are some pointers to guide you:

> Try to sound confident in yourself and the skills you have to offer.

> Have your CV translated to Italian. If you do not know that much Italian, it would be worth the expense to hire a professional translator.

> Be truthful about your Italian language skills as you will surely be tested by potential employers at the interview.

> Check out local and regional newspaper job listings and visit companies personally. People typically recall faces more than they remember names. Being able to make a personal impression on potential employers can offer you benefits in the long run.

> As well, ensure that all your university degrees and certificates have been properly translated to Italian. This will demonstrate your willingness to blend in with the Italian culture, as well as your sincere desire to land work.

> Majority of

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2. Widen your search.
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By exploring different avenues, you can gain

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The hybrid skills companies are requesting were once isolated to a specific department or role, such as social media skills as part of the responsibilities of human resources and marketing. But in fact, 71 percent of in-demand skills are required across two or more job categories, according to analysis by Bentley University and labor market analytics firm Burning Glass, which identified skills with the highest demand. This reinforces the cross-functional need and that employees “must demonstrate deeper and broader competencies to be marketable” said Susan Brennan, associate vice president of university career services at Bentley University, in an interview with Fast Company

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[See: How to Quit Your Job Like a Class Act.]

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