A Layoff Can Help You Create a Fool-Proof Financial Plan – Really

If you’ve recently been laid off, as someone shared in response to last week’s post, and your emotions are still raw, you may want to read this later. It may be hard to imagine, but in some cases a layoff can actually be a good thing for your personal finances. This is not as heretic as it may sound. The employment landscape has changed significantly in the last 40 years. Yet, our collective expectations around how we work in terms of the employer/employee relationship hasn’t really evolved to match today’s reality – on both sides of the equation. If it did, all employees would be emotionally and financially prepared for the possibility of a layoff. They’d have multiple streams of income. Or, at least have a “just-in-case” financial plan if conflicts of interest prevent you from having a side-hustle. Do you? If it did, all employers would realize you can only cost-cut your way to growth but so much. At some point, innovation is needed. Do you work at a company where ideas are embraced from all levels of the company; where failure is not avoided; where “innovation” isn’t a buzz word but rather it is seen as tool for broader, strategic goals? The unlikely reason a layoff can inspire a fool-proof financial plan is this: it can foster a fresh start and better way to manage your money. In three specific ways: Review the last twelve months of your banking and credit card statements. Not to beat yourself up about what you did or didn’t do prior to your layoff, but to isolate patterns of financial behavior and...

The Financial Choice That’s Most Important When You’ve Been Laid Off

Yesterday, a friend shared that she was laid off this week. Three weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal laid off approximately 100 staff – many of whom were personal finance journalists. Hmm… Recently, Microsoft announced it was laying off 7,800 additional (!) jobs. Layoffs are typically associated with tough economic times. But, our economy is steady! Even with this week’s weird concatenation of events (Greece’s debt crisis, China’s market meldown, and the NYSE’s three hour tech-outage), the U.S economy continues to grow – albeit slowly. And the “market” as measured by these key indices – Dow Jones Industrial Average; S&P 500; and Nasdaq – rallied to end the week in positive territory and not too far from their 52-week high. The reasons for the layoffs are as varied as the firms conducting them. For some, it is purely expense containment and reduction; for others, it is triggered by a needed shift in the company’s business and business model. Regardless of the reason, there is a person and family emotionally and financially affected by this decision to reduce staff. There is a person who now needs to work on plan B for their career and mostly likely their personal finances, too. Is this you? Have you recently been laid off? If so, you may feel tentative, anxious, short on confidence and may be even a little guilty. If this is a repeat layoff, the emotional scar of multiple layoffs may run deep. And you might be freaking out, mad that you have to start over (again) and wondering, “How am I going to bounce-back this time?” or “When will I...

Financial Stress Doesn’t Just Work the Night Shift

There is a silent epidemic afflicting approximately 30 million U.S. workers. You very well may be one of them – if you worry about money. Sometimes that looks like stress over your day-to-day finances. Other times, it’s concern over your future financial goals. Or, having apprehension around whom to trust with helping you to make financial decisions. At even other times, it’s a more abstract fear about something that certainly impacts you but that you have little control over: the economy. Whatever the trigger, you don’t leave your financial stress at home. So, when you walk through the proverbial office door (even if it’s your home office), your financial stress tags along with you. As a result, it impacts your productivity, focus and creativity. I am not so naive to suggest that any one of us can eliminate financial stress entirely. There’s likely to always be a little tension between where you are and where you want to be — that’s healthy stress. But here are a few recommendations on how to take control of the financial stress that is unhealthy, all-consuming and blocking you from experiencing more (and costing your employer approximately $7,000 in lost productivity each year!): Come clean – worry about money is called a silent epidemic because most people keep their financial problems close to the vest. Or worst yet, they bury their head in the sand believing when they come up for air the problem will be smaller or non-existent. Admit something is amiss, even if it’s just to yourself. Define the nature of your financial stress – addressing your day-to-day concerns about money...

When Things Get Back to The Way They Used to Be

On this beautiful Saturday afternoon, you and your friends may not be lounging about, sipping a cool, refreshing beverage and talking about “identities” and “emotional intelligence” and “financial intimacy.” But the truth is every financial and career choice you make is a reflection of how you see yourself and your degree of self-awareness. So is how you define and experience the American Dream. If you were with us on Wednesday for the in-person presentation of this month’s Financial Intimacy Hour, you know we had a phenomenal time. If you weren’t and you’re curious about what you missed, click here to grab the replay. Leading up to the “American Dream? Rethinking Race, Gender and Financial Success,” I wrote several posts talking about trends impacting our economic and employment landscapes. Trends that will certainly affect you and your livelihood if they haven’t already. I shared stats like 4.4 years; 42 million people; $12 trillion; and the “browning” of America. Combined, these data points tell an intriguing story about where we are in our cultural, economic, and employment history. I talked about why bridging emotional intelligence and financial intimacy is a must-have if you want to effectively and proactively manage your career and your finances. What I didn’t reveal here as clearly as I did that night was why I felt this conversation was an important one to have – right now. As you probably know, I am an observer. Noticing patterns that others miss or discount is one of my strengths. And a pattern that caught my attention can be summed up with these five words, “When things get back to…”...

The American Dream vs. Your American Reality: Time to Recalibrate? [VIDEO]

This current work + money series culminates with an in-person event next week.  I’m so excited for, “American Dream? Rethinking Race, Gender, and Financial Success,” on Wednesday, May 28th because the evening is all about you and your dreams – the ones you’ve fulfilled as well as those you’ve abandoned by choice or circumstance. If what you’re doing today is totally unlike what you dreamed of doing as a child and you feel something is missing, you should join us. If you’re one of the many that was RIFd (the new term for being downsized) and your period of unemployment has led you to the conclusion that working for yourself is a better, more secure option, you should join us. If you’re working but have found yourself in the new-classic situation of being over-qualified but under-employed, you should join us. If you’re just plan curious about what more you can do to live the American Dream in your signature way, you should join us. If you’re looking to refresh your tool-kit and add to it ideas, tools, and strategies that will help you more effectively manage your career and your money, you should join us. With my guest, Dr. Atira Charles, we’re talking about you, your work and your wealth, and sharing tools and strategies to help you redefine and recalibrate your reality to match your American Dream. Dreams begin with… What do you remember about what you wanted to be when you were a child? Are you doing that work today? When I was about four or five years old, I remember wanting to be a nurse. By eight or nine, that...

Personal Finance is a Career Issue…Duh!

Special note: Today is the final day to join the Financial Intimacy Lounge Membership at the Charter Member rate of $47 a month.  To lock in this special rate, click here. Tomorrow the rate increases to $97 a month. Each day you are making or producing something that someone else is consuming, experiencing or interacting with. This is why, when I had the good fortune to hear Russell Simmons speak at an event sponsored by Credit Suisse, the following statement really resonated with me: “You can’t make a good record worrying about the money you’re going to make. It’s all about the melody.” Russell Simmons You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. And, you don’t have to be a musician to embrace his statement. It’s application extends far beyond the music industry and it is perfect for this installment in my work + money series. What Comes First Last week I shared two stats that shed light on two trends affecting today’s economic and employment landscapes: 4.4 years and 42 million. (If you missed it, click here.) Here’s today’s staggering number: 83%. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, 83% of HR managers said personal finance problems had an impact on employee performance. Not surprisingly, money pressures: distract employees keep people feeling trapped and without options create a great deal of stress tend to narrow your scope of vision and seduce you into focusing on what’s not present vs. what could be. Couple this with the growing practice of companies rescinding offers because of negative feedback from credit checks and reports and the obvious just becomes even more...