Leaving a job can be a frightening proposal, even if you’re moving up in the world—navigating retirement plan rollovers, lost and gained benefits, pay and cost-of-living changes, and the other variables can feel quite daunting. Fortunately, if you take a moment and relax, you’ll find that a methodical, thoughtful approach makes it all much easier. Today, we’ll help you navigate your way through the financials of leaving a job without getting stressed about the endeavor.
Figure out what you’re losing and what you’re gaining.
Take a close, hard look at the benefits you’re losing as you leave your job, noting the value of stock options, leave time, child-care, insurance, etc. If you’re moving immediately into a new job, you’ll want to evaluate what you’re gaining the same way, for ease of comparison. A firm understanding of the actual value of what you’re losing or gaining is important.
Look into what you can take with you.
Not every valuable benefit vanishes when you leave a job. You might have several decisions to make about more flexible benefits, such as stock options, which you’ll want to go over with a tax or finance professional—the details around these decisions can get quite complex quite quickly, so don’t let yourself drown alone in the specifics of rolling over your 401k to a new plan or an IRA, keeping or selling stock options, etc.
Negotiate to reimburse losses.
If you’ve noted a loss of value in moving to a new job, that information can be useful for negotiating additional pay, benefits, and one-time expense coverage (for relocation, etc.). Otherwise, look to a financial planning adviser for assistance in finding moves you can make to shrink the gap—you may be able to defray relocation expenses with tax deductions, qualify for new credits, etc.
Undertake a thorough self-audit.
When the dust settles, it’s time to conduct a thorough self-audit and see where your income, benefits, investments, retirement savings, and other financial considerations all stand. Make sure to review plans which, while not directly associated with the job you’re leaving, may interact strangely with your new situation—insurance, investments, estate plans, and the like all need a second look over after a major change such as leaving a job. Take your time, get professional financial planning assistance, and do it right, so you can rest assured that your big change is a move in the right direction.