Ford Motor Company has announced buy-out offers for about 15,000 employees. The people eligible for the buyout have received materials from Ford detailing the terms of the offer. As opposed to reviewing the terms of the buyout offer, what I will do here is give you some thoughts to consider. These thoughts apply whether you are a Ford employee who has received an offer or you work for another company that offers you a buyout.
The first thing that is important to understand in any of these buyouts is that it’s not a cut and dry decision. I remember in the past that some auto company buyouts were so generous you had to take it. Those types of buyouts are long gone. In most of these buyout offers I would label them as fair but far from generous. The key is to always look at these plans from your own individual situation. Your goals for your future are what is important. Someone could be in your exact same situation and the best option for them may be to accept the buyout offer while at the same time, for you the best option may be to not accept it. The key to making the right decision is to focus on your individual situation and your goals.
For those of you who are going to sit down with someone professionally to help you make the decision, it is important that you choose the right person. The right person isn’t the one who has more initials by their name; rather, it’s the one who will help you make the decision that’s best for you and only you. If you sit down with someone and they don’t talk to you about your individual situation or your goals, you know you’re dealing with the wrong person. You also know you’re dealing with the wrong person if they tell you everyone should do this or everyone should do that. As far as I’m concerned, just because everyone else is doing something, doesn’t mean I should.
In dealing with professionals it is important to make sure they don’t have any conflict of interest. Are they recommending you take a course of action because it’s good for them or because it’s good for you? Just like when you go to the doctor, you want to make sure that your doctor has your best interest at heart. The same thing applies to a professional who may help you make these decisions. I have mentioned many times that when it comes to financial advisors there potentially are many conflicts of interest you should be aware of. The most notable is commissions. It’s important that when you seek professional advice the professional you use is not a salesperson who is looking at generating more commissions but rather, a true professional whose only concern is making sure you make the right decision for yourself.
One last note and that is if you were thinking of accepting the Ford buyout or, in fact, any buyout, and part of your game plan is to get another job, you should not automatically assume you’ll be able to get a job paying the wages that you think. Particularly the older you are, the reality is that it’s harder and harder to find employment. Therefore, if part of your game plan is to get another job, it’s a good idea to do some homework to find what jobs you would qualify for and what the chances of getting a job actually are. After all, you don’t want any surprises.
The decision to accept the buyout is important and making the wrong decision can have severe consequences. Therefore, take your time, get all the information you can and don’t let anyone talk you into anything that you’re not comfortable with.
If you would like Rick to respond to your questions, please email him at Rick@bloomassetmanagement.com.