Four Tips for Those Offered the Verizon Separation Package

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Verizon has offered a voluntary severance package to roughly 44,000 of its employees, or about 30% of its 153,100 global workforce. I have four pieces of advice for those being offered this package, based on my work with financial advisors over the course of many years.

Verizon has for many years offered such packages, although this one is particularly generous, with three week’s pay for each year of service, up to 60 weeks. This offer is incredibly important, and as some industry followers opine, and could be a precursor of more changes to come. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, the materials from Verizon stated it is investing in “transforming the business rather than running” the business.

Take as much time as you can to make your decision. This is not a decision you want to make hastily. It is not only a financial decision, it is a highly emotional one, and the emotions you are likely feeling are in proportion to the number of years you have spent at the firm. In times of stress, people often make fast, rash decisions without the proper time to weigh all the options. And if you think this is not a stressful decision, think again. It is. I have a dear friend who worked for decades at Verizon and was often offered a package and lived under the regular and highly stressful environment of expecting such packages every year. That stress of course was not shouldered by him alone; it affected his family as well. Take all the available time you have to make a prudent choice.

Read, but do not act on, publicly available advice. Since the news broke there have been many articles, blogs, and opinions offered on what to do. Some of those articles opine to everyone to either take or not take the package. First and foremost, no one should be giving the same advice to all 44,000 employees. Every one of you is different, with different needs, retirement prospects, tax issues and the list goes on. It would be advice malpractice, if such a thing exists, to tell a large group of people to take the identical action. However, read every article you can and take note of every informed opinion you can get. If you get one good takeaway from each article you are better prepared to make the best possible decision.