To join the 'Great Resignation,' some workers are willing to go into debt. Make these financial moves instead
"The Great Resignation" is apparently still going strong across America.
In fact, some people want to quit their jobs so badly, they are willing to go into debt to do it, a survey from Credit Karma found.
According to the survey, 38% of U.S. workers are seeking employment elsewhere and 41% are considering leaving their current job within the next six months.
The majority (52%) of employed workers who are thinking about quitting say they are financially prepared to do so. However, 28% are not. Of those unprepared, 57% anticipate taking on debt while they look for their next job. The nationally representative online survey was conducted by Qualtrics in July and polled 1,512 U.S. adults.
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The Covid-19 pandemic has made many people reevaluate their lives and the time they spend working. Some may be burned out, others may have no desire to return to the office and want to continue working from home.
"People are feeling empowered and they are more confident than they have been in the past," said Colleen McCreary, chief people officer at Credit Karma.
"They are willing to take on debt to do that," she added.
In June alone, 3.9 million people said "I quit," according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's down slightly from the record-breaking 4 million who quit in April.
A separate poll by financial services website Personal Capital and The Harris Poll found that 66% of Americans are interested in switching jobs right now.
More than half (52%) of those surveyed said they'd need at least $50,000 in their bank account in order to comfortably do so. In addition, 59% of those polled said they could survive without a regular paycheck for three months or less, according to the survey. The online poll was conducted July 29-Aug. 2 among 933 employed U.S. respondents.
"It is always good to have a financial plan in place before you quit your job because you want to have some sense of stability and peace of mind to accomplish what you want to," said Denver-based certified financial planner Krista Aliga, senior financial advisor at Personal Capital.
Here's how to ensure you have some financial stability in place.
Have emergency savings
If you want to quit without another job lined up, make sure you have an emergency fund that will cover three to six months of living expenses, Aliga said. Set it aside in a high-yield savings account so that it is easily accessible, she suggests.
However, CFP Diahann Lassus, managing principal at New Providence, New Jersey-based Peapack Private Wealth Management, advises having six to 12 months of living expenses set aside.
"If you need money, the last thing you want to do is pull it out of a retirement account and pay all those taxes and potentially penalties to do that," said Lassus, a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.
Assess your spending
Your spending habits may have changed during the pandemic. If you found you were saving money by giving up some expenses, such as eating out frequently, see if you can keep some of your newfound behaviors.
That said, don't assume your spending will stay the same. Instead, look back at your 2019 cash flow as a guide when you decide whether you can comfortably quit, Lassus said.
Also, if you plan to move after resigning, look at the cost of living in that area, as it may change the amount you need to save for your living expenses, Aliga said.
Don't forget about health-care costs
"The ability to continue to have health coverage in a global pandemic should be at the top of the list for people," McCreary said.
If you quit without another job, you may be able to go on your partner's plan or purchase coverage through the nation's public exchanges.
COBRA extends your current health plan for up to 18 months, but you're paying for the entirety of the plan, which can be expensive.
Having no health-care coverage at all can really put you in the hole if something happens. Credit Karma has seen its members take on an additional $2 billion in medical debt collections from September 2020 to April 2021.
Keep track of your financial accounts
If you have an employer retirement plan, you can roll it over into an individual retirement account or, if you have a new job, into your new employer's 401(k) plan.
You can also choose to leave it as is — just make sure you know who administers it and how to access it.
The same goes for any other employer-based plans, such as a health savings account or flexible savings account. Make sure you know what options you have with those plans if you leave.
"You would be surprised how many people will leave their employer and they kind of lose sight of those accounts," Aliga said.
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