Ask Karen Gibbs

Veteran business correspondent Karen Gibbs answers your personal money questions and addresses current topics that affect YOUR finances on a daily basis. Karen is the financial expert in your corner--no question is too basic or too small. Karen boils down the issues simply: here's what you need to know, and here's what you need to do. Send your money questions to and post your comments below.



Should I take a buyout?

Karen Gibbs

Karen, what should I consider when deciding whether or not to take a buyout offered by my employer?

- David, Columbia

Older lady with gray hair David, if you’re over 50, chances are that, at some point, you’ll be offered a buyout by your employer.   Many companies use buyouts to cut their labor costs by cutting employees.  It’s a more palatable way of getting rid of workers than a layoff.  But make no mistake; if you’ve been offered a buyout, your days are numbered.

Assessing where you are in your career is a critical first step.  How old are you?  How long have you been with the company?  What are the possibilities of you landing another, similar paying job?  What do you want to do?  Are you ready to retire?

Next, talk with your human resources department and find out just what’s included in the buyout package.  Oftentimes a lump sum payout is offered, calculated on your age, salary and years of service.  While the amount may ...

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