Bear Stearns (BSC) made a rapid drop from successful investment bank to discount deal over the weekend.
On Thursday shares of Bear Stearns’ stock were valued at $57; on Friday they were worth $30. And, yesterday the 85 year-old investment bank that survived the Great Depression, announced a deal with J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) who will pick up their remaining shares for just $2 a piece. That low price may prove beneficial for J.P. Morgan Chase, but it could be trouble for Bear Stearns’ employees. Together, they own 30% of the company and have consistently received many of their bonus payouts in stocks; stocks that are worth a lot less now.
So as the subprime crisis continues to create problems for investment banks and leaves them looking for a bail out from the Fed or other firms, it may also leave many Bear Stearns employees questioning the future of their careers and finances. But according to Sandy Gross, the managing partner of Pinetum Partners in Greenwich, Connecticut, Bear Stearns’ employees and others like them shouldn’t panic just yet. “There could be a bright side to the acquisition and some will still have a job," says Gross.It is very likely that J.P. Morgan will retain Bear Stearns employees that can offer something new to the company and help it grow. However, there will be a bunch of the bank's 13,000 person workforce that will lose their jobs as a result of the acquisition. Here are three steps experts recommend they take.
STEP #1—Re-Evaluate Your Budget
Those concerned about being let go should start reevaluating their personal budgets now, says Stuart Ritter, a certified financial planner at T. Rowe Price. The most important thing is to decrease spending and to be very particular about what "need" is and what "want" is. “Avoid the temptation to start borrowing to maintain a lifestyle that you're now thinking might not be sustainable. You'll only be digging a deeper hole,” says Ritter. “This means not using credit cards, not taking a loan or withdrawal from your 401(k). Hopefully, your situation is temporary but you don't want to take steps now that will undermine your longer-term future.”