The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

August 12, 2013

The Color of Money: When my company got sold

— Last week, I came to understand the many employees who've experienced dread when their companies are sold. The Washington Post is being taken over by Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.

     After hearing the news during a company meeting, the first thing I did was call my husband.

     "Honey, you won't believe ..." I started.

     I didn't get a chance to finish my sentence. He already knew about the sale because the Post app on his iPhone had sent him a news alert. The irony wasn't lost on me, since one of the reasons the Post and other venerable newspaper publishing companies are having financially challenging times is the rapid and electronic way news is now disseminated.

     "Good thing we are Amazon Prime members," my husband joked, referring to the fact we are longtime customers who saw the value in paying for extra benefits with Amazon, which isn't involved in the sale. We have so many Kindle products that when I call with a problem it takes a few minutes for customer service to figure out which one I need help with.

     A friend trying to encourage me about the sale emailed: "Bezos is innovative. Look to him to look for ways to package and market content."

     Nonetheless, soon after the shock that my company, protected and run by the Graham family for eight decades, was being sold, I switched to my personal-finance mode.

     What would this mean for my job and most importantly, my pension?

     I wasn't as scared as I could have been because I always plan carefully. Earlier this year, as I've been doing regularly as I get closer to retirement (although I'm a good 10 years away), I calculated my possible retirement earnings. I went online and got my annual Social Security statement, which if you haven't done, you should (www.socialsecurity.gov). It used to be that you received your statement in the mail about three months before your birthday. But in a cost-cutting move, the Social Security Administration stopped the automatic mailing of statements except in a few situations. 

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