If I gave you $140k, would you please go away?

Act like a tree, and leave –A classic middle school insult.
GM recently announced that they have offered buyout packages to their entire hourly workforce. That is 74,000 UAW members. The most that GM would agree to pay you in a buy out is $140k. That seems like good money. But, you have to sever all ties with the company. No healthcare, no pension, no Christmas Card. Nothing. You take your $140k and leave quietly. They are doing this to decrease the cost of their workforce. They will get rid of experienced (read: expensive) workers and bring in young (read: cheap) workers.
The older workers aren’t being forced out, but they are certainly being enticed. What would you do? If, and only if, a worker had completely been financially savvy throughout their career, then this is a no brainer. There use to be this concept of retirement planning that said there were three components to retirement. Your pension, your social security, and what you do on your own. Most of us today simply are planning as though we are going to have to retire completely alone with no help from the government or our employers. UAW members have been taught to rely heavily on the union, and therefore may not have done a great job of saving for retirement outside their pension.

Are you in a position to walk away from your current employer for $140k? You won’t have any ties to them once you leave. Let’s say Pete the Planner (the company) gave Pete the Planner (the planner) $140k to leave, would he? Yes, he would. But he would soon open a new company called Peter the Planner.

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