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53 yrs old recently discharged from job and considering retirement
Old 06-20-2011, 01:49 PM   #1
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53 yrs old recently discharged from job and considering retirement

As my title mentions, I was recently discharged from my job for doing something foolish. I am 53, presently collecting unemployment, have been on a number of interviews, but nobody can look past what I did, and at this point, I feel that I will never work again.

Presently have $600k in assests of which $200k is in tax deferred accounts. Total allocation is 65% stock, 30% bond and 5% cash.

I am single, no kids, no debt, have a house that I co own with my sister, fully paid for and my present monthly expenses are about $2200-$2500.

At this point, I am considering retirement, but not sure how long the money would last. My health at present is good.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Joe
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:16 PM   #2
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Could you break down the 600K in assets? If your including home value and other non-liquid assests then i'd say no, look for a job.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:18 PM   #3
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Do you have any pension coming. If so, what age and how much. How much did you earn before. That's needed to know how much to expect from SS.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by joecaf53 View Post
As my title mentions, I was recently discharged from my job for doing something foolish. I am 53, presently collecting unemployment, have been on a number of interviews, but nobody can look past what I did, and at this point, I feel that I will never work again.
Joe
Don't give up hope.
You did not elaborate on what happened, but if you are collecting unemployment, your former employer apparently doesn't think that you did something foolish. Otherwise, they would have contested your unemployment benefits.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:16 PM   #5
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Whatever your misdeed, apparently it wasn't illegal, just dumb, or your employer wouldn't stop at laying you off. Gosh, if nobody hired people who've done one dumb thing, hardly anyone would have a job. Easy for me to say, I know...but try to stay hopeful. As everyone keeps telling us, today's job market is horrible. You might have to take a job that seems beneath you for a while.

The other piece of encouragement I saw in your post, is that your financial situation (as you describe it) makes you sound like a thrifty, sensible person, who believes in paying bills and being responsible. Your sister trusted you enough to own a home with you - lots of other people's relatives wouldn't take that risk with one another. Can you figure out a way to convey your responsible lifestyle during job interviews? Maybe it would balance out the one dumb mistake that people are focusing on.

As for "do you have enough," have you tried running your numbers through FIRECalc?

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Don't give up hope.
You did not elaborate on what happened, but if you are collecting unemployment, your former employer apparently doesn't think that you did something foolish. Otherwise, they would have contested your unemployment benefits.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:36 PM   #6
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Joe....this was a tough thread to start, and your honesty has me giving you a salute.

Depression, low self-esteem, shame, and a loss of self confidence can be sensed in a job interview. In my prior administrative roles I have hired many, many people into healthcare industry jobs, and some of those people had been terminated in their previous jobs.

The people I made offers to, even though they had been fired, were people who started off the interview by talking about what happened in their previous job. Not alot of details were needed, but when I heard things like "Before we go any further I want to discuss a mistake I made in my previous job. I understand this may make you hesitant to hire me. But I can assure you that this was an important learning for me and that nothing like this will ever happen again, regardless of where I work."

This level of direct communication without any intent to downplay or hide what happened helped me to develop trust. If this person was not the best qualified for the job and I didn't make an offer, I always called them personally to explain why, and encourage them to continue to use the same approach in future interviews.

I hope this helps, and I wish you luck on your path.
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:09 PM   #7
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I don't know if your estimate of expenses includes health insurance, but if not, I would not "retire" on $600,000 at age 53, especially if you have to buy health insurance on the open market. You may wish to continue looking for employment, perhaps a lessor job that you had - and see if you can't retain health coverage, and even a smaller income for a few more years. Good luck to you.
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:24 PM   #8
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Joe - sorry to hear about the job situation, just have to move on. Life happens.

Since you have unemployment, continue looking for some type of employment to maintain receiving the benefits.

Personally, I would feel better retiring on my own terms, even if it's not the highest position held or highest pay. Consider a down shift to a semi-retirement, part time or full time job in something you enjoy or hobby with healthcare benefits. Even tho you are in good health, unplanned things happen.

Best of luck.
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:26 PM   #9
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Re

I want to thank everyone who responded. I think my negative feelings may be showing through on interviews.

Joe
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:33 PM   #10
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600K @ 4% = $24K. Tax rate = 0%

So ~2K per month to live on

Paid for home: rent = $300/month (tax + maint. + insur.)
Util: $200
Food: $300
Misc: $200

$1K per month left for health insur.

So yes, it can be done quite easily.
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:35 PM   #11
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Sorry to hear it, but what I was going to say has already been said -- what you did may or may not have been "foolish", but if you are getting unemployment benefits it wasn't likely *too* egregious or your employer would have claimed some form of "gross misconduct" which is usually grounds for denying unemployment benefits. So maybe it's not over yet... unless you want it to be and you can make the numbers work.

Best of luck to you whatever path you choose to take from here!
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Old 06-20-2011, 06:32 PM   #12
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Joe... you do not need to describe the details to the new prospective employer. Your previous employer certainly will not for fear of being sued.

Assuming you did not break the law and were not convicted. Do not share the information. Make sure the people you provide for references will be good references.

The likely reason you are having trouble getting a job is the same reason others are having problems..... Massive unemployment and little hiring.

If you need to work, do not give up. Just realize that it make take a little time to reenter the work force because of the high level of unemployment and the anemic number of new jobs.

Chin up and keep trying... it will eventually work out (assuming you want to go back to work).
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:42 PM   #13
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You seem to be a prime candidate for working for yourself. What business could you form and run yourself?
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:52 PM   #14
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I'll chime in as I was once in your predicament. I saw a list of people being laid off (they targeted high-comp people) and a couple of the guys on the list was a personal "friend" who I felt the need to tell. Never heard how it got back, but it did; I was terminated & denied benefits.

I was pretty open with other hiring managers on the subject as our industry is small & I went on to make more than I did before. I would be candid, even overly forthcoming on info; worst they can say is you're too honest, right?

On the $600k to retire, I'm in the camp it can be done with a lot of discipline. We are on the cusp of doing it at 41 & 47 with only $950k total (we have no house). We're looking at a major medical policy with a high deductible ($10k) for a major event; only $3-400 monthly for the two of us. We even get a couple doc visits with that... The living expenses you have a little more control over, so plan accordingly. I personally want to plan on a draw-down of no more than 2% + 3-4% return or about $57k annually; then when SS kicks in and my wife's pension, we'll plan on the $57k + another $10-12k pension + $25k SS.

We just need to get from 41 & 46 to 67-ish without too much drama.

Hope this helps alleviate some concerns.
s
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:52 PM   #15
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Joe... you do not need to describe the details to the new prospective employer. Your previous employer certainly will not for fear of being sued.
It is true that employers won't provide details about a former employee's performance because of a fear of being sued. Although this may not be true universally, every employer I have ever worked for indicates on the "exit" paperwork whether or not a person is eligible for rehire, and involuntary terminations are not typically eligible for rehire.

It is common for most companies, when checking for prior employment references, to ask if the person is eligible for rehire. That info is usually shared because it is a statement of fact rather than a subjective description of reasons for dismissal.

Just something to think about when deciding what to say during an interview.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:25 AM   #16
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How about starting a business or to look for temp jobs of all kinds while letting grass grow over the issues that led to termination?
How about spending a "sabbatical" in a foreign (asian) country with low cost of living? There are some threads here on doing that. This will give you time to think things over, to relax a little and you may even be able to rent out your home for that period and live on that income.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:02 AM   #17
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600K @ 4% = $24K. Tax rate = 0%

So ~2K per month to live on

Paid for home: rent = $300/month (tax + maint. + insur.)
Util: $200
Food: $300
Misc: $200

$1K per month left for health insur.

So yes, it can be done quite easily.
The OP said 2200-2500K expenses. Conveniently rounding down by 10-25% to make the numbers "work" is a recipe for disaster. So is using someone else's estimates for your own real expenses, especially when those estimates don't cover maintenance and replacement expenses that will come sooner or later.

I'd keep trying to find work based on the somewhat limited info given.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:15 AM   #18
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The OP said 2200-2500K expenses. Conveniently rounding down by 10-25% to make the numbers "work" is a recipe for disaster. So is using someone else's estimates for your own real expenses, especially when those estimates don't cover maintenance and replacement expenses that will come sooner or later.

I'd keep trying to find work based on the somewhat limited info given.
He said "present monthly expenses" which to me would mean he still has a car, cell phone, dry cleaning bills for suits, etc., all of which could go away in retirement. With no kids and no debt, he is pretty free to live simple if that is acceptable to him vs the stress of continued work if he can even find it.

Obamacare might cover most of his health insurance premiums also, if his income is just $24K a year or less, starting in 2014. With a little creative investing, he could probably get below the poverty level and have 50% of his health insurance premiums subsidized.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:45 AM   #19
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I was laid off twice, at ages 52 and 58, and in both cases landed on my feet. While interviewing, only a couple of prospective employers asked why I was no longer with my last employer. The issue just did not come up in most of the interviews.
You should not volunteer that you were released by your last employer; if asked about it, there are many "politically correct" replies. An easy one is simply that the company was doing some cost cutting and they had to let you go. Odds are beyond excellent there will not be a follow-up question. I agree with the other replies - be mindful of your body language and voice inflection if you have to discuss the job termination. Short, sweet, and upbeat tone, and then the interview will move on to your job skills and qualifications.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:08 PM   #20
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As my title mentions, I was recently discharged from my job for doing something foolish.
Joe
You did something foolish and got caught. Plenty of people do foolish things and never get caught. You are making a big deal out of it because you were terminated. A hiring manager might not even bring up the subject.
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