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Greetings, Fishn here, need a little guidance
Old 07-18-2017, 10:40 AM   #1
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Greetings, Fishn here, need a little guidance

Greetings, I'm Fishn and I suppose my username reveals my number one hobby. I'm 62 and will turn 63 on October 31st. I'm in kind of a tough position right now as I was let go from a good job with full benefits and lots of perks back in early March without an explanation (at will employment). In exchange I received a 3 month severance check and no fight from my company on collecting unemployment, which I started receiving at the end of March. 6 month maximum on that so in another month or two that will end.

I had a delivery driver position. Even though I'm fairly well educated and not stupid this is what I've been doing the last 30 plus years, partly due to depressive issues, but I always worked. I've been a musician in more than a few bands over the years so that satisfied my creative urge.

To get to the crux of the issue, I need to choose between finding another full time job and continuing to work until a later or full retirement age, or take SS early at 63 and supplement the SS with a part time job that won't exceed their limit.

The problem right now is it's too hard to find a job comparable to what I had because the higher paying driver positions require longer hours and lots of lifting. After 2 knee operations and an orthopedist telling me I'll need a hip replacement, these jobs aren't an option, and I would have to take (if I can find one) a lower paying less demanding driving position. If that was possible then maybe it would be better despite the lower pay to continue working to get a higher benefit when I retire.

There is the other option as time is running out on unemployment, and I had read online I would have to give SS 3 months notice. I wonder if anyone would know if I have to do that right down to the exact day? In my case July 31st? (which is right around the corner hence my concern) if I haven't been able to find another job. I understand also if I go this route I may have to wait until late November to get my first check, if anyone could confirm.

To complicate matters I'm married and have gathered that all my SS would be taxed which I didn't expect. A question I have is the SS taxed before I get my check or would I have to report it on the tax return the following year? I think the amount of additional part time money I could make is within the same limits as if I were single, please correct me if I'm wrong.

We live simply on a lower budget - I have a mobile home that is paid off, but we still pay ground rent at a reasonable fee. The problem I'm having is my SS benefit if I retire in October will only be about 800 dollars a month. If I can find a part time job to supplement it we could get through ok. SS benefit at 66 has been calculated at just 1020 a month. I figured if I could pay off my car which I have almost enough money to do, that will knock off 200 a month along with lower car insurance and cutting back on a few other things.

My wife has a good stable job and is advancing and will be making more money, she is 13 years younger than I and I'm sure will be in the work force as long as she can, as she enjoys it.

My finances are not the greatest unfortunately, the money I have in the bank equals what it would take to pay my car off, and I have an investment fund which will have one more deposit in August from my former company from last years earnings. At that point I'll have twelve thousand dollars accumulated there and have to get advice as how it will be taxed and how to deal with or get around that the best way.

So I find myself with my back up against the wall with the timing of all this. If I'm forced out of necessity to take an early retirement, there won't be a lot of money coming in. I have to figure out what to do. Sorry to be so long winded on this, I guess I could have just come out and asked all the pertinent questions.

I'll admit I haven't saved and planned over the years for this as I've dealt with a fair amount of depression. These days I'm not too depressed, but now facing these decisions is getting closer every day and I'll need to act.

Thank you if you can provide any insight or advice, it's most welcome.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:08 PM   #2
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Man. Tough situation. Many questions:

What are your current expenses? What will they be going forward? Do you have access to health insurance via wife's job?


You say that your wife has a good job and "will be making more money." Does she make enough to support your present joint lifestyle? How will things work relationship wise if you aren't working and she is?

Does wife look to have greater social PIA than you? If so, and you don't have reason to suspect a greater than usual lifespan, it likely is a wash if you draw social now versus later (assuming you can't find a job). Given your low PIA, though, it probably would benefit you to take even a relatively lower paying job.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:17 PM   #3
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At your age it seems like taking a p.t. job with the SS would be the best option. Can you both live on that besides your wife's income? What does your wife think you should do?
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:32 PM   #4
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I know it's complicated. It complicates things further in that she is from Germany (we've been married a year and a half) and will probably get some kind of benefit from her working years over there, but we don't know yet. I don't expect our expenses to change much from here forward. I think we both could get through if I can get a part time job in addition to the SS early. I can get on her insurance plan in November, I think about 150 a month. The driving job market is big for people who can do heavy deliveries with long hours, I've done that and am beyond able to get back into it. Might be hard just to find a part time job as well, and the wait while there is limited income might be a hardship for a while. I was single all my adult life and never expected to marry but we met online singing, traveled back and forth and went through a lot of red tape with an immigration lawyer to get where we are now, it is better than being single going forward and we get along well. I think she would understand either way. I may have to take a pay cut with a job below what I was making before, that is if I can find it. Does anyone know about the taxes taken out of SS, done ahead or do I have to file on my return? I appreciate your feedback and wish I had planned for this better.
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More questions than answers
Old 07-18-2017, 12:40 PM   #5
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More questions than answers

Welcome aboard! I can tell you that I share your angling hobby, and can fish with the best of them...

...can't catch, but I can fish. Oh, who am I kidding? It's really about the beer drinking anyway!

It's a tiny bit of heresy on a site like this one to recommend against retiring ASAP, but in your case it sounds like w*rking longer is the right decision. I hope your j*b search turns up something nice, and soon because it sounds like you aren't mentally ready to retire. DW is younger and still w*rking, so you may be content to keep at it until she draws a bit closer to ER.

However your physical condition may limit your options, at least in the trucking industry. This may be the crux of the biscuit anyway. It's hard enough landing a new j*b at 63, but in a physically demanding role it will be even more difficult. Consider other skills you could market; you mentioned musical talents. Any chance of turning that into a meaningful income stream?

Whether you are financially ready to retire is a whole 'nuther issue, but one that at least yields to objective calculations. It doesn't matter whether your savings are 12 thousand or 12 million; you still need to ask yourself what your expenses will be. Running FIRECalc (see link either on the side or the bottom of the page) will give you a good assessment of whether your numbers can work.

Good luck, and I look forward to following your story!
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:43 PM   #6
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OK, im usually the type to try to lighten the atmosphere during a discussion. I ask things like why, or cant you cut down etc. The whys and hows in your case doesnt matter, its where you are, so I can answer 1 question for you. Social security can either withhold taxes from the check every month or they can take nothing and you square up on April 15th. Now if you can enlighten me with what you were making per hour and how many hours you were working maybe we can all come up with some helpful suggestions. Things might not be as dire as they seem.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:45 PM   #7
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Just a thought, I have an acquaintance who once he retired from full time work took a job with the county driving a school bus. He likes kids so he really enjoys it, and at least here the job has HC benefits, and he can design his route/hours each month to suit his and his DWs (also mostly retired but does some part time work on the cafeteria at a private school) schedule. Doing that plus also having the time for cutting expenses (buying at discount store in bulk, etc) on an ongoing basis, just might be enough for you. Like BCG says, we would need more details with numbers to give, well, more detailed, advice.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:48 PM   #8
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Thank you, and to the others that have responded. I was making 15 dollars an hour but had full health benefits that the company paid for, along with the investment fund they put aside for me. I usually brought home from 520 to 550 a week and that was more than enough to live on, even when my wife wasn't working the first year while we waited for her permission to work and green card.


If I could bring home even 350 to 400 a week with the SS plus part time it would be ok. Have to stay within their limits on the part time gross income. And if I took a lesser full time job the amount might as well be the same with the difference being more SS benefit down the road.


Not sure I want to work all the way to 66 though. After the last job with lifting boxes (medical supplies) and doing pharmacy deliveries too, I had to hustle my butt off and it was wearing me down. As far as the music thing, I was a drummer in a band just a few years back. I had done it in the nineties for 4 different bands, and had taken a long break. The opportunity came up again, and the only reason I did it as kind of a last hurrah was these were people I knew. It was a blast, but my friend on lead guitar got diagnosed with MS and the keyboard player was going through a bad divorce and couldn't make practice and that was the end of the band. Very disappointed as I sold everything afterwards. I play keyboard now really just for my own entertainment.


Back to the task at hand, I'm still not sure what to do. I'll check the financial table that was mentioned. One thing that complicates things, my wife is bringing home 300 to 400 a week and it will be more as she is in training to be a shift manager. The complication is she has to send almost one complete paycheck each month over to Germany to her daughter for child support, who will turn 10 in September. So that brings income coming in down.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:54 PM   #9
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If you like to drive, but not able to lift much,maybe Uber for PT hustle? I use them frequently. During the daytime hours, it is often retirees that shuttle me around. They like the flexibility, but the income does fluctuate.

Hope things do work out - best wishes.
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:00 PM   #10
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Well OK, School bus driver like mama suggested, no heavy lifting, they pay you around here for 8 hours, when you only drive 90 minutes in the morning and 90 minutes in the after noon. They rest of the day you take the bus home and take a nap or do household chores. Flower delivery person, the arrangements dont weigh that much. Pizza delivery driver, they do well in tip money. Huge hospital complexes have those mini buses that transport visitors & employees to the parking lots and other buildings, as well as college campuses. Those are the ones I can think of that might fit your requirements, I was just brain storming . Lots of wickedly smart people in here that will no doubt give this some thought and help you in your journey.
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:40 PM   #11
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Wow, tough spot to be in.

FIL (father-in-law) did school bus driving for about ten years after the company he worked for relocated to DE and he liked that. A BIL (brother-in-law) retired machinist, works at a VA hospital driving a small bus around the big parking lot. It started out as a volunteer position but when one of the paid drivers quit/retired they hired him. It pays about $11/hour here so if you did something like that it would give you the income you're looking for.

Re the income tax on SS, you can either have SS withhold it or you'll have to send in quarterly estimated payments.

Re the SS limit on how much you can earn before they start reducing your SS, there is a silver lining to that. If you do exceed the limit, when you finally do stop working permanently your SS benefit is recalculated to a new, higher, amount for the SS taxes you paid while working. So if you do exceed the income limit you will get that back (if you live long enough).

Some part time jobs do offer health insurance. While chatting with the paint mixing lady a few years ago at Home Depot, she said she worked 20 hours a week and got health insurance. A local grocery store here also offers health insurance but the web site didn't say if that was for part time or full time only. A lot of the cashiers seem to be in their 60's so that could be why.

Re taxes on withdrawals from the "investment fund", it is probably a 401(k) account since it seems the former company made deposits to the fund. If that is the case, yes you may have to pay federal income taxes on it but if your income is low enough you may not owe any taxes. FIL didn't pay income taxes for years because he was low-income, but he lived in MD. I also think in PA that the state does not tax pension, SS, and withdrawals from retirement accounts, but don't take the word of some guy on the internet on that, check with a tax preparer.
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Old 07-18-2017, 04:10 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies, it's given me some hope that there will be something suitable that could work out. Uber or using my own vehicle would be out as before my last job (which lasted 5 years) I was an independent contractor courier for 13 years at the same job. It's brutal using your own vehicle every day, the wear and tear and gas money. I went through 9 different vehicles in that 13 years and won't put my present car through any extra stress. I plan to keep it and take care of it as long as I can. I'm not sure I'm patient enough or have enough experience with kids to do the school bus thing.

Maybe a shuttle driver as was mentioned or something similar. I did call recently about a valet job that would be at a hospital right down the street, but the pay is low at $7.25 an hour plus the split at the end of the day from the shared tip pool. Might only equate to part time wages with full time hours even though it would be convenient and not too taxing.

I'm pretty good at writing and could see being a proofreader but I don't know how you qualify for that sort of thing. It's all food for thought that you have all provided and I appreciate it. My main concern now being up against the calendar is if I'm unable to find a job before the end of the month, if I don't give SS the proper notice and unemployment runs out, I may find myself without any income all if I can't get a break with a job.
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Old 07-18-2017, 04:37 PM   #13
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My main concern now being up against the calendar is if I'm unable to find a job before the end of the month, if I don't give SS the proper notice and unemployment runs out, I may find myself without any income all if I can't get a break with a job.
BTW, on the notice to SS that you want to begin benefits, I applied online, I think it was about six weeks before I wanted to start and had no issues with it. We'd had some distracting family issues going on at the time and I simply forgot to apply three months before. I wouldn't recommend cutting it that close but if you don't apply exactly three months beforehand and let it slip a week or three that probably won't be an issue. But YMMV of course.

Also, if you start benefits and then later find a job that would give you the income you need within one year of starting SS, you can stop SS benefits and let it increase while you're working and restart later. But you can only do this once.
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Old 07-18-2017, 05:12 PM   #14
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I wasn't aware of the last thing you mentioned, thanks for the information. I'll be intensifying my search now and try to broaden what I think I can do.
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Old 07-18-2017, 05:18 PM   #15
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If I think of anything else I ll post it. Best of luck
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Old 07-18-2017, 08:19 PM   #16
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Thanks for all your help.
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Old 07-19-2017, 06:41 AM   #17
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Any chance you are a veteran of the Armed Services, you might qualify for VA health care which can be free in some cases.

Think hard about the valet job..convenient and not too taxing ..what's the downside at this point? Every month you can pick up enough money to delay filing for SS increases the size of your check.

Large nursing homes often have van drivers for transporting residents...that might be something to look into.
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Blue Collar Guy View Post
Well OK, School bus driver like mama suggested, no heavy lifting, they pay you around here for 8 hours, when you only drive 90 minutes in the morning and 90 minutes in the after noon. They rest of the day you take the bus home and take a nap or do household chores. Flower delivery person, the arrangements dont weigh that much. Pizza delivery driver, they do well in tip money. Huge hospital complexes have those mini buses that transport visitors & employees to the parking lots and other buildings, as well as college campuses. Those are the ones I can think of that might fit your requirements, I was just brain storming . Lots of wickedly smart people in here that will no doubt give this some thought and help you in your journey.
Just adding a few more options: A delivery driver for Panera Bread, a greeter at Walmart, a customer service guy for Lowes or Home Depot, pet sitting or a dog walker, etc. There are help wanted signs all over.

Try Craigslist and open yourself up to some ideas.

Michael
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Old 07-19-2017, 10:44 AM   #19
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How about a quick delivery company such as QuickSilver? All local deliveries and normally small items or paper. Tons of van transport jobs for hospitals, clinics, retirement homes, shopping malls, grocery stores. With all your experience you would be very qualified. There is a halfway house near us and the transport stops every day to drive the clients to and from work.
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Old 07-19-2017, 10:50 AM   #20
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Auto parts stores seem to always be looking for parts drivers around here.
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