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Hi my job was just eliminated at age 63
Old 01-07-2018, 06:05 AM   #1
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Hi my job was just eliminated at age 63

My job as Administrative Assistant at a local Church was eliminated by a new Rector who decided he needed someone who was more of an accountant than an assistant. I was given two months of severance pay, two months of insurance coverage and a lovely letter of reference. On November 30, after a lovely luncheon, gifts, and brave goodbyes, I was released from my position. It was difficult to find a new job in December due to Christmas--I did of course put out my resume. I am VERY concerned. I do not want to tap my savings AND if I am not contributing to SS, I am trying to decide if I should take my benefits early. I will be 63 and a half in March. I am also concerned about health insurance--a health care co-op is what I will most likely use as COBRA will be cost prohibitive. My insurance benefits are over on January 31, 2018. I hope I am on the right track. I am a divorced woman, no children. I will not have a pension, only an IRA and 401K.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:11 AM   #2
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Any chance there are other positions that may open up at the same church before your medical runs out? If so, even if it pays less, it gives you more time to make decisions without feeling so much pressure.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by DCJennifer View Post
My job as Administrative Assistant at a local Church was eliminated by a new Rector who decided he needed someone who was more of an accountant than an assistant. I was given two months of severance pay, two months of insurance coverage and a lovely letter of reference. On November 30, after a lovely luncheon, gifts, and brave goodbyes, I was released from my position. It was difficult to find a new job in December due to Christmas--I did of course put out my resume. I am VERY concerned. I do not want to tap my savings AND if I am not contributing to SS, I am trying to decide if I should take my benefits early. I will be 63 and a half in March. I am also concerned about health insurance--a health care co-op is what I will most likely use as COBRA will be cost prohibitive. My insurance benefits are over on January 31, 2018. I hope I am on the right track. I am a divorced woman, no children. I will not have a pension, only an IRA and 401K.
Loss of insurance coverage will qualify you for a special enrollment period in the Affordable Care Act Health ins. Go to Healthcare.gov and input your state to find out how much subsidy you will receive. This is your most likely means of getting Health Insurance at a reduced cost until you get employment.

I would only take benefits(SS) early if necessary to pay the bills. At that point, you really have no choice.

Here's wishing you success in your job hunt and better times ahead!!!

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Old 01-07-2018, 06:18 AM   #4
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One thing I would do if you haven't done so already is see where you could cut back on expenses. How much could you trim off the budget ? Almost everyone has things they could eliminate and still survive if they had to. See how low you could get your expenses.

That you will give you a better idea of how much you need to survive without a job. One thing I learned is I could survive on a lot less than I thought I could. It may not work for everyone due to where they live and other factors, but it is so worth making the effort to try it.

Here's something else I've learned: The phone companies and the cable companies and just about any other service provider will be more willing to lower your bill if they understand why you want it lower. Especially if they think you will cancel their service if they don't magically come up with a promotional offer that lowers your bill.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:24 AM   #5
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You are divorced, but were you married 10 years or more/ If so, look at your options with filing for spousal SS.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:26 AM   #6
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Network, network, network, let everyone you know that you are looking for a job! Consider things outside your old realm. Non profits are supposed to be less “ age sensitive” than other employers.
Have an extra bedroom? Get a roommate. Start now to seriously look at your spending do not wait until you have to make hard choices.
Good luck. I have been where you are.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:26 AM   #7
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My business was destroyed by the great recession. I worked PT jobs until age 62. I then took early SS, but continued to work PT until the present. So I feel for your situation.

Accept that you may not find good full time replacement work. You may have to "re-invent" yourself. (Age discrimination is alive and well...).

Some ideas....

1. In addition to ACA coverage check out faith based "insurance" for health care. Very affordable from what I understand.
2. What would you like to do for work? Consider PT work as a way to ease into retirement. There are many options out there. Also accept that PT work may have to last awhile, until you can fully afford to retire.

Your health insurance challenge is a short term problem, solved at age 65 (Medicare). Just find a way to get there. BTW, not all insurance companies will accept 64 year olds. Get your replacement coverage quickly, even if you get COBRA. You can always drop it later when you find a better option.

Good luck.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:26 AM   #8
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It's difficult for people to give you advice without knowing more about your situation. Do you own or rent? Do you have a mortgage? Since you were let go, have you filed for unemployment?

What were your plans for retirement before the unexpected job loss? Whether or not you find another job, you are eventually going to have to tap in to your retirement accounts. Have you considered how you will do that? Do you know how much Social Security you can collect at various start times? How long were you married? Do you qualify to receive a share of your ex's Social Security? If so, would it be more or less than your own?

In your shoes, while I was looking for another job, I would start assembling my retirement income plan. Figure out how much income you have from Social Security from your record and your ex's if you qualify. Look at your IRA and 401k and see how they are invested. You may need to roll over the 401k into an IRA.

The most important thing at this point is to get started. If the job search is slow or you don't find another suitable job, you need to know what your options are.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:36 AM   #9
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Thanks for all your replies. There are only eleven employees in the Church where I was working. There are no openings available there. I was married 15 years and I checked with SS and my own benefit is more than half of what his would be. My only expenses are my mortgage-apartment bought in 1996 ($505 per month), monthly co-op fee which includes everything but my internet and phone services ($1,000), cell phone ($23.00 per month) and internet only service($75.00) from Comcast--just renegotiated down. I pay for gas for my car($20 per month) and groceries. I live in NW Washington, DC and things are expensive here, but I can walk to many things. I do my own manicures, pedicures, cook from scratch(seldom go out to eat with friends).
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:38 AM   #10
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Also check if your ex has a pension. Even if he's working, you may be eligible for a portion of it and not have to wait for him to retire. This happened to a co-worker of mine, a guy in his 60's. Got a divorce and his wife immediately filed for his retirement and got what percentage she was awarded. He wasn't too happy, but that wasn't her fault he didn't weigh in the factor before he left her.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:42 AM   #11
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Ahh the unemployment question is sensitive for me. I worked for an Episcopal Church and was shocked to find that churches do NOT pay unemployment and thus I do not qualify. I am upset because this very church supports the idea of unemployment for everyone else when the economy tanks---everyone but their own employees. I intend to go to the Bishop on this issue as our employment contracts do not have any statements about this issue...you find out only if you are laid off. Yes, I intend to go to a faith based health insurance co-op for insurance.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:43 AM   #12
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OK, I was thinking about the restricted filing for spousal benefit, but I think you miss that cutoff by a couple of years...
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:44 AM   #13
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My ex husband works for the Federal Government and we have been divorced since 1995. I doubt that I will qualify for any of his pension at this late date.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:45 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DCJennifer View Post
My ex husband works for the Federal Government and we have been divorced since 1995. I doubt that I will qualify for any of his pension at this late date.
I think, unless you signed it away in the divorce, you would be entitled to a portion of his pension.
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:51 AM   #15
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My ex husband works for the Federal Government and we have been divorced since 1995. I doubt that I will qualify for any of his pension at this late date.
If he was working there before your divorce and you were awarded alimony, I would not assume you don't qualify.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:07 AM   #16
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Do yourself a favor and file with unemployment. It doesn’t mater that they say they don’t contribute. You have to file and let them make the determination.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:13 AM   #17
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I believe here in California, employers 'contribute' to unemployment when an ex employee of theirs files a claim at the unemployment office. Maybe your employer is misleading you from getting your benefit as it will result in them receiving a bill from the EDD (employment development department)
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:22 AM   #18
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My ex husband works for the Federal Government and we have been divorced since 1995. I doubt that I will qualify for any of his pension at this late date.
You seem so close to retirement. My mom retired at 65, took spousal benefits at 66.

Obviously without any income or pay you will be in a downhill trend for savings and living quality. Try to find income by part time work, consulting, or something you are good at and can get paid to do that doesn't have a lot of risk. Working for someone on W2 would be obviously best as you get SSA credits (although might not make a difference once you start actually receiving SSA).

Moving is expensive, so moving for a job might not be great if you have ties. Moving for opportunity is more for the young at heart but should be a last resort.

Look at the thread someone posted recently on this forum about cutting costs.

Even if you worked at terrible job that wasn't for you on W2 for even two years and were let go you would be better positioned than no income. You would then get Unemployment Insurance and some more SSA added to your final payout vs doing nothing. Good luck. This forum is great and should help guide you. Try to earn enough to at least protect your principle.

Any investments / fixed income coming your way at any later date? I am trying to separate short term separation anxiety and see what you really have as a timeframe to work with. That should calm once you plan it out.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:26 AM   #19
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Hard to give guidance without some idea of your assets.

In fact ACA insurance might be considerably cheaper then faith based depending on your income and won't have a pre-existing conditions waiver.

If you are so inclined tell us a little bit about your savings and the amount of your SS. In fact for one person taking SS at an early age is statistically neutral.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:26 AM   #20
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Do yourself a favor and file with unemployment. It doesn’t mater that they say they don’t contribute. You have to file and let them make the determination.
+1 Agreed. File, and speak to UI office if you can. Ive been told if let go, file immediately regardless the scenario and who says what.
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AA (Stock/Bond/Cash ): 99/0/1% MIX (Small/Mid/Large): 50/25/25% BLEND(US/Foreign): 100/0%, REIT (Real Estate Equity): 50% of Assets

FIRE in 2031 @ 50yrs old (+/- 2yrs) w/ a hypothetical $2.5mil portfolio, 3 appreciated homes worth $1.0mil and rental income to fund my gap years until RMD. Assets will go to an inherited IRA where I plan on watching the investments grow until I die or the trust gets executed.
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