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Unemployed = Early retirement for me?
Old 10-14-2010, 02:40 PM   #1
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Unemployed = Early retirement for me?

Hi, I am a new member that has been lurking for several months and decided to join in the fun! I'm not sure I have much advice to give but I know I have lots to learn.

I am a 52 yr old female and am laid off from my job. I am a computer programmer but I think I will have a tough time finding another job since I have not kept my skills up to date. Who would hire a 52 yr old when they could hire a recent college grad with the latest skills? So I am thinking this might lead to an early retirement for me.

My DH is 55 and is eligible to retire from the federal govt in a few months but plans on retiring in about 3-4 years. We want to help pay for my youngest son's college tuition.

I have 3 sons. The oldest has left the nest and is independent. The middle one is a recent college grad with a fulltime job in his field and is currently living at home. The youngest is a freshman in college.

I chose my username NervousNellie since I am nervous about the future. We have always lived below our means but I'm not sure how living on one income will be. I'm sure we can make it on one income but we probably will need to cut back some. We haven't tracked our spending in over 15 years. In the past we would just transfer any excess money to savings every few months. I plan to start tracking our spending in January. This should help us now and in the future for our retirement planning.

I'm looking forward to reading/posting and getting to know everyone.

NervousNellie
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:48 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. Aside from tracking your expenses, have you checked out Firecalc?

It may help answer some of your concerns, after which you can change your forum name to just Nellie .

Share as much as you feel comfortable here regarding your specifics and I am sure you'll get lots of good advice.
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Old 10-14-2010, 03:18 PM   #3
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Welcome.

I've found that when I am anxious, it really helps to have information to help me assess my risk. In your case, knowing what your expenses are now and will be in the future would seem to be critical, as well as knowing your DH's projected income in retirement.

I'd start tracking expenses now.
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Old 10-14-2010, 03:27 PM   #4
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Hello Nellie! I was a long-time IT professional laid off from my job at the age of 48, and that turned into ER for me. My first bit of advice would be to start tracking your expenses now. Why wait 3 months? How much you need to spend is one of the most important factors in determining if you can call this retirement. If you use some Quicken-type of software to track your finances, you can probably pull in the last few months of transactions from your credit cards and checking accounts and that gives you an even bigger head start in knowing what your expenses are. The software I use is called Moneydance, but there are plenty of others.

Good luck with your research and I hope everything works out for you and your family.
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:20 PM   #5
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Welcome Nellie! Tons of useful (and useless fun stuff too!) here on the board!
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:27 PM   #6
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Hello Nellie

If you would like to w*rk, I would not give up quite yet. Even if standard jobs are scarce in your skills area, the general ability to negotiate systems is still highly prized.
In the kingdom of the blind the one eyed person is king . Many non profits and school systems routinely hire older flexible hours workers. We hired the PT person in our office at the age of 55.
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:30 PM   #7
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My DH is 55 and is eligible to retire from the federal govt in a few months

NervousNellie

FERS or CSRS?
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Old 10-14-2010, 05:08 PM   #8
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Hello Nello, or Hellie Nellie,

If I were you I'd start tracking expenses asap! It just means that 3 months sooner, you will have a year's worth of expense tracking to look at and analyze.

I now have almost 2 years' worth of down-to-the-dollar tracking, thanks to encouragement from this forum, and the data are really starting to be useful in projections, conversations with husband, etc.

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Old 10-14-2010, 05:45 PM   #9
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If those old, outdated skills include things like COBOL, FORTRAN, PL/I, JCL of any flavor, old databases that aren't supported any longer or any number of other skills that are no longer taught in schools (and, which the kids just out of school are not interested in learning), you might be surprised at just how valuable you are. If you do not need full timer security and are willing to do some travelling, you might really be able to pull down some serious hourly wages on a contract/consulting basis.

Good luck with whatever path you take; I may not be that far behind you.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:05 PM   #10
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Welcome Nellie! At least you can rest assured you and DH will always be covered nicely under FEHB - federal employee health benefit. Health care for your family is one huge expense, risk, and worry out of the way.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
Welcome aboard. Aside from tracking your expenses, have you checked out Firecalc?

It may help answer some of your concerns, after which you can change your forum name to just Nellie .

Share as much as you feel comfortable here regarding your specifics and I am sure you'll get lots of good advice.
Thanks Rich. Yes I have run Firecalc and several other retirement calculators with the estimated pensions and estimated SS. The only big question I have is the income we need. I used a guesstimate for it! That is why I want to start tracking our current expenses.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
Welcome.

I've found that when I am anxious, it really helps to have information to help me assess my risk. In your case, knowing what your expenses are now and will be in the future would seem to be critical, as well as knowing your DH's projected income in retirement.

I'd start tracking expenses now.
My DH just ordered Quicken from Amazon. I previously used an older version of Quicken to keep track/balance our checkbook. I could probably get some expenses from the old files I just would not know what we spent the cash stream withdrawal money for (any we made many of those withdrawals )!
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by JoeDreaming View Post
Hello Nellie! I was a long-time IT professional laid off from my job at the age of 48, and that turned into ER for me. My first bit of advice would be to start tracking your expenses now. Why wait 3 months? How much you need to spend is one of the most important factors in determining if you can call this retirement. If you use some Quicken-type of software to track your finances, you can probably pull in the last few months of transactions from your credit cards and checking accounts and that gives you an even bigger head start in knowing what your expenses are. The software I use is called Moneydance, but there are plenty of others.

Good luck with your research and I hope everything works out for you and your family.

Thanks. Quicken ordered today.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:27 PM   #14
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FERS or CSRS?
CSRS Offset
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:37 PM   #15
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Welcome Nellie! At least you can rest assured you and DH will always be covered nicely under FEHB - federal employee health benefit. Health care for your family is one huge expense, risk, and worry out of the way.
Yes that is one thing I am thankful for! If they ever talk about changing the retirement health plan and grandfathering current retirees klready enrolled then I am sure DH would retire asap whether my youngest son was finished with college or not!
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:40 PM   #16
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If those old, outdated skills include things like COBOL, FORTRAN, PL/I, JCL of any flavor, old databases that aren't supported any longer or any number of other skills that are no longer taught in schools (and, which the kids just out of school are not interested in learning), you might be surprised at just how valuable you are. If you do not need full timer security and are willing to do some travelling, you might really be able to pull down some serious hourly wages on a contract/consulting basis.

Good luck with whatever path you take; I may not be that far behind you.
Fortran and C here. Very little experience with the Object Oriented languages (C++ or Java) or web programming which is what all of the jobs here seem to be looking for.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:41 PM   #17
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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome.

NervousNellie (NN)
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:23 PM   #18
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Fortran and C here. Very little experience with the Object Oriented languages (C++ or Java) or web programming which is what all of the jobs here seem to be looking for.
I learned Fortran on an IBM 7094
Damn near killed me

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Old 10-14-2010, 08:39 PM   #19
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I chose my username NervousNellie since I am nervous about the future.
Have you considered a more hopeful name such as Positive_Paula? It might help with your outlook.
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:31 PM   #20
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Have you considered a more hopeful name such as Positive_Paula? It might help with your outlook.
I might be ready to change names in a year or so after I track our expenses and am convinced we are OK on one income!
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