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Getting laid off better than retiring early?
Old 02-23-2010, 02:36 PM   #1
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Getting laid off better than retiring early?

If your goal is to retire early (before the official retirement date allowed by your company) wouldn't it be better to try to get the company to lay you off or eliminate your position instead of just flat quitting? The implication is you could draw unemployment benefits for a year or so.

I realize the idea is a bit of an ethical dilema but I will be somebody who will have worked my whole life (hopefully) and not drawn one dime of unemployment, food stamps, welfare, etc..... Basically paid "into" the system and not taken any sort of handout or even a subsidized loan. Part of me thinks I could get over the guilt pretty quickly.

As I type this I guess another option would be to just begin doing a lousy job at work and have them fire me. We normally give people some sort of package when we let them go after they have worked there a long time (especially when in a protected class).

Anybody actually done one of these options or at least thought about it? I think of these type things now as I am a "young dreamer" but when push comes to shove, I am guessing I would prefer to keep my reputation and dignity in tact and just push through the finish line with my head held high.
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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I think from purely a financial standpoint, I can see it being a wiser move to wait to get layed off.

But if it's a negative environment, then you gotta stay and put up with all the stuff that goes on while hoping for the layoff. Now, if you were still thinking of working, then how about the option of looking for work elsewhere?

On the otherhand, if you were to just call it a career, I think knowing that you left on your own terms, instead of being forced out the door, it's easier from a emotional standpoint.

Either way, each person has do decide which is best for him or her.
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:52 PM   #3
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I was not asked to vote when I was layed off(age 49). It did successfully tick me off to the point it morphed into ER.

Unemployment(after 16 wks severance pay for 23 yrs of service) and a year and a half later - after umeployment ran out stumbled onto 'big bucks' temp job(aka jobshopper) for about a year.

Somewhere along the way the mental shift between my ears went from unemployed/temp job to 'hey dummy you don't have to work anymore.'

But I was below radar till age 55 - small pension made it official. And then and then I discovered this forum - thus becoming a high class ER.

heh heh heh - less than elegant but I got there.
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:58 PM   #4
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On the otherhand, if you were to just call it a career, I think knowing that you left on your own terms, instead of being forced out the door, it's easier from a emotional standpoint.
That's exactly what happened to me. I executed my planned retirement in early 2007.

A year later, the company announced that their local office (where I worked for almost 30 years) would be shutdown over the next year or so.

Two years to the day after my retirement, the section I worked in (and all the folks in it) was disbanded.

Some of the folks I worked with "felt sorry" for me, since I could have had unemployment insurance for a very long time.

I simply replied that I retired on my terms, on my date. Even staying till the end (just to get U.I.) meant that I would have had to give up two years of my life to remain working there, till the shutdown date.

That was not an option that (even if given) I would take. You can always recover $$$; you can't recover even a second of life that has been lived.

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:06 PM   #5
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As I type this I guess another option would be to just begin doing a lousy job at work and have them fire me. We normally give people some sort of package when we let them go after they have worked there a long time (especially when in a protected class).
This is more likely to result in you being terminated "for cause," which would often make you ineligible for a severance package, and probably ineligible for unemployment insurance as well.

But if you know a layoff is coming and you know you're close to retiring, it might not hurt to suggest to your supervisor that you're willing to go to the head of the line. Not only will it be better for you, but you can go out a hero by possibly saving someone else's j*b. I know some people who have "retired" by doing just that. As to whether you took the unemployment, if you jumped through the hoops you could do so legally (as long as you weren't offered an appropriate j*b), but you'd have to measure it to your own moral compass as to the ethics of it.
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Old 02-23-2010, 03:12 PM   #6
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This is more likely to result in you being terminated "for cause," which would often make you ineligible for a severance package, and probably ineligible for unemployment insurance as well.

But if you know a layoff is coming and you know you're close to retiring, it might not hurt to suggest to your supervisor that you're willing to go to the head of the line. Not only will it be better for you, but you can go out a hero by possibly saving someone else's j*b. I know some people who have "retired" by doing just that. As to whether you took the unemployment, if you jumped through the hoops you could do so legally (as long as you weren't offered an appropriate j*b), but you'd have to measure it to your own moral compass as to the ethics of it.
At my company we almost never terminate mid-level or senior level managers for "cause". The only way this happens is if they clearly violate some company policy. If they are just generally not doing as good of a job as their boss feels like they should, they get a package and it is described as job elimination due to various reasons such as a reorg. We "fired" our CIO a few years back (for good reason as he was totally incompetent) and he collected his full salary for 3 years!
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Old 02-23-2010, 03:26 PM   #7
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I love this forum and enjoy reading all the posts, but a question.....why is drawing unemployment compensation looked upon with such disdain by some of the forum members? Is it illegal? Wasn't it devised for our benefit if/when we are laid off or terminated?
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Old 02-23-2010, 03:43 PM   #8
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I love this forum and enjoy reading all the posts, but a question.....why is drawing unemployment compensation looked upon with such disdain by some of the forum members? Is it illegal? Wasn't it devised for our benefit if/when we are laid off or terminated?
legal or not, here's how different people see it.

Some look at as a form of welfare for the truly needy. If you were to take it, and not be truly needy, then it would be in very bad character.

Others look at it as part of their benefit package to be gamed to their advantage.
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Old 02-23-2010, 03:44 PM   #9
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I love this forum and enjoy reading all the posts, but a question.....why is drawing unemployment compensation looked upon with such disdain by some of the forum members? Is it illegal? Wasn't it devised for our benefit if/when we are laid off or terminated?
I can't speak for anyone but myself, but for me unemployment benefits were intended to be a safety net item to help people get through a period of unemployment until their next job.

To me, if you don't really intend to get another job after being laid off and you are financially able and planning to retire anyway, that's not really what the safety net was intended to be. And it's my opinion that *part* of the reason government finances are so bad is because there are so many people who do feel like they need to figure out a way to "get back some of what they paid in," even if their circumstances don't lend themselves to needing the safety net. And maybe the safety net wouldn't be so costly if people who didn't need it weren't looking for ways to lay on it just to get back some of what they put in.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:55 PM   #10
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I can't speak for anyone but myself, but for me unemployment benefits were intended to be a safety net item to help people get through a period of unemployment until their next job.
Yep. I suspect that's why they are called "Unemployment Benefits" not "Retirement Benefits".
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:21 PM   #11
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I would strongly suggest that you speak to your supervisor and your office manager at the point when you are ready and able to leave and tell them that you would be willing to take a layoff package if the necessity arises. Particularly for a national company, sometimes the office receives a directive of "layoff 10%" or something similar. If you have left, they still have to lay off 10%. When there isn't any fat to cut in an office, you are doing the managers a favor by stopping the loss of a valued employee, and by easing their own emotional pain at having to lay people off - it isn't an easy task, particularly when you run out of people that you want to get rid of, and I suspect that they are more than happy to have the firm pay your severance to spare them the emotional burden of laying off another person who NEEDS that paycheck.

As far as ethics, I'd be just fine with the severance for the reasons I mentioned, but for unemployment, it's a much greyer zone at best ethically.
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:43 PM   #12
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As I understand it, unemployment insurance is to assist with the loss of income while you are between jobs. If you don't intend to seek another job... well, probably already said too much.

As far as a separation package, take whatever is offered and do whatever you want to with it. I have heard of cases where an employer offered larger separation packages to employees who agreed not to file for unemployment benefits. I guess this keeps their unemployment insurance expenses lower -- not really an expert on that subject, though. Maybe somebody else can comment on that. Seems a little sleazy on the surface.

Perhaps you can negotiate a better separation package if you agree not to file for unemployment. Then feel good about not taking unemployment.
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:50 PM   #13
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I remember during my exit interview with my supervisor when I decided to call it a career. He asked if I need the number for filing for unemployment and I said, "nope. I decided to just call it a career and retire."

I don't think I would have truely qualified for unemployment anyhow because the company did offer another position (the option of being outsourced and become a contractor to the company, but initially with same pay and comparable benefits), but I declined the offer to leave on my own terms. I truely decided to call it a career and walk away.

In fact, I just did my taxes for 2009 (my first full year of retirement). It was stranged seeing no W-2s, earned income of zero dollars -- guess that makes it official . I'm retired.
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by skyvue View Post
If your goal is to retire early (before the official retirement date allowed by your company) wouldn't it be better to try to get the company to lay you off or eliminate your position instead of just flat quitting? The implication is you could draw unemployment benefits for a year or so.
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In planning for FIRE it is evident that health insurance is going to be my biggest monthly expense (will not be covered by an employeer plan). Not sure of the details but I hear a lot about Canada's national health care plan. I am sure there must be rules against this but could somebody from the U.S. moved to Canada for retirement and get free (or very cheap) healthcare?
If you're OK with having other Americans subsidizing your retirement under false pretenses through unemployment benefits and having Canadians subsidize your health care also under false pretenses - go for it. With all due respect, you can't be serious...
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:15 PM   #15
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If you're OK with having other Americans subsidizing your retirement under false pretenses through unemployment benefits and having Canadians subsidize your health care also under false pretenses - go for it. With all due respect, you can't be serious...
Isn't that what Social Security and medicare do for most low income people - ie. subsidize their retirement payments and their medical coverage.

Let's not get all moralistic here.
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:19 PM   #16
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Got to stop reading these so fast...

I thought it was "getting laid better than retiring early".... and I was wondering what the answers were going to be....
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:20 PM   #17
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Let's not get all moralistic here.
Yep. No room for morals or ethics in a discussion of government benefits....
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:23 PM   #18
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Isn't that what Social Security and medicare do for most low income people - ie. subsidize their retirement payments and their medical coverage.

Let's not get all moralistic here.
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I assume he's nowhere near low income if a) he can afford to retire early and b) he seems to associate himself with mid- or senior level Managers. In the end it's his decision, but we don't have to condone it IMO.
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At my company we almost never terminate mid-level or senior level managers for "cause". The only way this happens is if they clearly violate some company policy. If they are just generally not doing as good of a job as their boss feels like they should, they get a package and it is described as job elimination due to various reasons such as a reorg. We "fired" our CIO a few years back (for good reason as he was totally incompetent) and he collected his full salary for 3 years!
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:45 PM   #19
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Got to stop reading these so fast...

I thought it was "getting laid better than retiring early".... and I was wondering what the answers were going to be....
yes getting laid is better than getting laid off. Either way though - you are screwed
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:45 PM   #20
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Midpack,
I would not be looking to do anything illegal, ever. The moving to canada question was a pretty nieve and basic question. Can you move to Canada and get free health care? If it were legal and possible why wouldn't someone? (I assumed it was not possible or else they would be flooded with retired americans.) As I said in the thread, I would be spending at least $70K per year in Canada and paying sales tax (i assume) on most of those purchases so I wouldn't look at that as doing anything wrong if it were allowed.

In this thread I asked about asking my employer to lay me off instead of retiring. No false pretenses from my point of view because I would be able to be open about my plans with my employer. I can see how some would have a problem with collecting unemployment if I didn't plan to go back to work. I acknowledged this in my original post as I have mixed feelings on it as well.
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