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Struggling
Old 07-26-2007, 09:28 AM   #1
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Struggling

I am 46 Married with 2 kids and own a home that has an equity of 380000. Mortgage of 130000 . I have 3 years of private college in business admin but ran out of funds to finish.

I work for a local govt. job making 27000 for 11 years but it is not a career. 8 years of those was contract with the local govt. After the contract ended we transitioned to the local government. For the first 8 years I was making 36000 and when we trasitioned, since the local govt was so cheap and was having financial difficulties we were just offered 23500. So my total years with the local govt is 3 years. In those 11 years I worked so hard to promote myself but to no avail. It seems like working in this place has so much politics, big knives to slash your throats that you get sucked in waiting. In the outside the perception from friends and family our family looked good because I work for the local govt but in reality it was miserable. I am a bright individual and so many people say that I should have been promoted and fit for a job or promotion. Those good people have left and moved on because the writing was on the wall. The workplace now is so unbearable that Finally my days are numbered and I am having anxiety attack for starting over.

My wife who also worked started in the bottom worked her way up to managers position. She only has an associates degree. She has a bright future I think. Never know what lies ahead. She works for a private entity. She started at 25000 and now makes 70000 a year.

Our finances
janus roth 34000 money market was in equities but switched to MM in feb.07
wifes janus roth 34000 money market same situation

Me vanguard index 500 102000
wife index 500 $50000

tiaa cref for me 39000
wife trowe target fund retirement $70000

savings wife 120000
my savings 20000

govt retirement fund $4000 that I think I will never see because I am not vested i think.

We are trying to reach critical mass and now since my days are numbered I am having anxiety attack. I like to work and I can handle big task and projects. It seems like I always end up in a dead end job. I am not demeaning my wife or my younger sister but I am smarter than them and they make more. They always ask me questions and advice. I have a good personality but just have bad luck.

I can't believe that after all this year I am starting over.

How can we improve our lives? We are so frugal that this is the best we can do.

We have no debt except for a $24000 car.

We want to buy a business but we are afraid to lose our money. With the monies we have can we generate income from it?

Sorry if I am not making sense as I am under pressure and can't think straight.

thanks
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:45 AM   #2
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Steve, while the book is a bit light, I've found 'The Perfect Business' by LeBoeuf. I think that will lower your anxiety on starting a business a little bit.

In the mean time, is it possible for you to target another opportunity at a different company or are you in a position where a lateral move doesn't make sense?
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:00 AM   #3
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A lateral move doesn't make sense because I feel the government worker are like robots. The POLITICS is incredible. I tried to fit in, go to lunches, after work, birthdays, picnics, you name it I have done it all. They like me to work there but they don't want to promote me. I have tried talking to other departments and it is so cutthroat that they don't even want to discuss their job.

Here is a good example of the people who I work with. I work with this individual who has no skill and she was working at a shelter. She only finished H.S. She was big breasted. My former boss brought her in because they dated. Promoted her in 2 years and now she makes over 50000. Oh I can only dream of that measly 50000 but I wouldn't mind making that. I could save faster.

You guys think my asset allocation is fine?
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:15 AM   #4
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I see no reason why you cannot be looking for another job now. You did not list your expenses, but if wife makes $70K and you make $27K and you have $140K in "savings", I see no reason why you cannot stop work for a couple of years while looking for a better job.

You asked if your asset allocation was fine. I do not think so. For the best asset allocation advice, go present yourself on the Diehards forum where they live to give asset allocation advice: Bogleheads :: View Forum - Investing and Personal Finance

[Edit] I see you have already posted on the Diehards forum asking for AA advice. Never mind!
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:40 AM   #5
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I agree with LOL with respect to finding a new job. I totally understand that some (many) people are risk and/or life-change averse. But it is totally obvious from reading your post that you need to look for a new job, AND not stress so much given that you and your wife will not go bankrupt without your money for a while.

Don't look at it as totally starting over. Hell, you could find a job making more money in a managerial role and actually gain the promotion you are seeking. Many, many people practice the promotion-through-company-change philosophy and it has worked. Don't be afraid to change your life if you're miserable. I know it's easy for me to say, but you are probably not in as bad a shape as you feel.
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:53 AM   #6
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A lateral move doesn't make sense because I feel the government worker are like robots.
But, what about a move into private industry? Don't look at it as a career (unless you want to), just look at it as a stabilizing move until you get other things going.
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Old 07-26-2007, 11:25 AM   #7
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Have you thought about returning to school to complete your degree?
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Old 07-26-2007, 11:35 AM   #8
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Not sure what you mean by struggling. Sounds more like complete frustation with your current gov job.

Financially speaking, I think your family is way above the average. With over 400K in saving/retirement, and 250K in home equity, and at only 47 years of age, your family is more than ok.

So, if it's just the job, then I would suggest taking few weeks break to decompress and then look for another job. I don't think you can do worse than your current 23.5K job.

Welcome and good luck.
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Old 07-26-2007, 12:43 PM   #9
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I guess it's very frustrating when you see everyone is getting ahead while you are still "struggling."
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:05 PM   #10
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Have you thought about returning to school to complete your degree?
I second that ! I would even consider taking money out of of your Roth account to pay for it (while you continue with your current job). That "sheepskin" does help open a lot of doors, or at least prevent them from being closed in your face !

But first, chill out ! You have to lower your blood pressure or you'll never make it to retirement ! I'm serious about this !

I agree with Sam, that you are probably ahead of the average 47 year old on savings for retirement.

I would not risk buying a business, unless you are buying into an existing business were the owner agrees to stay on for a few years (5?) until you really understand the business. This way you could defer some (50% ?) of the costs.

Also be careful about relocating for a new job. Your wife could have a very difficult time finding work at the same salary.

This happened with my sister and her husband. He quit his federal government job after 19 years because he realized that the politics would not let him advance, even though he was best qualified. He took a job in a different state, for less starting pay, because it had much better growth potential (which has now proved out !). Even though my sister had a Masters Degree and years of experience in the computer business, she could not find anything except entry level jobs. Luckily after 2 years, she did find a good job. She is now is working for the local government, but likes it. Of course, she is the department head !
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
I see no reason why you cannot be looking for another job now. You did not list your expenses, but if wife makes $70K and you make $27K and you have $140K in "savings", I see no reason why you cannot stop work for a couple of years while looking for a better job.

You asked if your asset allocation was fine. I do not think so. For the best asset allocation advice, go present yourself on the Diehards forum where they live to give asset allocation advice: Bogleheads :: View Forum - Investing and Personal Finance

[Edit] I see you have already posted on the Diehards forum asking for AA advice. Never mind!
Our expenses are very minimal. Food, kids in sports but not extreme. Mortgage of $800 and car payment.
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:26 PM   #12
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I agree with LOL with respect to finding a new job. I totally understand that some (many) people are risk and/or life-change averse. But it is totally obvious from reading your post that you need to look for a new job, AND not stress so much given that you and your wife will not go bankrupt without your money for a while.

Don't look at it as totally starting over. Hell, you could find a job making more money in a managerial role and actually gain the promotion you are seeking. Many, many people practice the promotion-through-company-change philosophy and it has worked. Don't be afraid to change your life if you're miserable. I know it's easy for me to say, but you are probably not in as bad a shape as you feel.
Thank you very much for your encouraging words. It is just amazing that when I started working I asked to take on different task which is not quite difficult. I did this for strategic move. Unfortunately I can't pass the brown nosing mode. I did a balance on the brown nosing but did not work. I did it all and I should have left when all the great people that work there left. I was going to another dept but the person that used to work at our place who was angry at our place became a supervisor of that dept. I tried to apply there but was quickly shut down. So, that was written off. The person that turned me down is terminally ill. I believe that I really qualify for the position I am seeking but they try to find holes why I wouldn't qualify. Oh the politics!
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:29 PM   #13
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If I was in your position.....I would leave and find something better for me.
The worse thing to do is to stay somewhere you hate. You also have the added safety net of your wife's salary and as you have stated....you are quite frugal.
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:31 PM   #14
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But, what about a move into private industry? Don't look at it as a career (unless you want to), just look at it as a stabilizing move until you get other things going.

I am looking into it. I will approach my sis who is a director of a company younger than me but her head has swollen so much that it is falling on deaf ears. The money, what it does to human beings. She forgot all the support I gave her when she was struggling.
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:37 PM   #15
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Have you thought about returning to school to complete your degree?
I fell on financial hard times when I was going through school. I supported myself without going into debt and I neglected to pay the last 2 semester when I was going through school. I called the school and they don't have my records but during this time when I was inquiring I just started a job with the govt. Thinking that I might be able to advance well you know the rest of the story. That is an option. thank you
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:52 PM   #16
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I second that ! I would even consider taking money out of of your Roth account to pay for it (while you continue with your current job). That "sheepskin" does help open a lot of doors, or at least prevent them from being closed in your face !

But first, chill out ! You have to lower your blood pressure or you'll never make it to retirement ! I'm serious about this !

I agree with Sam, that you are probably ahead of the average 47 year old on savings for retirement.

I would not risk buying a business, unless you are buying into an existing business were the owner agrees to stay on for a few years (5?) until you really understand the business. This way you could defer some (50% ?) of the costs.

Also be careful about relocating for a new job. Your wife could have a very difficult time finding work at the same salary.

This happened with my sister and her husband. He quit his federal government job after 19 years because he realized that the politics would not let him advance, even though he was best qualified. He took a job in a different state, for less starting pay, because it had much better growth potential (which has now proved out !). Even though my sister had a Masters Degree and years of experience in the computer business, she could not find anything except entry level jobs. Luckily after 2 years, she did find a good job. She is now is working for the local government, but likes it. Of course, she is the department head !
I can spot politics, bs and robots in the govt a mile away.

I am willing to travel anywhere just to get in the right track. Doing this, I am not considering relocating my wife and kids. I will sacrifice everything as I love my kids very much so much that I am willing to leave all I have for them. I will not wish for them to go through what I am going through.

I found a 13 unit motel that was for sale for 1.6 mil where the owner is willing to accept financing. I looked at it today and the manager said it is a prostitute, drug infested place. I am looking for the diamond in the rough but this one is rough.

I would like to thank everyone who has responded. This site was an eye opener for me. I wish I discovered this place early on. I envy everyone here and the knowledge and intelligence in this place.
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:54 PM   #17
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Steve, you may really wanna think about self-employment in a small business.

It can be very stressful and the public can drive you nuts, but it can also be very fruitful, and the return vs investment can be amazing.

I just turned 30 a few days ago, and am FIREing as soon as my sale/training is all done.

You can get into alot of very good places for pretty cheap too.

(FYI steve I would be VERY careful buying a business where the owner is willing to owner finance)
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:58 PM   #18
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Steve, you may really wanna think about self-employment in a small business.

It can be very stressful and the public can drive you nuts, but it can also be very fruitful, and the return vs investment can be amazing.

I just turned 30 a few days ago, and am FIREing as soon as my sale/training is all done.

You can get into alot of very good places for pretty cheap too.

(FYI steve I would be VERY careful buying a business where the owner is willing to owner finance)
Any place you can direct me for this? I would like to read and keep this as an option. My last day at work will be tomorrow.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:18 PM   #19
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Steve, Thanks for sharing. I don't see struggling from what you just laid out for us. I see frustrated with this job. You are not the job and the job is not you.
I will "third" Spanky's suggestion you return to school. If your personal schedule needs will allow it you could go at night without quitting this job or you could take a less stressful job and go to school or as has been mentioned you could stop working long enough to finish your degree.
It appears you are in a good financial position. Your net worth is nicely on track for a 46 yr old. Your wifes income is 70% of the household take and your only debt beyond the mortgage is a 24,000 car loan. You guys should be able to get by on her income and if you can't selling a car is easy then go buy a $2,000 car (that's what I drive). If your cash flow still seemed tight you have plenty of options with $380,000 in equity you could sell the joint and pay cash for something. You guys could flip burgers for 20 years and cover your grocery bills with no debt. I am not recommending this strategy I just want to point out that you have worked yourself into a nice enough position that you are still set up to win even if some items work against you.
You're on track don't let the other kid's at work get you rattled.
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:20 PM   #20
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I can spot politics, bs and robots in the govt a mile away.

I am willing to travel anywhere just to get in the right track. Doing this, I am not considering relocating my wife and kids. I will sacrifice everything as I love my kids very much so much that I am willing to leave all I have for them. I will not wish for them to go through what I am going through.
Whew!!! Might I point this out to readers who think that government jobs are always a piece of cake!!!

Steve, good luck to you.
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