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"Unemployed" or "Retired" Status
Old 04-01-2011, 10:34 PM   #1
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"Unemployed" or "Retired" Status

A broker mistyped my employment status as "unemployed" instead of "retired" on a 401K to IRA roll-over application form. It was a dumb mistake because the same institution manages my company's pension which I now receive. Maybe it is because I'm younger than normal retirement age.

I voluntarily retired after almost 30 years at the same company and being listed "unemployed" sounds like I'm a "slacker" somehow. I have no plans to obtain employment again.

She suggested that I corrected it on the form and initial both of our copies but I'm wondering if I need to follow-up to make sure the correction was made permanent in my files. I don't want to make more out of this than necessary.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:02 PM   #2
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I don't want to make more out of this than necessary.
Unless I'm overlooking some possible legal ramification in being identified as "unemployed" instead of "retired," you've already made more out of this than necessary. I'd strongly recommend forgetting about it and focusing on enjoying your "retirement." Maybe a new hobby or a long trip would help you get your mind redirected..........
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:13 PM   #3
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Unless there is a legal, tax or entitlement issues, I would let it go.

That said, when I eventually retire, I am intending to list my occupation as "company director" otherwise:

(i) some banks will/may refuse to allow me to invest in some products if I am unemployed or retired; and

(ii) in some countries, there are issues with getting tourist visas if you are unemployed or retired.

I did consider listing my post-retirement occupation as "professional investor" but that has potential tax implications.

Lastly, if you ever decide to go back to work, putting the gap down to retirement rather than unemployed looks better on your CV.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:21 PM   #4
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My DW and I just retired and we announced to our family and friends that we are now unemployed.

I talked to our car insurance agents to change our usage status of our cars and told them we are unemployed.

I really don't think it matters.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:26 PM   #5
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Changing the form and initialing the change doesn't seem very hard. I would just do that. Just because I can't imagine circumstances in which it would matter doesn't mean there aren't any. (Call me paranoid.)
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:01 AM   #6
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Changing the form and initialing the change doesn't seem very hard. I would just do that. Just because I can't imagine circumstances in which it would matter doesn't mean there aren't any. (Call me paranoid.)
I would do this myself because I am pedantic.

However, whatever is listed as your employment status on your broker's record doesn't really matter.

In applying a lease for this house we are renting at the moment the leasing company wanted proof of income so it didn't matter what employment status my broker or bank has, or what I told the leasing company, I either had to produce a pay stub or pension statement or pay 6 months in advance.
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:47 AM   #7
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I may choose to call myself a "retirement plan administrator" when the time comes. I am actually listed as the administrator on DW's solo 401k, so what if it takes me 15 minutes a year to administrate?
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:54 AM   #8
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Unless I'm overlooking some possible legal ramification in being identified as "unemployed" instead of "retired," you've already made more out of this than necessary. I'd strongly recommend forgetting about it and focusing on enjoying your "retirement." Maybe a new hobby or a long trip would help you get your mind redirected..........
Agree; BTW, I'll be "unemployed" four years on May 1st, due to my decision to leave the w*rkforce before "traditional age" (whatever that is). Call me what you will, it doesn’t matter...
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:37 AM   #9
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If you change it to "retired" then your IRA financial institution will know to start sending you ads related to being retired. When I retired Fidelity started sending me financial planning info because they knew I had separated from my workplace.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by GregLee
Changing the form and initialing the change doesn't seem very hard. I would just do that. Just because I can't imagine circumstances in which it would matter doesn't mean there aren't any. (Call me paranoid.)
I totally agree so I did just that. There may have been an advantage to retaining the other label, however.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:34 AM   #11
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Agree; BTW, I'll be "unemployed" four years on May 1st, due to my decision to leave the w*rkforce before "traditional age" (whatever that is). Call me what you will, it doesn’t matter...
Yep.

I've been "unemployed" since 6/2006, at age 58, when MegaCorp threw my sorry ass out. I mean walked me out the door and sent be sliding across the parking lot on my butt. Oh the pain and anguish of landing in that briar patch! Being "unemployed" got me severance, unemployment benefits and the sympathy of buddies at the pub. Having an adequate FIRE portfolio, a pension and retiree health care allowed me to not seriously look for work (beyond the level required to qualify for unemployment benefits).

It's really been my choice to pick the term "unemployed" or "retired" since MegaCorp picked the date but I had enough seniority that my retiree benefits were vested. And I prefer the term "unemployed" since some financial benefits came attached to that. Even now, five happy years of RE later, I prefer the term "long term unemployed" to "retired."

Maybe I'm a little short in the personal pride department when it comes to labels?
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:47 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=youbet;1054792]I prefer the term "long term unemployed" to "retired."
QUOTE]

I like this. This will be my new calling.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:51 AM   #13
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Maybe I'm a little short in the personal pride department when it comes to labels?
"Personal pride" dosen't pay the bills ...

That's all that matters, retired, unemployed, or other...

Call me what you wish; just don't call me late to a meal...
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:02 AM   #14
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I noticed a few years ago when I was dating extensively that many of the gals I met were either "artists" or "self employed". I came to realize that this is a polite way of saying unemployed. So, there are a couple of other monikers for your condition.
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:48 AM   #15
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I prefer beach bum, but any of these would suffice as well:

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Old 04-02-2011, 11:55 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by youbet

Yep.

I've been "unemployed" since 6/2006, at age 58, when MegaCorp threw my sorry ass out. I mean walked me out the door and sent be sliding across the parking lot on my butt. Oh the pain and anguish of landing in that briar patch! Being "unemployed" got me severance, unemployment benefits and the sympathy of buddies at the pub. Having an adequate FIRE portfolio, a pension and retiree health care allowed me to not seriously look for work (beyond the level required to qualify for unemployment benefits).

It's really been my choice to pick the term "unemployed" or "retired" since MegaCorp picked the date but I had enough seniority that my retiree benefits were vested. And I prefer the term "unemployed" since some financial benefits came attached to that. Even now, five happy years of RE later, I prefer the term "long term unemployed" to "retired."

Maybe I'm a little short in the personal pride department when it comes to labels?
I can see why YOU have realized financial benefits from the label. (I also understand the root of the cynicism in your earlier post.). I don't qualify for unemployment or severance but I'll keep an eye out for other unemployment perks. Nowadays, the pubs are pretty full.
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:19 PM   #17
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I can see why YOU have realized financial benefits from the label. (I also understand the root of the cynicism in your earlier post.). I don't qualify for unemployment or severance but I'll keep an eye out for other unemployment perks. Nowadays, the pubs are pretty full.
No cynicism meant or implied Beryl. I was really just surprised that you seemed sensitive to the "unemployed" label as it really doesn't mean anything and, in your case, would not be viewable by anyone. Just a piece of paper in a file cabinet.

I understand the issue of retirement vs. being laid off with retirement benefits very well. At the rapidly shrinking MegaCorp where I toiled for many years, there was a lot of down-sizing going on as I reached the vicinity of retirement age. If you retired voluntarily, no severance (which was significant) and no unemployment compensation. If you were laid off and had vested retirement benefits, you got severance and unemployment plus the same retirement benefits as if you had voluntarily retired. You can imagine there was a lot of jostling around by folks who wanted to be laid off and folks that didn't trying to get on the right lists!

In the end, I think most ready-to-retire folks got what they wanted. A few who wanted to be laid off weren't and wound up retiring voluntarily (without severance and UI), but not too many. Now the severance packages have been cut back severely, layoffs are fewer and things seem to be stabilizing a bit. Sadly, thousands of not-ready-to-retire folks also got cut and a severance package and unemployment benefits don't go very far when you planned on working for another decade or so.

I suppose during the fray we did develop a rather cavilier attitude about terms such as "retired" and "unemployed."

I hope you're enjoying your retirement as much as I'm enjoying my long term unemployment! FIRE is great, isn't it?
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:32 PM   #18
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She suggested that I corrected it on the form and initial both of our copies but I'm wondering if I need to follow-up to make sure the correction was made permanent in my files. I don't want to make more out of this than necessary.
Make the change and you will feel better about it.
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by youbet

I understand the issue of retirement vs. being laid off with retirement benefits very well. At the rapidly shrinking MegaCorp where I toiled for many years, there was a lot of down-sizing going on as I reached the vicinity of retirement age. If you retired voluntarily, no severance (which was significant) and no unemployment compensation. If you were laid off and had vested retirement benefits, you got severance and unemployment plus the same retirement benefits as if you had voluntarily retired. You can imagine there was a lot of jostling around by folks who wanted to be laid off and folks that didn't trying to get on the right lists!

I hope you're enjoying your retirement as much as I'm enjoying my long term unemployment! FIRE is great, isn't it?
For over 1 year I tried to get on a list. I finally got added late last year but HR pulled me off since they heard I wanted to RE. The only consolation was the knowledge that no other name was added so I saved a job. For a moment, I considered staying just to make them fire me. It wasn't worth it as I was sick of my MegaCorp.
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Old 04-02-2011, 01:19 PM   #20
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For over 1 year I tried to get on a list. I finally got added late last year but HR pulled me off since they heard I wanted to RE. The only consolation was the knowledge that no other name was added so I saved a job. For a moment, I considered staying just to make them fire me. It wasn't worth it as I was sick of my MegaCorp.
You did the right thing. As long as you have your FIRE status secured, the value of your time far exceeds a few more bux in the portfolio.

This extra information helped me understand the feelings you expressed in your initial post. Still, try not to sweat the small things like labels and leave MegaCorp behind. Enoy yourself. You've earned it!
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