Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Unexpected ER
Old 05-15-2009, 11:08 AM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
growing_older's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,608
Unexpected ER

I've been working my plan towards FIRE and probably have a just a few more years until I'm ready to retire (early). Maybe with the markets so down 5-6 years to go.

My employer has been in trouble with the economy and has been letting people go. I hoped to stay with them until FIRE, but have prudently been piling up cash just in case I got the axe myself. The work has been stressful and the watching people go while wondering am I next has been stressful. In fact, my recent experience with this job has been pretty unhealthy and I know I've gained weight and let myself go while picking up several bad (unhealthy) habits.

I got notice today that I will be laid off in 60 days. Poof - job gone. Many people who were laid off in previous rounds have yet to find employment and from what I'm seeing the job market is still pretty thin around here.

So I need to decide what to do. I think I have three options:

1. Start a job search asap. I've looked in tough markets before and my experience can be adapted to fit many different kinds of jobs. I also have a pretty good network of people I've worked with in the past to draw on. If I go this route I likely take something of a drop in pay, but my plan to FIRE stays close to on track and I've only got a few more years to go.

2. Start ER sooner than I expected - like now. With a tighter budget and a plan to sell my current (too large) house after last kid leaves for college I think I can squeak by, or better if Mr Market cooperates. Kids keep the continuity that the house represents at least through High School. I get an early start on ER. Finances are tight, but I can bail and go back to work if they get too horrible.

3. Take a break. My company will subsidize COBRA. I can collect unemployment while I look for a really good job. I can enjoy the summer (mostly) off and get an early taste of ER lifestyle, without committing to having no more than modest means for the rest of my life. By the end of the year, I can decide whether to ramp up the job search and revive my plan to ER in a couple years (maybe plus 1 or 2 to account for the time off), or decide to commit to staying ER and just scrap the idea of finding a new job.

I probably need some time to mull these over and make a good choice, but for now I'm leaning to #3. It will be hard for me not to launch an immediate job search. I've been unemployed for short stretches in the past when companies failed or closed divisions, but I've always moved quickly to find employment and I can feel myself starting that process in my head. I'm a little bit surprised I'm writing this before I've updated my resume and done an initial job search. Very uncharacteristic.

Anyone faced similar choices: possible ER sooner than you planned, or going back to work? Things to consider or watch out for? Pitfalls?
__________________

__________________
growing_older is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-15-2009, 11:32 AM   #2
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,860
Frank is being laid off at the end of June, and plans to take option 3 (take a break, and then reassess). Probably he can get his house on the market during that time.

You mention that you don't want to sell the house until your children are out of high school - - will that be long? That is something to consider if the extra income from downsizing is part of your ER nestegg.
__________________

__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2009, 11:36 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
I'm sorry to hear about this. But your post almost seems to have an element of relief between the lines.
What was unknown is now concrete.

# 3 looks best if it is affordable, i.e. stay debt free.
Relax, Recoup, Resume...

If you land something now, and that becomes a layoff , how does this affect your unemployent benefits ? Is it more prudent to do a more careful j*b search ?

"last kid leaves for college..." - does this goal still fit in with your layoff? Tough question, but it needs to be answered. Kids may have to delay entry or self finance their tuition.

"sell the house" - cost cutting exercise, will you be taking a loss at the wrong time, what is Plan B for roof over your heads ?
__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2009, 12:55 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
bbbamI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas 'burb
Posts: 9,039
Quote:
Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
I probably need some time to mull these over and make a good choice, but for now I'm leaning to #3.
It sounds like you have already answered your question and have found the right answer for you. FWIW, I vote for this option as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
Anyone faced similar choices: possible ER sooner than you planned, or going back to work? Things to consider or watch out for? Pitfalls?
DH wanted to feather the nest a bit more after he became retirement eligible, but it was not to be. People were getting laid off right and left...when he finally hit his magic number, he volunteered to be cut. We had to trim the budget somewhat, but we're definitely not hurting.

We figured if we REALLY wanted/needed something that was not in the budget, we could get a part time job to make a purchase.

I left mega corp in 1998. Since then I have been doing volunteer work. If I had to go back to work, I could show my prospective employer that I had been involved in my community and my skills are still up to date.

I wish you well.
__________________
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
bbbamI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2009, 02:14 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,616
I think you should take a break while looking for a new job and practicing early retirement.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2009, 04:17 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
growing_older's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,608
Quote:
You mention that you don't want to sell the house until your children are out of high school - - will that be long?
So if I've figured correctly, I can afford to keep the mortgage current for the six years until my youngest starts college - but I'll have to give up on the idea of paying off the balance. If that's right, then I sell and buy something smaller with the proceeds after that. It also fits nicely with option #3 take it easy and see how things develop. Can't predict house prices that far out, but since I know I'll be selling a big house and buying a small one, the ratio should still work in my favor.

Quote:
But your post almost seems to have an element of relief between the lines.
What was unknown is now concrete.
Perceptive, and certainly true. While I loved my work and I used to love working at this employer, working conditions have been terrible for a long time. The end of the waiting for the seemingly inevitable axe to fall is a relief. The "no longer have to put up with this place" is also a big relief.

Quote:
Kids may have to delay entry or self finance their tuition.
Everyone has their own ideas about how much to contribute to kids education. This may be one of the oddest side effects of the whole situation. I do have resources set aside to fund at least part of college costs and planned to pay the rest out of job income. If instead I am on my frugal ER budget with much lower income, I start to qualify for all kinds of college financial aid I didn't qualify for before. I think I have enough set aside to make this possible without overburdening kids. In any case, this is important enough to me that if the plan doesn't work out, I could take a future job just to pay these costs. Personal quirk I guess.

Because of the way this layoff works, I'm going to be working for a while until it takes effect. Will be strange for the folks who aren't laid off, but will also be strange for me. I want to do right by the people still there, but the notion that the work is important enough to give up nights and weekends is no longer a part of my reality. Am looking forward to taking time to redevelop some healthy habits (exercise, good food) that I let lapse in the "fog of work" and hopefully that also makes it easier to sort out my #1, #2, #3 options.
__________________
growing_older is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2009, 04:27 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 7,408
Well - I took option 3 - Jan 1, 1993. This summer I will be 66 - old enough for regular retirement.

heh heh heh -
__________________
unclemick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2009, 04:59 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
Delawaredave5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 606
I don't know what you do, but I would consider freelance / contractor / consulting work - you'd get a part time break, you'd stay engaged in your industry, you build contacts.

Full time ER sounds scary to me with kid still in school.

Full time job hunting sounds futile given the economy - gotta wait until some of this blows over.
__________________
Delawaredave5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2009, 11:47 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DangerMouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 1,812
For me, I would not FIRE now if I thought there was an real potential of having to go back to work. I pulled the plug on full time work in July last year, and consulted at my former company until Feb. I'm now looking to go back to work and have to say have zero enthusiasm for the task.

If you can get something part time or contract I would take it so when you do reach the point you believe you are FIRED you will never have to go back.
__________________

I be a girl, he's a boy. Think I maybe FIRED since July 08. Mid 40s, no kidlets. Actually am totally clueless as to what is going on with DH.
DangerMouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2009, 12:24 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
dex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5,105
I would lean towards #3 for the reasons you gave but more importantly:
1. to get your head together - if you are not excited about getting back to work it will show in the interview and you will have burned some options
2. Health - get check ups now; lose weight and get rid of those bad habits - people like to hire healthy fit people
3. If you decide to go back to work you will be focused, mentally and physically fit.

If you do #3 don't waste the opportunity by sitting in front of the TV eatting bon bons and wathing Oprha.
__________________
Sometimes death is not as tragic as not knowing how to live. This man knew how to live--and how to make others glad they were living. - Jack Benny at Nat King Cole's funeral
dex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2009, 02:16 PM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
For me, I would not FIRE now if I thought there was an real potential of having to go back to work. I pulled the plug on full time work in July last year, and consulted at my former company until Feb. I'm now looking to go back to work and have to say have zero enthusiasm for the task.
This is stuff of my nightmares. If I ever get to retire, I pray I'll never need to go back to work. Hopefully DangerMouse, this won't be as bad as it sounds.
__________________
bubba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2009, 02:36 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,099
Quote:
Originally Posted by dex View Post
If you do #3 don't waste the opportunity by sitting in front of the TV eatting bon bons and wathing Oprha.
One man's "waste of opportunity" is another woman's "died and gone to heaven"...
__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2009, 02:46 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
One man's "waste of opportunity" is another woman's "died and gone to heaven"...
Hey, I heard that!
I would go back to w*rk before I turned on daytime TV.
However, I will confess to mid-day chocolate snacking. Just a half of a plain chocolate candy bar. Honest!
__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2009, 02:52 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
mickeyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: South Texas~29N/98W
Posts: 5,881
Quote:
Anyone faced similar choices: possible ER sooner than you planned, or going back to work? Things to consider or watch out for? Pitfalls?
Hey g o.

I dare say that a significant number of those who post here are among the ER group because of being laid off/let go/unfairly discriminated because of age/fired. I count myself in that group. If you have an ER plan already, this would be an excellent time to test it out, and if after a few months, it looks like it will work for you in the long run, your decision will be easier to make.

After being cut loose of my job a few years ago, I sent off about a thousand copies of my resume and finally realized that it was not going to happen and I was living pretty darn well on my ER plan without realizing it.

After giving up on full time work possibilities, I was swamped with many temp and part time opportunities that I can pick over and w**k or not w**k as I see fit to decide.
__________________
Part-Owner of Texas

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

In dire need of: faster horses, younger woman, older whiskey, more money.
mickeyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2009, 10:05 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
growing_older's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,608
Quote:
I would lean towards #3 for the reasons you gave but more importantly:
1. to get your head together - if you are not excited about getting back to work it will show in the interview and you will have burned some options
2. Health - get check ups now; lose weight and get rid of those bad habits - people like to hire healthy fit people
3. If you decide to go back to work you will be focused, mentally and physically fit.

If you do #3 don't waste the opportunity by sitting in front of the TV eating bon bons and watching Oprah.
This is sounding like pretty convincing advice. Only 2 years ago I was happy with my physical conditioning. It's amazing how quickly the work stress and resulting bad habits piled up into downright unhealthy. It would be very gratifying to get that back - plus the mental benefits of being in better shape as well.

I've done a quick search for jobs and often there are things I could do, but only every month or two are there jobs listed which are exactly a fit with what I've been doing. I'm considering waiting for one of these "perfect fit" opportunities before doing much applying. Frustratingly, there is one available right now. Do I jump on it, because who knows how long before another might pop up? Do I want to risk further deterioration in the job market? Do I want to give up on my opportunity to decompress for a few months?

I just checked the unemployment benefits website and it looks like I'm entitled to a benefit very nearly as big as my monthly expenses. If that's true - maybe I can afford to be extra particular for six months or so and only entertain work if the situation is really really good. Otherwise I can take my sabbatical and see how ER suits me with less of a nest egg than my planning had me shooting for.

I don't want to be gaming the system, but I'm gradually talking myself into believing that this is a legitimate use of unemployment benefits. Am I fooling myself?
__________________
growing_older is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2009, 11:32 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Spanky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 4,046
Quote:
I don't want to be gaming the system, but I'm gradually talking myself into believing that this is a legitimate use of unemployment benefits. Am I fooling myself?
It's your entitlement -- you have earned it. Take a break and recoup. You will see the light and know exactly what to do next.
__________________
May we live in peace and harmony and be free from all human sufferings.
Spanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2009, 10:18 AM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
mickeyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: South Texas~29N/98W
Posts: 5,881
Quote:
I don't want to be gaming the system, but I'm gradually talking myself into believing that this is a legitimate use of unemployment benefits. Am I fooling myself?
No or course not, unless you consider using your employer provided health benefits as gaming the system, or accepting your employer's 401(k) match as gaming the system.

All benefits, including unemployment comp, should be considered by employees as part of their compensation package. If unemployment comp were not available to you, you would be receiving a higher salary from the employer.
__________________
Part-Owner of Texas

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

In dire need of: faster horses, younger woman, older whiskey, more money.
mickeyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2009, 11:24 AM   #18
Full time employment: Posting here.
cardude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 599
I would pick door number three after having a similiar experience. I had been trying to ER for years but could never pull the plug. The economy pulled the plug for me recently and it has been pretty good. We are having to make some of the same adjustments you are (like selling the big house we bought two years ago), but it looks like it is going to be OK. I was freaking out at first, but I'm freaking out less now.

I am also running every other day and working out on my crazy paddling machine-- trying to get back into some kind of surfing shape so I can resume that activity (which I put off the last couple of years while my business went down the tubes).
__________________
cardude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2009, 03:31 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Lsbcal's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: west coast, hi there!
Posts: 5,678
Quote:
Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
...
Everyone has their own ideas about how much to contribute to kids education. This may be one of the oddest side effects of the whole situation. I do have resources set aside to fund at least part of college costs and planned to pay the rest out of job income. If instead I am on my frugal ER budget with much lower income, I start to qualify for all kinds of college financial aid I didn't qualify for before. I think I have enough set aside to make this possible without overburdening kids. In any case, this is important enough to me that if the plan doesn't work out, I could take a future job just to pay these costs. Personal quirk I guess.
....
I chose to focus on this aspect of your situation. Hopefully your kids are hard workers and resourceful, bright, and cheerful. Why not discuss the situation with them and determine how much they can contribute to their own education. They could start with summer jobs. They could push to enhance their college resume in order to qualify for more educational assistance. They could read up more on college scholarship offerings and target many of these. They could pester the school counselor for ideas on financing college and the best colleges to consider. There are probably more ideas out there I don't know about.

Our son delayed college because he was not motivated. Now he is highly motivated and taking courses at the local JC. He will be transferring to a state college. Because he is 24 he qualifies for more scholarships then if he had to report our income and net worth. Just an upside to living with a kid's quirks until he gets his act together .
__________________
Lsbcal is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2009, 05:22 PM   #20
Full time employment: Posting here.
Delawaredave5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 606
I don't think I could voluntarily ER with kids in high school - three reasons:

1. Role Model: kids gotta see adults working. When I was a kid, adults left house early and came home dirty and tired. Now-a-days, kids see everyone dressed casually and coming home relaxed. I may sound like an "old fart" - but I think it impacts kids attitudes towards work.

2. "Paying your own way" through college ain't what it used to be. College costs have risen much greater than unskilled wages. 20 years ago I knew a lot of kids who had manufacturing and/or technician jobs that paid 2-3x minimum wage - and you could work your way through school with no support from Mom and Dad. I don't see how anyone can work for $7/hour at Home Depot and make it these days - let alone pay for school.

3. College is the "new high school". Like it or not, I think a college degree is becoming a requirement like a high school degree used to be. I am amazed at the customer service reps I talk to on the phone with college degrees.

Re-reading above, my wife is right -- I am like my father more and more as I get older.....
__________________

__________________
Delawaredave5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Unexpected expenses FinallyRetired FIRE and Money 61 02-06-2013 12:12 PM
CTA with unexpected finding dwk Health and Early Retirement 2 01-10-2007 09:09 PM
Unexpected Job Offer RockMiner Other topics 7 01-07-2006 10:57 AM
Unexpected Donation moghopper FIRE and Money 7 06-21-2005 11:34 AM
Expect the unexpected mickeyd Young Dreamers 6 12-26-2004 02:17 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:23 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.