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SO unemployed--how have you adjusted financially?
Old 10-28-2020, 08:00 AM   #1
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SO unemployed--how have you adjusted financially?

My SO was laid off right before lockdown and hasn't been able to find a job since--going on 9 months now. He's gotten a few interviews, but with all the uncertainty there just aren't a lot of opportunities coming in.

We have typically paid our equal share and have always had a healthy money relationship. But now with employment looking unfavorable near term (maybe until pandemic subsides??), I'm wondering if I shouldn't pitch in more to our joint expenses temporarily until he finds something. My job is secure and I can do so without jeopardizing my financial goals. He had a good sized emergency fund, but it's dwindling and I know the stress is building.

How have you all dealt with this kind of thing? I feel like I'm being stingy not offering up some help given the circumstances, but honestly I've never been in this position before so struggling a bit with how to proceed. Thanks.
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:21 AM   #2
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When I had a SO I paid for everything. There’s no “right and wrong” here. It’s whatever values you and SO have regarding money. My inclination would be to help the SO, but discuss ahead of time whether you’re making a loan, a gift or something else so expectations are aligned.
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:27 AM   #3
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Even though my son lives with his girl friend, we still help him by having him on our phone plan and drives one of our cars. I do all the maintenance on the car. I only have 1 son so I do help him!
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:38 AM   #4
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Have the two of you talked this over? I can argue either path. It would depend on your history of money together.

Being out of work is an emergency which would bring in the emergency fund. The SO is probably living cheaper then if they lived on their own, so it's certainly fair enough.

I clicked on your profile and read that you want to ER in early 2021...how would you feel about subsidizing your SO out of your retirement income. If you aren't comfortable with that, then maybe it's best to keep things the way they are.

You also mention wanting to move to a LCOL area after retirement, with the SO unemployed this might be something to think about now.
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:46 AM   #5
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IIRC the OP and SO recently moved in together. So, being in a shared household is going to be different than living separately.

Much like in a marriage, if one partner was unemployed, the other would reasonably take up the slack. Expenses are blurred anyway, yours and mine becomes ours once under the same roof, more or less. Given this is a newer partnership, the melding won't be as far along, but I'd expect the employed partner to take on the necessary expenses.

I'd treat this as a spell you'll get past, and accommodate as you'd expect if the tables were turned. Of course, I wouldn't be out furniture shopping or making any big discretionary expenses, but I wouldn't expect him to burn through savings to keep up a share of the groceries.
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:49 AM   #6
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When it happened to us, my SO was DW so that’s different. She was emotionally spent and quit looking for a long while and would not explore PT non career options. We had three kids so it was pretty tight for two years until she started back at 50% income. Had we been a couple I’d have still made a joint plan cutting back and contributing more to make up the shortfall, but maybe with an understanding that it was a loan (with minimal expectation of it being repaid. ) It’s also a good time to do something you enjoy for a while even if the pay is low or volunteering is good for emotional well being. Right now it seems all the retailers are hiring and I think most of these jobs have at least barebones healthcare.
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:49 AM   #7
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How long have you been together? I hope you've been together for a few years at least?

I would be covering the cost for now, but I wouldn't want the SO to become too used to it.
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Old 10-28-2020, 09:12 AM   #8
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What does SO stand for?

I couldn't find it on acronyms or slang thread.

Thanks
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Old 10-28-2020, 09:12 AM   #9
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Old 10-28-2020, 09:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerides View Post
IIRC the OP and SO recently moved in together. So, being in a shared household is going to be different than living separately.

Much like in a marriage, if one partner was unemployed, the other would reasonably take up the slack. Expenses are blurred anyway, yours and mine becomes ours once under the same roof, more or less. Given this is a newer partnership, the melding won't be as far along, but I'd expect the employed partner to take on the necessary expenses.

I'd treat this as a spell you'll get past, and accommodate as you'd expect if the tables were turned. Of course, I wouldn't be out furniture shopping or making any big discretionary expenses, but I wouldn't expect him to burn through savings to keep up a share of the groceries.
Yes that's right @Aerides this is a new move-in! It may be that I'm feeling a little careful given the newness, but we are happy in the new place and generally together. Though we're not officially married we are very committed.

I think treating it as a spell is a good idea, thank you.
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Old 10-28-2020, 09:42 AM   #11
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I'm married so different, but my wife doesn't need to work and she does more than her fair share in all other aspects of life, so I cover all of the bills. She can work if she wants to.



If we weren't married, but had been together for a long time, I imagine I would still cover what I could. If $ was tighter, I think I would expect them to find work where they could. Our son graduated last May from college. Companies directly in his field weren't hiring so he found work where he could. Not perfect, but covering his bills.


cd :O)
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Old 10-28-2020, 09:45 AM   #12
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How long have you been together? I hope you've been together for a few years at least?

I would be covering the cost for now, but I wouldn't want the SO to become too used to it.
We're about 6.5 years into the relationship but just recently decided to move in together. Generally that's working out really well, but the job thing is a bit of a wrench.

I think falling into a long term pattern is my biggest concern. Certainly pulling more weight for a few months won't be a big deal, but even when he's employed there's a pretty good spread between our incomes.

My parents had a very inequitable relationship where money was concerned. To be fair my mom was in a generation of women who were mostly taught a man would be her ticket to better & more. Sadly for them both that never happened much, and even after a divorce and him dying I still get the feeling she resents that she never got hers. I really don't want to foster any kind of resentments in this area on either side. I know that men like/need to have a purpose and a sense of being contributors, and anything that slights that can be corrosive. So maybe I'm just being very careful.
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Old 10-28-2020, 09:54 AM   #13
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Good communication is the key to decision making.
This is a trying time for all. Would he consider other work besides his chosen field for now? I know around here there are ads for Amazon warehouse/drivers, USPS, cashiers etc. all over the place.

Long time married, however, during times of unemployment for either of us, we each picked up the slack--employed person paid the bills, unemployed did majority of all the home/yard/family stuff. And budget tightening was the name of the game.
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Old 10-28-2020, 10:32 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by tmitchell View Post
We're about 6.5 years into the relationship but just recently decided to move in together. Generally that's working out really well, but the job thing is a bit of a wrench.

I think falling into a long term pattern is my biggest concern. Certainly pulling more weight for a few months won't be a big deal, but even when he's employed there's a pretty good spread between our incomes.

My parents had a very inequitable relationship where money was concerned. To be fair my mom was in a generation of women who were mostly taught a man would be her ticket to better & more. Sadly for them both that never happened much, and even after a divorce and him dying I still get the feeling she resents that she never got hers. I really don't want to foster any kind of resentments in this area on either side. I know that men like/need to have a purpose and a sense of being contributors, and anything that slights that can be corrosive. So maybe I'm just being very careful.
I agree with being careful. We have worked daily with extended family for over 45 years..two generations worth. One thing that's crystal clear is that it's way easier to not do something then it is to stop doing something you having already been doing. We have learned that signing on to do something "for awhile" gradually turns into doing something forever. Generally an action is move favorable to one party, as in your case. Suddenly, if you want to change something it becomes personal. To be clear no one in our family is a jerk or anything like that.

If your SO runs out of money any job will have to do, that's the truth of it.
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Old 10-28-2020, 10:51 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by tmitchell View Post
My SO was laid off right before lockdown and hasn't been able to find a job since--going on 9 months now. He's gotten a few interviews, but with all the uncertainty there just aren't a lot of opportunities coming in.

We have typically paid our equal share and have always had a healthy money relationship. But now with employment looking unfavorable near term (maybe until pandemic subsides??), I'm wondering if I shouldn't pitch in more to our joint expenses temporarily until he finds something. My job is secure and I can do so without jeopardizing my financial goals. He had a good sized emergency fund, but it's dwindling and I know the stress is building.
What about unemployment insurance? If your SO was laid off right before the pandemic, he should have been eligible for expanded UI benefits which would go a long way to contributing towards living expenses, etc. If he didn't apply for—or hasn't been receiving—these enhanced UI benefits, then my question would be "why not"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmitchell View Post
How have you all dealt with this kind of thing? I feel like I'm being stingy not offering up some help given the circumstances, but honestly I've never been in this position before so struggling a bit with how to proceed. Thanks.
My SO and I have an arrangement where we contribute to our household's overall expenses in proportion to our annual incomes. If one person's income drops precipitously, then their contribution does, too. Since I'm FIREd and don't have an earned income, my contribution remains pretty stable (roughly my annual "safe withdrawal" amount per FIRECalc), but hers does fluctuate based on her salary, bonuses, etc. It works for us.
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Old 10-28-2020, 11:06 AM   #16
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What about unemployment insurance? If your SO was laid off right before the pandemic, he should have been eligible for expanded UI benefits which would go a long way to contributing towards living expenses, etc. If he didn't apply for—or hasn't been receiving—these enhanced UI benefits, then my question would be "why not"?
The expanded UI ended in July.
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Old 10-28-2020, 11:12 AM   #17
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The expanded UI ended in July.
The federal UI (known as FPUA) did, yes, but state-level expanded UI is still going in most states. Here in Georgia, people unemployed as a direct or indirect result of the pandemic can get up to 39 weeks of state UI benefits. This will be ending next month for most people who started receiving benefits back in Feb/March.
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Old 10-28-2020, 02:19 PM   #18
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Yes he still gets the 'normal' UI, which helps cover a percentage. He's looked into holiday temp jobs but they really don't pay enough to be worth giving up UI either. Catch 22 there.
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Old 10-28-2020, 05:07 PM   #19
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I was laid off at age 58--along with every employee over 55. The severance packages cost MegaCorp dearly.

I did feel a little guilty every Sunday night going into the State computer telling them that I was still looking for a job. My unemployment lasted 50 weeks at the time.

I've since got over the guilt. We've adjusted quite well over the last 12 years.
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Old 10-28-2020, 05:15 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by tmitchell View Post
My SO was laid off right before lockdown and hasn't been able to find a job since--going on 9 months now. He's gotten a few interviews, but with all the uncertainty there just aren't a lot of opportunities coming in.

We have typically paid our equal share and have always had a healthy money relationship. But now with employment looking unfavorable near term (maybe until pandemic subsides??), I'm wondering if I shouldn't pitch in more to our joint expenses temporarily until he finds something. My job is secure and I can do so without jeopardizing my financial goals. He had a good sized emergency fund, but it's dwindling and I know the stress is building.

How have you all dealt with this kind of thing? I feel like I'm being stingy not offering up some help given the circumstances, but honestly I've never been in this position before so struggling a bit with how to proceed. Thanks.
In order to be able to offer help without insulting him, suggest that you will offer full support as needed as an interest free loan to repaid over time when times return to a more normal level. Could also be willing to accept any lower levels of spending he may offer as a solution. Just a thought

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