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Old 03-13-2011, 12:38 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
Sorry if I misinterpreted your plan, as you never mentioned what you were doing for self employment.
growing_older, you overlooked the info in OP's first post. Here, I'll cut and paste it for you:

I will be in a low tax bracket as this, plus a $10k a year consulting contract, will be my only source of income
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:37 AM   #22
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Sounds to me like from your past experience that you would be well qualified (or arguably overqualified) for night auditor positions which would provide revenue, give you some experience in the field and get your foot in the door which might open up other opportuniites. You could probably work as a night auditor and continue your education during the day and well as your consulting gig. You will be very busy though. Good luck.
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:45 AM   #23
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With advice to work in the industry at whatever rate you can get... I think taking entry level job in a top hotel (where you eventually want to work) or if it is possible to get a job with similar potential in a successful smaller (closer to management) business may be a good way to be promoted, once they notice your leadership and project management skills AND study.... I also suspect many jobs may be offered internally before being externally advertised.

I am thinking that if I had the choice to pick between two people with exactly the same qualifications and experience... I would pick the one who has has managed to combine significant work hours while studying.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:29 AM   #24
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First off. I am sorry that you find yourself in this situation. It is good to have a plan of action.... even if it is a little late... better late than never.

You described your experience as a Financial Analyst and Project Manager... could you elaborate a little on the duties you performed, what industry you worked in, and the size of company. The 403b is an indicator of certain industries (often education or non-profit..) Those two categories of work can mean almost anything. Knowing the details may help us to provide better feedback.

A few of thoughts:

  1. You said you had Project Management Experience.... does that translate to: You have Management Experience? Did you ever have people reporting to you (in the HR sense of the word)? Management experience (with people) is just that... "experience" and experienced managers are highly valued. Even if you did not have anyone reporting to you in the (HR sense of the word), if your PM experience involved managing plans and people... that is valued.
  2. Use your financial background and determine if a low cost govt loan makes more sense than cashing out the 403b.
  3. Ditto on going to work... Get a part-time or full-time job and finish the degree while working! That should be the plan even if you are not working now. IMO - I would not just plan on spending the nest egg to finish the degree... get a job. Finishing it on-line gives you that flexibility to work and finish it at the same time. If you try... you will succeed.... the economy is improving!
  4. Make sure the Online University is "Credible" and not just a "Paper Mill"! Don't waste your time or money on something that people in your field will scorn... I make that comment in general... it is not a comment about your choice... I am not familiar with it.
  5. Unless you hate your field (Finance/Accounting)... you should probably consider sticking with it. Given your financial shape, it probably offers the best prospect of you moving your earning up more quickly. Switching careers is fine... but doing that may cost you!
I will summarize my opinion... sorry, but I am going to be direct because you seem to have made some past career mistakes:

  1. Earn an income while going to school and manage your finances and a strict budget!
    1. Get a job (any job) and go to school in your free time. That is the benefit of going to school online!
    2. Hang on to your nest egg or as much of it as possible.
    3. A low cost govt loan might make sense. This might be a better option for funding the school. Do the analysis!
  2. Stick with your field... leverage your experience. Finance and accounting is in demand!
  3. If you can get a management oriented job... it usually pays higher wages... Consider doing it! It is more hassle, but it is also more money. You need to earn!
  4. If you go to school online.... use a reputable online university!

Stick with your strength and experience! If you deviate from that summary... you better have a very solid plan... not just a statement that makes you feel better now. If you get going... you might still repair your finances so you do not have to work well into your 70s.
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:20 AM   #25
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I'd be careful about assuming "going back to school" is the way out. Not only does this put more debt on you at a time when you can least afford it, but there are also a glut of people going back to school in this economy (since they can't find a job), and we're going to be seeing a large oversupply of degreed/certified candidates relative to the number of openings available in many occupations even when the economy finally turns for "the rest of us".

Having said that, if one has well-researched the industry and sees many openings ahead for the rightly-qualified candidate, that could be a different story and it could be an effective move assuming (say) another 15-20 years in the field. I know many health care fields (particularly nursing) are like that; I'm not sure hotel management is.

Best of luck and hope it all works out.
"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 03-13-2011, 09:26 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
I'd be careful about assuming "going back to school" is the way out. ...

Yes. But increasingly, that degree is a discriminator. Person A and B are similar... but person A has the degree.

Because college degrees are so common... it is rapidly becoming the cost of acquiring a "high paying white collar job" in certain professions.

It is difficult when one gets into a profession without the associated educational degree (now days) and then loses the job. Unless one has very specialized (and in demand) skills... they will face some amount of discrimination when looking for a job. A suitable replacement (same wages) may only come along if the job market is extremely tight... today there is a lot of slack in the employment situation.
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:22 PM   #27
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Like others, I am not certain that getting that piece of paper is going to change much for you except making your pockets emptier.

Have you ever taken a look at the typical hotel manager and noticed that they tend to be on the younger side? I would think that as someone else has suggested if I were you I would get a job as a night auditor. That would give you income plus a foot in the door for when other opportunities arise.

Truthfully I don't think it is necessarily the lack of that piece of paper holding you back. It is a crappy employment market out there, and not matter what employers say, your age is a handicap.

I think you would be throwing away the money you have to go back to school thinking this would solve all your problems.

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.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:15 PM   #28
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I agree with others recommending that you find a job in the industry and go to school to finish your degree. You will gain insights to the hotel/motel industry, make contacts, have an insider advantage to opportunities, and possibly avoid age discrimination. Not to mention having "paid your dues". It will also allow you to minimize the amount you have to withdraw from your retirement savings. You have already lost 2 you really want to lose more time? Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:32 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by doraflood View Post
I'm 49 and was laid off 2 years ago after 20 years -- final unemployment check to be received in about 3 weeks. ...
Somewhat of a sidetrack, but I'm curious and would be interested if you could offer a reply:

How would this have played out if you had received 6 months of unemployment checks, rather than two years worth? Would you have done anything differently, or just moved the decision up 18 months?

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Old 03-14-2011, 12:38 AM   #30
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I am no kind of expert, but I know a few people who work for Marriott. This is a really practical business, and actually a young person's business. $50,000 of savings is not much money, but it is more than zero, and if you used it and your business experience and good sense wisely it might get you to something you could count on. Get a job, any job, that uses your existing business experience, go to night school at a CC and get your accounting associate's, and then get a better accounting or finance or similar job and go to night school to finish a business or acounting degree.

You may be on Fantasy Island with this hotel stuff, unless you can convince someone that you are actually 19.

I have a niece who spent a lot of time and money becoming a journalist, and in spite of an excellent record from an excellent school never found a decent full time job, and she was 22 when she started trying. She now manages a small dry cleaning chain, and makes reasonable money with benefits. Her sister also struck out getting a professional job in her field, but she is making great money on her terms doing massage and running high tone yoga classes and privates for bored rich housewives.

Even if you are young, you have to scramble today, unless there is some way to hook onto the big udder in the sky that has been so much discussed lately.

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Old 03-14-2011, 05:23 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
How would this have played out if you had received 6 months of unemployment checks, rather than two years worth? Would you have done anything differently, or just moved the decision up 18 months?
You asked the question I was thinking ...

When I was discharged from the military back in 1971, I was 23 with a wife/child to support (DW could not work, due to caring for our disabled son). Back in those days, six months of minimal unemployment insurance was the rule.

I had to get my rear in gear quite fast, due to the "rules and responsibilities" and had a job within six weeks, which paid about the same as I was receiving from UC. It wasn’t a job I wanted, but it was what I needed at the time. I only stayed there for a short time before moving on, but it was my foot in the door at the time and lead to better j*bs, better opportunities as the years went by.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:12 AM   #32
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My wife and I are creatures of habit - we've vacationed at the same Marriott resort for 20+ years. In that time, we have come to know many employees who are still there. The common theme - they clearly had a work ethic, started at some entry level position there, and are now in supervisory or management positions. You won't walk into any hotel chain, with no experience, and start as a manager. I echo others who say take any job you can get at a hotel...or stick with the field that you have experience in.
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