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Getting my bearings

July 12th, 2016 at 10:37 am

A few friends, here and elsewhere, have asked whether I might be able to retire right now. I've considered that, but I don't think that would be a good idea, at all.

While I'm mortgage-free, I still have day to day expenses, including health insurance, homeowners and car insurance, food, taxes, heating bills, etc.

I also very much want to bump up my 35-year average earnings for purposes of increasing the monthly Social Security benefit I'm eligible for. Right now, when I look at my lifetime SS statement which anyone can look at online, I see there are still several years of earnings when I was in high school or college where I made around $1,000, more or less. Those small numbers are dragging down my 35-year average, which SSA looks at to determine your benefits. So by working a few more years, I can bump up my average.

I will know more details about what I have to work with when I get the exit package overnighted to me by HR, but a few preliminary thoughts:

1. Expense cutting: This is my 2nd summer hiring someone to mow for me; it comes to about $1,000 a summer. I can't bear the thought of having to haul that heavy mower around myself again, but I think I will email him to see if he could start mowing every other week, so it would cut my bill in half.

UPDATE: My mower has responded yes, no problem to pull back to cutting the grass every other week. This is good. If I was mowing myself, this would be problematic as I'd have trouble cutting long grass with my own mower, but with those big mowers they ride on, it's no problem, they could mow a woodland.

No more pricey organic foods.

No more framing of mom's matted art; luckily, I got most of the ones I wanted to frame, framed. I know I spent over $700 doing this.

It's back to careful assessment of road trips and errand running around.

I skipped the last 3 weekly yoga classes becus i was doing other things, but I might like to continue going on occasion. It's good for my health and it's only $5 a class and it's 2 minutes away.

2. Health insurance: I will definitely want to keep my current plan with my employer via COBRA; I pay just $143 a month now for Cigna health and dental. Even paying double that would likely be cheaper than getting health insurance through Affordable Care Act.

Also, I know if I stay with my current plan my copay for the MS meds remains $0; if I go thru ACA, I'll have a $50 monthly co-pay. So the COBRA is good for 18 months, and hopefully before then I'll have found a new job.

3. Income: With my 7/29 end date and 8 weeks of severance after that, I won't feel the effects of the layoff until October, by which time, unemployment will start, hopefully. I forget what the max is or what I was getting last time, especially since I was always juggling some combination of part-time work, freelance contract works or one-off stuff.

I just heard this morning from an old freelance client who will have 2 jobs for me in the coming weeks. It's not a lot of money, but every little bit helps.

I don't think I'll spend much time looking for new freelance clients as I'll be focusing on full-time employment, or at least a steady p/t job. However, I may revisit that as I remind myself I'll be looking for employment at soon-to-be age 57. A scary age to be job-hunting.

I hope to wind up the probate process by the fall, and I anticipate another $40,000 or so to come my way from mom's estate. I'm in great financial shape but I don't want to undo any of the great progress I've made in saving for an early retirement. Nor do I want to give up on the goal of retiring in 3 years time.

My biggest concern right now is I don't have any psychic energy to get into the whole job search mode again. I know I have to, and I know I should just allow myself the day, for gosh sakes, to let things sink in and get some perspective on what's happening.

Just by talking to some friends I can tell there were at least 6 others laid off, and most likely more. I may learn more at this afternoon's tele-meeting. I just attended a quarterly meeting with a head honcho who painted a very positive picture of how the company's been doing. Makes me wonder how truthful that was if they find they need to do a round of layoffs a week later.

No matter, don't want to spend much of my own time focusing on that.

A few people have already offered help however I need it. I suppose I could ask a few of them to write glowing references for me on my Linked In page, which I've done before.

4 Responses to “Getting my bearings”

  1. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Hire up always give positive reviews. It also could be a house cleaning to get rid of people that don't fit the mentality of the department. At DH's old company new vp = entire new department. He unfortunately was part of the 25% saved. We wished last march he was the 75% part of people laid off.

  2. CB in the City Says:

    I am very sorry; this is a shocker! Don't let your age discourage you. I had to look for work at age 59, and this was right after the crash of 2008. Against the predictions of everyone I knew I was offered the very first job I interviewed for. And while it was a pretty awful job and I complained about it a lot here, it was in my field, and my age didn't seem to be an issue. Five years later, I was a finalist for a very prestigious job -- though I didn't get it, it was one of those "honor to be considered" situations. It changed my whole perception of what employers are looking for. Sometimes they actually do want someone with experience. Your age is not necessarily a drawback. That said, don't include it in your resume, nor any hints to your age by including your graduation date, etc. They are not allowed to ask it; don't offer it either. It's not the point.

  3. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Oh this stinks. Hopefully you'll find something else soon.

  4. VS_ozgirl Says:

    While you are still able to work you may as well try to keep on working rather than retiring because then you might meet your goal. You know what to do to get through it because unfortunately you've been there before. Hoping you can land yourself a new job and also with no crazy commute involved Smile

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