Author Topic: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.  (Read 9687 times)

Angie55

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I was anticipating writing a much different Ask a Mustachian post about 2 weeks ago. After paying off one of our high interest student loans in October I spent ~6 months reevaluating and modifying our spending/savings plan. Then my husband got laid off and everything is up in the air again. Need some help navigating this major turning point and uncertainty and making a balanced budget.

Background: 30's and married, both engineers by training not desire. I was unemployed/underemployed for 2.5 years which halted any retirement savings on my end. So I feel we are pretty behind in both retirement and cash savings. Especially when you consider we both don't want to work in engineering anymore. Husband will be receiving unemployment, but due to my extended unemployment I do not want to count on this as income in our budget as he could easily remain jobless after 6 months. I would like to rely entirely on my paycheck allowing any unemployment and the piddly severance going to an emergency/opportunity fund.

The issue I'm having is figuring out what I should use as a base number for budget. I've played around with 401k, HSA, and tax withdrawals so much lately that I feel like I could pick any amount for a "Take home pay" just by switching around the deductions and such. Mainly I'm trying to figure out how much of this should be non-negotiable and built into our budget.

I have a salary of 74000. Currently I contribute to reach the individual minimum on HSA of $3250. However, in May my husband will be moved to my HDHP allowing us to contribute on the prorated family HSA rate. Minimum to reach my 401k match is to contribute 8% - Currently have it set to 22% from prior goal to max it out.

Husband will be getting $500 a week on unemployment. I will be paying the appropriate taxes out of my paycheck so it is easily modified depending on our expected end of year income. This could potentially add $2,000 a month to our emergency fund for 6 months.

Current Assets/Debts:
6,800 - emergency/opportunity fund (includes all severance)
4,880 in HSA
17k in Roth IRA's (4,000 left to contribute for 2014 year)
127k in 401k
61.5k in student loan debt

Question:
I guess I'm getting lost on to how drastic I should take this time in unemployment.
Should I keep contributing to my HSA at individual level, move some of my 401k contributions to hit the family maximum, or reduce my 401k contributions to the company match minimum and pocket the rest of the money - dropping my HSA contributions to 0.

Additionally, should I finish contributing to the Roth IRAís to max out now with our emergency fund to allow more time for market growth? Theoretically we should not need the money if we are spending on a zero based budget on my salary. If we did need to withdraw it then we could penalty free. For the first time in awhile, we may actually be in the 15% tax bracket.








MayDay

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2014, 10:55:59 AM »
I would probably drop your 401K contribution to the 8% needed for the match, and stop the Roth contributions.  If/when your H gets a new job, you can increase the 401K to hit the annual max, and you can do your Roth anytime in the next year.  In the meantime, personally, I would rather have the cash in the bank.

On the other hand you could pull the Roth contribution penalty-free later on if needed. 

On a note of sympathy, we have been through this and it sucks.  Hope you come through it quickly and easily!

MDM

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2014, 11:13:42 AM »
You could look at it "both ways": starting with income and subtracting expenses.  Or, starting with expenses and seeing what income is needed.  Mathematically identical, but can be psychologically different. 

In other words, especially during this rough patch, what is the minimum you need to spend?  Any income above that should go to savings.

Ditto to MayDay's best wishes for you.

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 01:15:33 PM »
^ ^ Yes, do a barebones budget and stick to I until DH gets a job.   

I'd heard that one of the problems the long term unemployed inflict on themselves is that they want to keep thing "normal" so they cut back a little bit but not severely.  Only when they are down to not knowing where the next mortgage payment is coming from do they start to get serious about cutting back. 

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2014, 01:45:23 PM »
I agree with the other posters. First examine what your baseline level of spending has been while your husband had a job, and figure out how much you can cut back from that level. Then adjust your take-home pay to meet that amount. With a $74k salary remaining, you should have no need to dip into your emergency funds. If this means you have to cut back on your 401(k) and IRA contributions for a while, so be it. You have plenty of time later this year to catch up on those if your husband finds a new job soon. If he doesn't, you don't want to back yourself into a corner by exhausting your emergency funds just to keep up on your retirement savings.

Angie55

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014, 02:05:36 PM »
Yes, I knew this would be the overwhelming answer as much as I didn't want it to be. Previous target was spending 50% of income which we never once hit as we continually went over budget every month. But for the short/long term I know I need to come up with something sustainable.

This whole thing only reinforces the conflict I've had about our spending level and the need for financial independence. It sucks to require a certain salary to pay your bills. It does have me kicking myself for some dumb decisions over the past year too. If only I knew this was going to happen I would have continued aggressive payoff of our student loans instead of throwing the money in Roth. I also would not have just resigned our lease which is now WAY out of line with our income at about half of my take home pay.

How do people find the energy to move forward when you feel like you're continually playing catchup?! Also, how is a degree worth anything nowadays when there is no loyalty from companies and high unemployment. We've spent just has much time with one of us unemployed  as we have with both of us earning incomes. At this rate there is no end in site.

Numbers Man

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2014, 02:20:45 PM »
Calculate a projected 2014 tax return based on your spouse receiving whatever unemployment he is going to receive this year. You do this to calculate your projected federal and state tax obligations along with any FICA shortfall(only needed if FICA is not being taken of of Unemployment check). Then you can budget for the reminder of the year with projected taxes versus what you have paid in to date.

Then construct a budget to see where you are at (assume no HSA AND 401(K) contributions). If you're not short, great. Otherwise, get the spouse over to one of those temporary agencies to at least keep working. Even if he's making the same amount as unemployment, you'll be able to extend the benefit. For example, if you have 26 weeks of unemployment, and work 5 of those weeks, unemployment will be there for weeks 27-31.

MDM

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2014, 02:55:41 PM »
Calculate a projected 2014 tax return based on your spouse receiving whatever unemployment he is going to receive this year. You do this to calculate your projected federal and state tax obligations along with any FICA shortfall(only needed if FICA is not being taken of of Unemployment check). Then you can budget for the reminder of the year with projected taxes versus what you have paid in to date.

Then construct a budget to see where you are at (assume no HSA AND 401(K) contributions). If you're not short, great. Otherwise, get the spouse over to one of those temporary agencies to at least keep working. Even if he's making the same amount as unemployment, you'll be able to extend the benefit. For example, if you have 26 weeks of unemployment, and work 5 of those weeks, unemployment will be there for weeks 27-31.

Great suggestion above.

Estimating from the OP, and guessing where no data provided, see below for what a monthly budget (ignoring unemployment) might be.  Of course you'd need to fill in correct numbers, but even with only 1 person's income it may not be as bad as fear makes it.

Salary/Wages$6,167
HSA$271
FICA base salary/wages$5,896
401(k) / 403(b)$1,150
Paycheck deposit$4,746
Other income (int., div., etc.)$0
Federal tax$383
State/City tax$190
Soc. Sec.$366
Medicare$85
Total income taxes$1,024
Income before other expenses  $3,722
Monthly Expenses:
Rent$1,050
All other living expenses$1,700
Loans:
Student Loans$680
Roth IRA$292
Total Expense$3,722

scrubbyfish

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2014, 03:33:10 PM »
I'd heard that one of the problems the long term unemployed inflict on themselves is that they want to keep thing "normal" so they cut back a little bit but not severely.  Only when they are down to not knowing where the next mortgage payment is coming from do they start to get serious about cutting back.

This was me :(

I just spent over a year believing my income would resume. It didn't.

I've only been on the new budget a few weeks now, and I'm amazed at how simple it seems to pull it off after all those months resisting this step! Something that has really helped me with this new stage is the You Need A Budget (YNAB) software. I went from feeling confused, perplexed, having no idea what was going in and out in my self-employment and personal budgets, and so on. Now...ask me anything! I truly did not want to look at things, and even couldn't figure out how to, and three hours tweaking things in YNAB and I'm good to go. It's been a relief. I feel calm and in control for the first time in over a year.

I hear your anger and disillusionment regarding the lack of loyalty of employers, etc. My situation was shocking to me and to everyone who knew the details. But it's what happened. The emotional and psychological aspects of the loss have been at least as hard as the financial. I wish I knew what to suggest for healing that, but I'm still hurting hard myself! I only hope you and hubby recover faster than I have, but I can definitely share strong hope about the ability to find your financial footing again!

Angie55

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2014, 04:30:06 PM »
Thanks for all the encouragement! I do agree I think the emotional aspect is the hardest. Its what I'm struggling with the most. I know we won't be living on the street as we will find a way to make it work. Its more that it took so long to figure out and implement our general five year plan, looking at every single detail. To have it upended instantly without notice is incredibly difficult. It also really irks me that its standard  to relocate across the country to a place where you have no family or friends to get an engineering job. Then two years later the company dumps you with no notice so they can hire newer engineers at a cheaper rate and skip out on the 401k match. As a typical two income household it took at minimum a year to hit our new "normal" and catch up. Following this plan there is no way we would ever get ahead. Unless you're willing to work 60+ hours a week and a devoted top performer it can make it difficult to get ahead. Coupled with enormous student loan debt there is even more stress because you are forced into a salary you need to move forward. 

The good thing is I already have a fairly detailed tax estimator spreadsheet. So I have already run the scenarios of different deductions and how that affects take home pay fairly easily. Lowering everything to the minimum and removing the HSA I can take home a maximum of around 3650. To put in perspective our previous budget (excluding all savings) was 4710/month. I know there are cutbacks to be made on spending , but I do not want to give up my safety net of savings. In my unemployment stretch we had to put loans in deferment, couldn't save for car repairs, and didn't contribute to long term savings at all. I feel like a failure to have to go back to that point again. And to know that's where we could stay for another 2+ years makes me wonder why I even cared about trying to get ahead in the first place.

I know I sound like a complainy pants. I do realize, my one income is more than a bunch of other families combined that have children to support. I just feel like we're always playing catch up and we will never win.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2014, 05:50:07 PM »
Think of this as a learning experience. You may discover that you're just as happy with the lower budget, I know I've been happier since simplifying my life.

Don't think in terms of suffering or deprivation. And, once income resumes, don't automatically snap back to pre-unemployment spending. It sounds like neither of you enjoy work, so think about each expense in terms of "I have to work x many more days to pay for this."

MayDay

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2014, 06:30:48 PM »
Sounds like you might need to take some more drastic steps to get your budget down to a more reasonable level that is sustainable on one (good) income. 

I will share our story in case it either motivates you to cut, or gives you commiseration that it happens to lots of people.  We both are engineers, graduated and started working in 05.  I worked for a big stable company, DH worked for small start-ups. 

His company appeared to be folding in 06, so he jumped ship to a spin-off company.  (In retrospect this was a horrible decision as the original company is still limping along and he would have at least have had time to look for a good job, no need to panic and bail.  Hindsight and all that). 

Spin-off company died in 07- he went in to work one morning like usual when I was on maternity leave, and was told he would not be receiving any more pay checks, including vacation pay and the current pay cycle that he was owed.  I cut my mat. leave short, he watched the baby during the day and job hunted at night.   Started a new job, lasted until 09, entire company folded during the recession.  I found out I was pregnant with #2 (planned) about a week before he was laid off. 

At some point during all of this I was laid off and found a new job within my company, but it was awful- so I quit after kid 2 was born.  (Again.... Hindsight......  Probably should have stuck it out.)

He started a new job in '10 as a 1 year contract (we were desperate at that point, I was about to pop).  Contract was not renewed in '11.  Started doing consulting work with the boss from original company #1.  After a year he ran out of work. 

Keep in mind that for each of these, we were out income for months at a time.

At that point we gave up on our goal of staying in our city that we loved.  It obviously was not panning out that great as far as stable work goes.  We relocated across the country and DH has been employed by the same company for 2 whole years- a record!  Pretty sad when two years is the record.  The key for us was getting and keeping our expenses low enough that we are fine on one income.  We are now getting to the point that the years of one income + unemployment, and the years of two incomes, resulted in some good savings.  So now we are one income (which has increased substantially), able to save with just one income, and if DH is laid off again, I can find something that in combo with unemployment, will cover our expenses.  That is a nice weight off our shoulders.  But it took almost ten years of slogging through all the crap times. 

CarDude

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2014, 07:03:32 PM »
Think of this as a learning experience. You may discover that you're just as happy with the lower budget, I know I've been happier since simplifying my life.

Don't think in terms of suffering or deprivation. And, once income resumes, don't automatically snap back to pre-unemployment spending. It sounds like neither of you enjoy work, so think about each expense in terms of "I have to work x many more days to pay for this."

Yes. Figure out how to live on one salary so you can bank the second. That'll give you a peace of mind like no other...save for your eventual early retirement : D

Rural

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2014, 07:52:41 PM »
Also, if your state allows it, go ahead and have taxes withheld from his unemployment. It stinks, but you'll be very glad you did it (said from experience).

feelingroovy

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2014, 08:09:26 PM »

 I also would not have just resigned our lease which is now WAY out of line with our income at about half of my take home pay.


If it's possible to get a less expensive rental (I realize it's not in some places), it would still be worth it to talk to your landlord.  I own a few rentals and if a tenant came to me and explained the situation, I'd be very amenable to letting them out early, especially with say, two months notice.  Especially since it's spring.  If it were January and I had no hope of finding another tenant in the dead of winter, I might be less amenable.

Landlords don't want tenants who can't pay the rent and don't want to have to evict anyone.  At least savvy ones don't.  It's not about them being nice to you.  They could take a big loss here too, and this might help you get out of that lease.

electriceagle

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2014, 10:01:51 PM »
I'm afraid I have to disagree with the person below. $74k is reasonable for a single-income couple. If you have a cash-flow emergency, it is because of spending, not lack of income. Perhaps you could post your budget so that we can help you trim your spending and make things work.

I would continue to fill the 401k and HSA until you are at the border of the 25% marginal income tax bracket.

Have your husband take a couple of weeks off so that he can decompress from the old job before looking for a new one. People who have just been laid off have the scent of desperation, which sends employers running the other way.


I would probably drop your 401K contribution to the 8% needed for the match, and stop the Roth contributions.  If/when your H gets a new job, you can increase the 401K to hit the annual max, and you can do your Roth anytime in the next year.  In the meantime, personally, I would rather have the cash in the bank.

On the other hand you could pull the Roth contribution penalty-free later on if needed. 

On a note of sympathy, we have been through this and it sucks.  Hope you come through it quickly and easily!
« Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 10:07:26 PM by electriceagle »

Angie55

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2014, 08:18:00 AM »
I would love to find a cheaper rental. I was driven a few months ago to move to a lower rent area but we ended up resigning the lease for another year. We thought it would be nice to be downtown for at least one more year. Now its a different store since we were paying for the luxury of living downtown which is now less enticing since we have significantly less play money.

Problem is our lease which goes through MAR 2015. We lose our security deposit and would have to pay a 1-month penalty. Additionally I believe we'd also be on the hook for additional months until they find a new tenant. We are renting through a property management group that frankly doesn't give a crap. It took 3 months to rent out the place to us because they were too lazy to show it. They didn't even like flexing with us upon move in when we were trying to get written permission to improve the place on our dime. So I'm not really sure switching apartments is an option. Also, husband will likely not go along with this idea. He is sort of out of the loop when it comes to our cost of living and how it compares to others. He doesn't like to compromise on location and space/privacy "needs" in his book. I agree it is an avenue we need to explore.

I believe we could find a suitable place to rent for ~1100-1200 a month which would save us $350 a month. Assuming we only get dinged for the 1month penalty and security deposit, it would take the entire lease to break even with the savings. That's not including any moving costs or damages that they would create upon moveout. Even still it could be an avenue to explore. Right now I think that drastic of a change might be too early.


scrubbyfish

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2014, 01:29:49 PM »
I do agree I think the emotional aspect is the hardest. Its what I'm struggling with the most. I know we won't be living on the street as we will find a way to make it work. Its more that it took so long to figure out and implement our general five year plan, looking at every single detail. To have it upended instantly without notice is incredibly difficult. It also really irks me that its standard  to relocate across the country to a place where you have no family or friends to get an engineering job. Then two years later the company dumps you with no notice so they can hire newer engineers at a cheaper rate and skip out on the 401k match. As a typical two income household it took at minimum a year to hit our new "normal" and catch up. Following this plan there is no way we would ever get ahead. Unless you're willing to work 60+ hours a week and a devoted top performer it can make it difficult to get ahead. Coupled with enormous student loan debt there is even more stress because you are forced into a salary you need to move forward.

You articulate the issue very well!

I have felt exactly that way, working so hard and strategically to get ahead, only to find myself almost back where I started because of one person's perplexing actions. This past week I've caught the following two phrases spewing from me, "What's the point of working so hard, investing in self-employment when you can lose everything as a result of one person's [blah blah blah].." And, "I feel like I'm being taught a lesson for working! Now I know better!"

Yep. Not my proudest spews, but they sure speak to how discouraged and disillusioned and scared and angry I feel in some moments. Many others have felt likewise.

For many of us, the path is not as simple, straight, and clean as some other people's are. For some, it's: get good degree, work hard for seven years, perhaps marry very wisely in the meantime, retire. For most of us, I think, it's a lot more like your path is: work hard, unwittingly fund a lifestyle that has more expenses than necessary, lose key income, panic, continue spending more than is necessary because we can't yet figure out another way, flounder, get a bit of footing, eventually realize how we can change our spending, slowly but surely find our way back.

That path does indeed suck while you're in the heat of it, but oodles of people have lived to tell the tale and come out well on the other side, to boot.

I know I sound like a complainy pants. I do realize, my one income is more than a bunch of other families combined that have children to support. I just feel like we're always playing catch up and we will never win.

Although even one of you earns copious more than I have in my best year, and I have a kid to support, I know that part is not so cut and dried, either. You have had massive student loan debts to deal with -some of us haven't. I don't envy you that at all, and feel deeply for this aspect of your circumstance. We all have life aspects that are easier, and all have life aspects that are harder. Kind of apples and oranges, and the emotional weight of your circumstance is just as valid as the emotional weight of mine. So, be kind to yourself in whatever ways you can -but especially in free ones :)

I know that right now you are scrambling and in a major process of reassessment and realigning, and that's hard. You are indeed in "catch up mode" and that is not a fun place to be at the beginning. But, I really believe you WILL win! Why? Besides having heaps of awesome qualities (smart, hard working, etc) you are also HERE. That is, you are aware enough now to be posting on the MMM forum, which is the point where things start turning around for real. In the last 16 months, I've moved from a "bare bones" budget of $3000/mo for my kid and myself to a new one of $1360/mo. Sixteen months ago, I absolutely could not have seen that as even a possibility. And my lifestyle is of about equal quality. You can do this!

Angie55

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2014, 02:02:19 PM »
I know there's hope down the line. I just despise uncertainty and decision making.

I guess its time to remind myself of some positives:

1. 7 years ago, fresh out of school, we used to pay: 1696  for student loans and another 1100 in car payments. Luckily after working 2 years I tuned into the astounding  loan amounts and interest rates and we aggressively paid off cars and eventually all >5% student loans. New  payments are only 577. I always forget how far we've come in this aspect since the 60k left is still a lot in most people's books. We have paid down ~100k in principal and 60k in INTEREST (and this was my tally from mid-2013). If we had not taken this as a priority I would be crapping my pants with news of a layoff.
2. We have two paid off vehicles, 1,500 saved for any car repairs, and a friend who is a mechanic.
3. This will force us to cut farther into categories that were our luxuries to make up for hating work. It's really easy to justify going for happy hour after a crappy day, coupled with long commute, throw back a few beers and have no dinner planned.
4. Maybe this will get hubby to read MMM and get more involved. Can always wish right?
5. My unemployment from 2009-2012 although an awful time brought us to where we are now. Both in our mindset and geographically. It was probably one of the best things to happen in retrospect. Even though at the time it felt like death.
6. Maybe it will get me to start being more serious about side hustles. I've always wanted to find something but haven't had the motivation. Also, maybe it will get me to stop talking about taking up PT work at a brewery and actually take action.
7. Last but definitely most important is we are surrounded by the greatest group of friends. We actually really lucked out when we relocated to Denver.

Angie55

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2014, 02:47:17 PM »
Right now, Iíd like to optimize our auto insurance while it is the downtime. We have two cars an 2005 Outback and 2007 Mazda3. Auto insurance for 100/300/50 with $750 deductible is $528/6-months. I just quoted around at the end of March. As for our driving. Now that it is summer I will bike to work, only driving (4 miles each way) on days when I need to run errands on my lunch break. Hubby will stay home and only drive around for errands on occasion. Once the weather gets nicer we will take longer trips with our trailer and weekend drives.

How can I minimize this without putting us at risk of being underinsured? Some thoughts:

1.   Remove collision coverage from the Mazda Ė Raise the comprehensive to the maximum (we park on the street downtown so theft and vandalism is possible). Donít drive the Mazda at all. This would force us to drive the Subaru at a lower gas mileage for errands and trips around town. I chose to park the Mazda because we use the Subaru to tow our camping trailer and pick up large items free items on Craigslist. Saves ~$60 by dropping collision, maybe $20 by increasing the deductible (on a 6-month policy)
2.   Switch insurance back to progressive and install snapshots devices on one or both cars. Iím hesitant on this since we tried it once and my husband triggered the hard brake at nearly every stop lightÖ. I had no issue but I would not want this installed on a car that he was driving.  The other problem I see with this is that we donít drive the car enough for it to register miles. It could leave the snapshot on for an undetermined amount of time. We just switched from progressive and the policy is maybe $20 more a month. I have no idea what the savings from Snapshot device would be.
3.   Remove comprehensive and increase the deductible to max on collision for both cars.
4.   Any other of the endless optionsÖ..

Any advice or options I'm not thinking of?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 08:13:37 AM by Angie55 »

EconDiva

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2014, 03:40:54 PM »
How about subleasing your place?  I got a job out of state once and had to move in a hurry.  Had almost a year left on my lease.  So I found a tenant to take over my lease; on the day I moved out, they moved in.  For incentive purposes, I offered to pay the entire first month for them...that's what got someone in there so quick for me.  The hardest part was finding someone who would pass the leasing office's qualification process.


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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2014, 06:00:47 PM »
Your car insurance sounds extremely expensive. We have a 2004 Prius and pay about $50/month to insure it. We have liability coverage at the 250/500/100 level, collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible, and decline all other coverage.

Your cars are only 1-3 years newer than ours, but you're paying 5x as much to insure each car as we're paying. Do you have a bad driving record or something? Seems like too big of a difference in price to be explained by regional differences alone.

Angie55

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2014, 08:12:42 AM »
Ah can easily be explained with typos its 528 for 6 months. Ooops. So about on par with yours. I've fixed my previous post above.

I guess the reality is for the next few months we will only be driving <500 miles on average between both our cars. I wish there was a way to reflect this in our rates.

Angie55

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2014, 06:15:05 PM »
Update here because I've been beyond stressed lately. Seems like the unemployment has turned my husband straight into a young life crisis. Its now been almost 2 months and he tells me he "doesn't give a xxxx about money". He says he is never going back to engineering and wants and to work at a brewery. While I appreciate his want to work on a job he likes I just don't quite grasp it. There's so many options then to go from a stable job and being able to save/payoff debt than to just quit and never go back. Whenever I bring it up he gets super defensive and its impossible to use any logic. 

To top it off, no matter how much he doesn't care about money he sure doesn't want to give anything up. You can't have all these wants and needs and not care about money. He's single-handedly overspent my unemployment budget by ~$200 and we still have two weeks left in the month. To be honest I don't even think he ever looks at the budget. What are you supposed to do with your spouse when they have a radical shift in mindset?

I feel like he's just throwing away all his potential because of misplaced anger for work. There's so many options out there! Get a job utilizing your skills but at a lower responsibility level. Get a technical job without a commute. Find an industry that's not evil. Consult PT with your skills and then get a PT job in something you enjoy. Find a completely new path that will still pay you a premium for your brains! Don't waste it, once you do you can't really go back.

Jobs you like are not usually about the work you do its about the company culture and people you work with. But the way he sees it any company larger than 20 people is "the man." Nothing I can do can change his mind. The way I see it maybe only 5-10% of people LOVE their work. That's just the way it is. You need to find the positives in your job, be grateful, and do the work to get to where you want to be.

You need money. You don't have to glorify money and work your life away to accumulate every cent possible. But to live in society you need to play the game just a little. You can easily use strategy and discipline to get ahead to a point where you can do what you want. But it takes a game plan and time. You can't just decide one day you're done.

Am I asking too much? Am I being to skeptical of his searching for work he "loves"? Maybe, but someone has to be realistic. I just hate being the bad guy all the time. Especially since his new goal is to get into brewing, which pays like crap, has no security or upward movement, and was MY hobby to begin with. He really doesn't seem dedicated or else he would have spent the last two months learning as much as he can.  Two brewing jobs have come up he sat on for 2+ weeks without even applying to. I just want to see him try. Push himself. Do something anything. Think beyond the anger. Instead I feel like I'm carrying the weight of the world.

I know I shouldn't post this but I'm going to anyway. There's no one I can really talk to. No responses necessary.

WhoopWhoop

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2014, 07:24:39 PM »
@Angie55 - You are witnessing unemployment psychosis. I was unemployed for 2 years and it sucked! My mind was invaded by the craziest of ideas.

I'm glad you have a place to vent. I know the people in my life kept trying to give advice at the time and they all sounded like a bunch of beat down suckers (ex: saying only 5-10% of people can really LOVE their work. In a mind affected by unemployment psychosis, this translates to "You've already been beat down and been rejected by every job you apply for, not to mention that time you were fired. Now, submit some more by settling for a job you know you'll hate!")

Eek. My advice is to, generally, keep the thoughts and advice to yourself. However, you should be damn sure that guy sticks to a frickin budget. That seems non-negotiable to me, although I've never shared finances before so I could be wrong.

Also, if you can open a few doors for him at potential work places, that seriously beats anything else you can do or say. I don't mean saying "I think Company A is hiring; you should apply." I mean, "I know someone who works at HR at Company A; I spoke to her about you and she seemed interested in hiring you. Can I send her your resume?"

scrubbyfish

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2014, 07:27:26 PM »
In my opinion (and experience), it's good to post this kind of stuff here. Get it all out, get some clarity in that process, receive support, possibly receive ideas.

Me, I just feel for you! Even though I wanted to be married (and still want to), I really feel for those who are and are experiencing struggles like this. It's so challenging to be so involved with a person, on every level including financial, when life takes its inevitable turns. What does one do, indeed??

I can also empathize with your hubby. I'm like him that way, I think. I can make myself do something for so long -even some years- but there comes a day when I crack and I can't do another second of it. I walked away from a contract just a few months ago, even though I could certainly have used the money. And where does that leave me? Yes. Considerably less money, but I feel I can breathe again, and also focus on some other major life changes that absolutely need to happen.

With him not applying for jobs in the field he says he wants, I suspect there's something deeper going on for him (e.g., perhaps a transient depression, a soul crisis as you said, uncertainty, feeling lost in general at the moment). What can we do when a partner is in such a place? I think not a lot, except to wait their phase out until we can't. These phases can cost money, for sure. It's basically a self-funded (or spouse-funded) sabbatical, in a sense. In my own life, such sabbaticals have brought gains greater than the amounts lost, if that's any comfort.

Your fellow isn't willing to give up certain things right now, but are there some things he is? Would he be willing to move to cheaper housing, for example, so that he can stay out of the field he hates while also retaining spending levels in a few areas that feel key for him?

If not, at least know that heaps of other couples are going through the same challenge as we type. I'm certain it's a very hard place for you, but you are not alone.

rockstache

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2014, 07:59:19 AM »
I am really sorry to hear that you are going through this Angie. I can sympathize a bit.

My husband is currently employed in his first "professional" job, and he hates it with a burning passion. It is not in the field that he wanted, but the company culture is great, the benefits are great, and he likes all the people he works with (including the bosses, for the most part). It is mostly the job itself that he doesn't care for, and I don't blame him, and I have certainly encouraged him to find something else that he prefers, but here's the thing: he doesn't know what he wants to do, doesn't know what his "passion" is. I get so frustrated by this because I am certainly not working in my passion, and there are days I hate it too. But the difference is that I am able to see it for what it is (the means to an end), and appreciate the positives about the job. He somehow can't understand that very few people love their jobs, and MOST people could probably offer a very quick list of things they hate about their jobs immediately when asked, but they continue to work so they can get by. And of course on top of all this, he wants to spend money on expensive crap to make himself feel better about the misery he is in at his job. I seem to have an easier time of reining him in with the spending than you do, but he grouches and grumbles and I end up feeling like that bad guy too.

In the end, that doesn't sound too encouraging, but I hope you know that you are not alone and your words totally resonate with me. I just continue to try to help my husband keep his resume up to date and think outside the box to try to come up with things that he might enjoy. Even a small salary is better than no salary at this point (or at least once the unemployment runs out). 

homeymomma

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2014, 08:59:25 AM »
As someone who obsessively calculates and projects about our finances, I totally understand your frustration, I really do!
That being said, let me say a few things that may help your attitude a tiny bit. First, be grateful that you're in the position to live off a single income. So many others would not be able to say that. Think how many people would be breaking out the credit cards, instead of wondering whether to cut back on retirement, if they lost an income.
Second, we live in DC (high COL!!!) on a single income of 66K. I'm a SAHM so I don't get unemployment or any benefits like that. My husband's job has no benefits. We make it work and we have kids. You have a higher income than we do and likely lower expenses unless you live in a similarly high COL city. So, bottom line is you can do this and be just fine!
The piece conspicuously lacking from your post is your expenses. If you can trim expenses enough to continue contributing to your retirement accounts as before, then do so. If you can't, then trim back your contributions a bit. Put his unemployment towards retirement as long as it lasts, then drop down to just your income alone if/when unemployment runs out.

Also, having read you later post about your husbands attitude, assuming he's still feeling that way. I agree with everything you said about him needing to work, etc. However, since you are in such a cushy position of being able to live on your income for a while, why not let him explore more enjoyable options rather than forcing him back into an industry he hates just for the paycheck? This is assuming he would actually put in the legwork to make it a viable second income, rather than just playing around at your expense. This will depend on trust and your relationship dynamics and how much you value early retirement vs. happiness now. If you would resent him for not going back while you are stuck supporting him during that time, it might not be a good option. Is there a different career/income path you would both enjoy pursuing? Opening a brewery together? A bed and breakfast? He could spend his unemployed time exploring options for you both and getting something set up, so that when you reach the end of your rope and want to leave engineering, an alternative would be waiting for you both to do together.

Good luck. I'm sure you'll get through this! Sounds like the hardest part may be keeping your marriage on track, not your finances.

sleepyguy

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2014, 09:20:00 AM »
Damn that's pretty brutal... ask him this... how would he feel if YOU decided you've had 'enough' and quit and worked at a McJob?  He's gotta pick up the slack and do his fair share.  I TOTALLY agree with you and I come from the same train of thought.  For me a job is pretty much that... clock in clock out... hopefully it's somewhat enjoyable but if not, whoop dee... provides for the family and is the responsible thing to do.  Until you're FIRE or close to it, do your fair share... post FIRE... go do a paperroute or whatever floats the boat.

All I can say is sit down and TALK!  2 months the job loss may still sting him a bit... you may have to wait a few more mths.

All relationships have their ups and downs... I know we've had some financial blunders (mostly my fault), and the best cure is to drop everything and just talk/listen and work things out.

Update here because I've been beyond stressed lately. Seems like the unemployment has turned my husband straight into a young life crisis. Its now been almost 2 months and he tells me he "doesn't give a xxxx about money". He says he is never going back to engineering and wants and to work at a brewery. While I appreciate his want to work on a job he likes I just don't quite grasp it. There's so many options then to go from a stable job and being able to save/payoff debt than to just quit and never go back. Whenever I bring it up he gets super defensive and its impossible to use any logic. 

To top it off, no matter how much he doesn't care about money he sure doesn't want to give anything up. You can't have all these wants and needs and not care about money. He's single-handedly overspent my unemployment budget by ~$200 and we still have two weeks left in the month. To be honest I don't even think he ever looks at the budget. What are you supposed to do with your spouse when they have a radical shift in mindset?

I feel like he's just throwing away all his potential because of misplaced anger for work. There's so many options out there! Get a job utilizing your skills but at a lower responsibility level. Get a technical job without a commute. Find an industry that's not evil. Consult PT with your skills and then get a PT job in something you enjoy. Find a completely new path that will still pay you a premium for your brains! Don't waste it, once you do you can't really go back.

Jobs you like are not usually about the work you do its about the company culture and people you work with. But the way he sees it any company larger than 20 people is "the man." Nothing I can do can change his mind. The way I see it maybe only 5-10% of people LOVE their work. That's just the way it is. You need to find the positives in your job, be grateful, and do the work to get to where you want to be.

You need money. You don't have to glorify money and work your life away to accumulate every cent possible. But to live in society you need to play the game just a little. You can easily use strategy and discipline to get ahead to a point where you can do what you want. But it takes a game plan and time. You can't just decide one day you're done.

Am I asking too much? Am I being to skeptical of his searching for work he "loves"? Maybe, but someone has to be realistic. I just hate being the bad guy all the time. Especially since his new goal is to get into brewing, which pays like crap, has no security or upward movement, and was MY hobby to begin with. He really doesn't seem dedicated or else he would have spent the last two months learning as much as he can.  Two brewing jobs have come up he sat on for 2+ weeks without even applying to. I just want to see him try. Push himself. Do something anything. Think beyond the anger. Instead I feel like I'm carrying the weight of the world.

I know I shouldn't post this but I'm going to anyway. There's no one I can really talk to. No responses necessary.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 09:23:32 AM by sleepyguy »

Angie55

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2014, 12:41:12 PM »
So 3.5 months have gone by almost uneventfully. Weíve been trying to live on my income only but have admittedly gone over every month by $200-$300. We also went through with a planned trip for a friendís wedding which was not cheap. Additionally, we have been spending some money camping nearly every weekend which we are taking out of our travel fund.

With that in mind we have been able to set aside unemployment money earned in a separate account. Combined with our emergency fund we have $10,250 in liquid savings. On top of that we also have our recurring savings for car maintenance, car insurance, Christmas, and other once a year type of expenses. Considering this is increasing every month with additional unemployment deposits (~2000/mo) Iím starting to feel guilty about having so much cash on hand not doing anything. Iím already getting ahead of myself and projecting if it would be possible to parlay this into a house downpayment at the end of our lease in April. Alternatively, what effect it would have on paying down our remaining student loans. Although I know I need to keep it where it is!

I donít know when we will ever be back to dual income status but Iím hoping it will be in the next 3 months or so. Going through this is making me reevaluate both my short and long term money goals. I want to get rid of my student loans. But my main priority is going to be reducing our spending to 3000/month (really 3577 where 577 is the loan payments). I think getting used to that level of spending will set us up well for the future and allow us ample room to start stocking away some more money. Iím setting an informal target of reaching this spending level by the time our lease is up in April 2015 since rent is the main driver in reducing our costs further.

Hubby seems to be coming around after some recent events. He had been helping at the local brewery a few days a week. Last week they offered him a full-time brewer positionÖ. At $9/hrÖ Suddenly he realized how crazy that was. Even I was amazed that pay would be that low. I think it finally hit him that he was throwing away the potential of 60-70k job for one thatís less than 20k per year where you work 10x as hard and donít have set hours. That combined with a phone interview where the company and position didnít seem evil he is starting to switch gears.

The first two months were him complaining about the need for a job and money. The last few weeks or so its turning into I wish I had a job. I canít wait until I have a job, etc.

Time heals all wounds I guess. Also, no matter how much I tell him things heís not going to figure it out unless heís confronted with it directly. Amazing how you can still be learning about each other and their tendencies even after 12 years together!

mozar

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Re: Unemployment ruined my plan. Creating new baseline budget.
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2014, 03:55:09 PM »
I can relate OP. I quit my job in 2012 because I was burned out from running my own biz and working fulltime. After freelancing suddenly dried up after 3 mths i got a job as a host at ten an hour. I got tired of trying to "find myself" and started interviewing in my old field. I found a job i felt good about after 6 mths unemployed. I still didnt feel "found" but i figured id rather be lost with 65k annual salary, than be lost and broke. It also helped to see just how bad working conditions are for low income folks. A year later I found mmm and that changed every thing, and i'm glad i got a well paying job.