Author Topic: cycle of unemployment is killing us  (Read 5565 times)

wordygirl

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cycle of unemployment is killing us
« on: February 16, 2014, 02:35:48 PM »
scroll down to later comments....
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 06:00:51 PM by wordygirl »

iamlindoro

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2014, 02:43:06 PM »
Would you be willing to post your monthly Income + expenses?  Something doesn't make sense here to me-- if you have a combined income of 110-120K a year and very modest consumption, how is it that a single income is not enough to get you through the periods of unemployment?

Knowing none of the details, I would aggressively work to fit your cost of living into your own income, that way you can easily weather one partner being without work.  I am suspecting that there is some spending involved here that is not exactly mustachian.

Zikoris

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2014, 02:55:35 PM »
Do you work? If not, that would be a good place to start. You didn't mention any income coming from you.

This whole "unemployed for a year" thing is just bizarre to me. In my world, when you're unemployed and need money to buy food, the correct action is to get a job. Any job. Coffee shop, pizza delivery, factory, cleaning, warehouse. Not go $50,000 into debt.

Also, the numbers don't add up very well - on a Mustachian budget you would presumably be spending around $25,000-$30,000 per year, definitely slashed much lower during periods of unemployment. So for every year worked earning $90,000(my guess at after tax income), you would save enough to live another 2-3 years without working. Assuming out of the 12 years he worked 9, and you spent $30K per year, you should have at least $450,000 right now, not -$50,000.

Figuring our where your $500,000 disappeared to over the last 12 years would probably help prevent this nonsense from continuing.

Frankies Girl

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2014, 03:40:06 PM »
What sort of job does your husband do that he can't find anything that is steady?

If your husband has periods of unemployment that often, then he may need to start looking "outside the box" for his career. Definitely working whatever is out there even if it is a serious step down in income, but also considering extra training or other forms of branching out to find something that is both secure and pays enough to save.

I'm going to chime in on what has already been said, are you working through all of this? If two people are working, even if it isn't a high income combined, that would keep you from going into debt. Then the cycle of going into debt and using the high salary to pay it off would stop - and you could have been saving when you had more coming in...

cats

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2014, 05:05:22 PM »
Couple of thoughts:

1) What is the typical split of income between you and your husband?  Are you bringing in 50/50, or is it more like you earn min. wage and he is the big income earner?  If it's 50/50 (or close), it seems like you ought to be able to at least tread water while he's out of work.  What are your typical monthly expenses?

2) What line of work is he in that periods of lengthy unemployment are the norm?  I agree that it may be necessary for him to do some re-tooling and redefine "work"--maybe he could develop some side lines of income to help tide you over during the down times?

wordygirl

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2014, 05:16:20 PM »
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« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 01:48:58 PM by wordygirl »

iamlindoro

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 05:26:22 PM »
With the above in mind, I don't think there's much we could say about any of those choices that you haven't come to grips with yourself (though you are liable to get a few well-intentioned face punches now that the situation is clear ;) ).  I would emphasize that since you made these mistakes and have missed out on 12 years that could have been a net huge positive, the best course of action in my opinion is to adopt a much more hardcore mustachianism immediately.  Where previously it might have been enough to simply avoid costly mistakes like $40K cars and unfunded land renovations, you need to go cold turkey to make up for lost time.

I think the big thing to recognize (and I suspect you already have) that the time to reward yourselves is not when good times are on the horizon, but rather when the bad times are far, far, far in your rear view mirror.

YoungMoney

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2014, 05:36:40 PM »

I think the big thing to recognize (and I suspect you already have) that the time to reward yourselves is not when good times are on the horizon, but rather when the bad times are far, far, far in your rear view mirror.

I love this!

wordygirl

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2014, 05:49:55 PM »
"I think the big thing to recognize (and I suspect you already have) that the time to reward yourselves is not when good times are on the horizon, but rather when the bad times are far, far, far in your rear view mirror."

If I had to sum up our situation in one sentence, that would be it. I'm going to paste this on my bathroom mirror...thank you.


Cassie

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2014, 05:51:19 PM »
When your hubby is out of work why not go back to work full-time until he finds a job. Only one of you need to be home with the kids.

iamlindoro

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2014, 05:54:00 PM »
"I think the big thing to recognize (and I suspect you already have) that the time to reward yourselves is not when good times are on the horizon, but rather when the bad times are far, far, far in your rear view mirror."

If I had to sum up our situation in one sentence, that would be it. I'm going to paste this on my bathroom mirror...thank you.

Aww, shucks ;)

phred

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2014, 07:06:59 AM »
Laid off three times from a high pay job seems to indicate all three jobs were in the same field, and that the field is naturally cyclical.  If he doesn't want to change careers, he might consider analyzing those fellow workers who didn't get laid off.  Have they been going to night school to get a management degree?  more applied computer skills per his job field?  Something else?

Are you now raising enough food to put an honor-pay food stand in front of your house?

Exflyboy

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2014, 11:29:48 AM »
It sounds like you have your questions answered. The good thing is once your on the right path things get better very quickly.

One thing I didn't see was mention of unemployment benefits? (maybe I missed it).

But basically living expenses for two people with lots of time to shop carefully should be around $20k (unless you live in New York or LA). I have afriend ho was in a similar situation.. she rented out her house, then rented a tiny 1 bed apartment and made quite a bit of money on the deal.

If you avoid buying meat, get your protiens form dried beans at $1:19 a pound.. I mean get really serious you can live on a lot less.

Maybe even totally live on those unemployment bennies and not touch any of your savings.

Sorry to sound preachy but it sounds like you didn't react to the emergency of drastically reduced income appropriately.

Frank

wordygirl

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2014, 01:50:26 PM »
Thanks, everybody, for your input.

I guess I needed the catharsis of writing it all down in words, but now I'm having regrets and have decided to delete my posts.

Too much complaining. I know what we need to do, and that we need to do it better, and I appreciate the much-needed reminders of that.


Exflyboy

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2014, 01:55:32 PM »
Please don't delete anything.

You see what yu have done is bared your soul to critisism and encouragement.. That takes a lot of guts to do!

Your story believe it or not will be an encouragement to others in a similar situation.

Yes you know what you need to do now.. but you didn't before. others will be in the same place.

So I encorage you to leave your story as a testiment to your path and you will see how your thinking process changes as you go.

Put it this way... If somebody had told me in 97 when I was flat broke that I'd be retired in Jan 2104 and FI at the age of 52 I'd would have told them they were crazy!

Think about it and well done getting over the first hurdle!

Frank

MayDay

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2014, 02:20:48 PM »
I didn't see your post, but can commiserate.

My H and I graduated and entered the job market in 2005.  We bought a house same year.  From 2005 to 2012 between us we lost 70K on the house and were laid off from 6 jobs (1 me, 5 H).  All were do to the economy crashing except one.  The economy crashing ones were entire companies shutting down and laying off the whole workforce.  So at least it was nothing personal, lol.  Huge losses in income though, obviously, as lay-offs ranged from 6 weeks to over 6 months. 

All in all, although I try not to dwell on it, I feel intense bitterness about the huge loss in income and the huge amount of money we lost on our house (had to sell to move to new job location).  I hate that those early earning years were so dramatically impacted by the recession.  I get jealous at the thought of the much more well-funded retirement accounts that we could have had, and the much fancier house we could own if we had another 70K to spend.  But at the end of the day I try to just be thankful we have a solid amount of savings, and were able to pay the house loan down by that 70K and walk away even instead of going through foreclosure.

wordygirl

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Re: cycle of unemployment is killing us
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2014, 06:00:03 PM »
Having already deleted the posts I don't have the heart to write them all out again. But I suppose the title of this thread says it all: too many episodes of unemployment + a few stupid mistakes and here we are in debt once again, despite having plenty of practice being frugal.

Honestly, I was embarrassed because I couldn't provide all the details without telling our entire life story and, as a result, I felt like I had inadvertently made my husband out to be some kind of slacker/loser who can't hold down a job. Nothing could be further from the truth - he's a great husband, extremely smart and talented, but perhaps a bit too swayed by his wife's opinion: there were several times when he suggested we move back to the US where his industry is bigger (we are Canadian but have both spent time living in the US) and where he had many more connections and I really didn't want to do that, for many reasons.

By the way, he is an electrical engineer who designs computer chips and circuits.

It's easy to say "Why didn't he just get any job"? But it's not that simple. People aren't interested in hiring a professional to do a menial job, they consider you overqualified and know that the second you get a real offer they will lose you.

Why didn't I get a job? Because I have a full-time job that I love (mother), because I have little earning potential having given up my lucrative career way back (no regrets but that ship has sailed) and my industry doesn't exist where we now live (I was a research scientist doing cardiology/pharmaceutical development stuff) and we'd already moved so many times back and forth between Canada and the US. Such moves are not cheap. Plus our children now have therapy teams with whom they have built solid relationships and taking them away from that (plus the awesome funding in our province) would be hard on them and us.

It is very difficult to make major life-altering decisions like that when the solution could be right around the corner. It's not like he wasn't applying for jobs and looking all the time. As the time goes by you don't know when to give in and switch to Plan B.

And I will say this: I'm frustrated by our history and angry at ourselves for being in debt again. But I also know that we have weathered all of this extremely well compared to the average non-Mustachian out there. We have excellent credit, a home we are not at any risk of losing, and have no problem getting even more serious with the budget-cutting. Many people would consider a $50,000 debt to be end-of-the-world hard, and yet we know we can pay it off in less than 2 years, and probably even 1. In fact, we are inspired and motivated by the challenge.

Writing this all out and hearing your comments has been very helpful in getting me past the negative feelings and moving forward to more useful, positive ones. Thanks to all you.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 06:05:40 PM by wordygirl »