Author Topic: Definitely interesting situation  (Read 1370 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Definitely interesting situation
« on: May 07, 2020, 05:10:35 PM »
Hi All! First time poster, hoping to get advice from all you legends. Please keep an open mind, thank you.

Age: 42
Marital Status: single, no kids
401K: $350k
Brokerage account (stocks, ETFs): $150k
Savings cash: $20k
Liabilities: car loan: $27k
Housing: rental

Thats it.

I have been laid off due to the economic situation. Here is where is gets interesting: I am a very highly qualified individual with multiple industry credentials that are very hard to achieve. However, I cant really disclose more because I want to keep my privacy. Lets just say, total time to acquire these was 15-20 years. I could be slow but the point is I got through the process and got them.

The issue is that I have changed too many jobs. In my younger years, due to my great qualifications, I had many opportunities and I moved around as I pleased. But now that is coming back to bite me as I am constantly getting feedback from hiring managers that they are looking for someone more stable and loyal. The industry is relatively smaller and it is hard to find new employers.

I have lived a nice lifestyle - I like to travel and have not been conscious of spending AT ALL until I discovered this site a few months ago. Alas, now I am out of a paycheck.

I want to continue to travel, as that is my only real hobby. I would love to find a life partner but have not been successful. I think there is certainly an underlying personality issue here in terms of not being able to commit for longer times.

So my self-diagnosed options:

A: continue to look for jobs hoping something will stick
B: go back to school and find a different career path, maybe linked to current career (e.g. engineering and design). This will give me a fresh start and access to a new set of employers especially if University provides placement help
C: quit the career path and look to buy a cheap franchise, maybe cash out the 401K to help with that. This will be mentally very boring to me
D: take the brokerage account money and travel the world and enjoy my time (not like I have a wife and kids to support)

In all of this, I do feel very alone and I do wish I had more friends and a partner. But despite my best intentions, despite knowing in my heart I am a good person, with great, ethics, I am not able to convince others of the same.

Thank you for your advice.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Definitely interesting situation
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2020, 05:31:04 PM »
Hi, sorry to hear about being laid off, that’s a horrible experience. I can relate somewhat to your situation as it kinda mirrors my own. I did focus things and found a partner (although that only last for 10 years).  You’re still very young and so much can happen.

Here are my quick thoughts:
—I wouldn’t advise going back to school and doing yet another career change, it’ll eat time and money and leave you at the bottom of that job market
—also, I wouldn’t buy a business and I’d leave your retirement alone
—I don’t think anyone is going to be doing any serious traveling for at least 2 years, maybe park that desire for now
—you can always plan to do the travel thing in your early 50s, you’ll still be quite young
—this clearly isn’t the best time for career searching but there are jobs out there, don’t give up and make getting a job your full time job
—in the meantime look at side hustle jobs such as ride-sharing or teaching English online
—focus on reducing your expenses as much as possible
—consider moving in with someone as a roommate, you’ll save money and have company
—educate yourself as much as possible about personal finance, read all of MMM’s main articles

All the best!

kei te pai

  • Bristles
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Re: Definitely interesting situation
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2020, 02:28:12 AM »
Hi, it sounds like your current situation is leading to some serious reflection about your life. It seems to me that you have largely lived to follow your immediate desires, and perhaps without much reflection on others needs, or your longterm future.

I dont want this to sound too critical because we all have personality strengths and weaknesses.
But many people find fulfillment, friendship and love by helping other people and maybe this is an area you could invest a bit more of yourself in.
Financially, get whatever job you can in the short term. ? Sell the car and get something cheap, safe and reliable.
Look for a shared housing situation. Accept a lower standard of living. Volunteer and help out in your community.
Have you good relationships with family (siblings, cousins etc)? Could you start by building on these relationships?
Best wishes and hoping something good comes out of this time for you

former player

  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Definitely interesting situation
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2020, 03:30:14 AM »
Hello and welcome to the forum.

The bit that stuck out to me from your post was this -

The issue is that I have changed too many jobs. In my younger years, due to my great qualifications, I had many opportunities and I moved around as I pleased. But now that is coming back to bite me as I am constantly getting feedback from hiring managers that they are looking for someone more stable and loyal. The industry is relatively smaller and it is hard to find new employers.

I think this can be spun so as not to be a negative for you, especially in current circumstances.  I also think you should probably be upfront about it rather than just allowing your previous habit of moving on to be inferred from your CV. The line I would take in your situation is -

- I've travelled widely and am now looking to settle down, that's a combination of the current situation and reaching a new stage in my own life

- I'm committed to setting down roots in [town with employment opportunity]

- I've researched your organisation and X, Y and Z mean that my skills and experience make me a good long term fit for [your business model/corporate culture/whatever] and I hope to have the opportunity to demonstrate that to you.

If you have left previous employers on good terms then there's no reason for you not to reach out to them, rather than just look for places you haven't worked before.

Good luck.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Definitely interesting situation
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2020, 08:02:43 AM »
First, do not make any big life-changing decisions right now.  You are going through a huge upheaval right now with the job loss, which means your head isn't in a good place to make long-term decisions.

Second:  take stock of where you are.  Are you eligible for unemployment?  Can you get the "extra" Coronavirus unemployment?  What are your monthly expenses?  You want to figure out two things:  (1) how long you can live on unemployment/other income sources without having to tap into your savings; and (2) how long you can make it without taking money from your 401(k).  Depending on your lifestyle, that could be anywhere from a couple of months to forever. 

I hope that seeing that number will give you a little relief by showing you you don't need a new job right away.  You should then also look at what you can cut from your lifestyle to extend your money even longer.  For this, you really need to do the full case study, laying out everything you spend.  I have a hunch that you can't do that, though, because you don't have much of a clue what you spend -- right?  So start tracking that.  While you're at home, go through your CC statements and bank account and pull together what you've spent over the past couple of months to get an average.  I guarantee you that the total will shock the hell out of you, because when you're not paying attention, you have no idea how fast all those restaurant meals and Target runs add up.

When you know what you need to support your lifestyle, then you are in a position to weigh all your options for employment.  If you can support yourself for a year or more, then you can afford to hold out for another comparable position.  OTOH, if you've got an expensive rental and an expensive car payment and fancy habits, then you're going to need to go get any job you can find to bring in cash. 

FWIW, I agree with @former player that you can spin your experience into a positive, or at least not a negative.  You yourself said that it took 15-20 years to fully develop your current high-level qualifications.  So why not explain that you were focused on doing that and so followed different opportunities that allowed you to continue to improve your skills and qualifications?  But now that you have reached your goal, you'd really like to settle down and use those skills to build a career, etc.

But you do also need to do some work on yourself to figure out why you so enjoy flitting around from place to place and job to job, so that when you do get that next job, you are happy to stay there for a while.  Because you are approaching the age where it will get harder and harder to get that next job, and if you're not careful, you could end up in a place that you hate just because you don't have better options.  Time to figure out what you need to make you happy in your chosen field for more than a couple of years.  What about a consulting firm?  If you like mixing things up with different issues and different people, then it seems to me you may be a better fit as a consultant than an employee.

BTW:  going back to school is right out.  You've just spent the better parts of two decades chasing your current qualifications.  Starting all over again in another area is just another way to continue the chase.  And a franchise?  For someone to whom doing the same thing all day, every day, feels like death warmed over?  Yeah, thanks, no.  You enjoy your current area enough to have spent 20+ years in it.  So figure out what you need to be happier for your remaining working years, but building onto what you've already achieved.  The grass is rarely greener.

Good luck!  Believe it or not, you are in a good position:  you have cash to support yourself, and time to figure out what you need and want.  Use it wisely.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Definitely interesting situation
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2020, 03:23:01 PM »
You've gotten plenty of good advice already.  I hope you take it to heart.   You have a good financial position to start from which is a real bonus.

As for relationships, have you ever given real, deep thought to exactly what you are looking for in a mate?     What do you really like about the various people you've dated and what did you really not like?    Take some thought and think about what are the really important things you are looking for.

Then, turn the mental exercise completely around 180 degrees.   Ask yourself, "What kind of person - that I would want to be - would my dream mate be looking for?"   Those bolded words are truly important.  You've got to want to be that kind of person or it won't work long term.

Then, take a good honest look at yourself and determine if you're that kind of person.   If you have close friends who know you and some of those you've dated, ask them for some heartfelt advice.

(Hint: If "they are my best friend and I'm their best friend" isn't in your list, it's probably an incomplete list. :) )

If you're not a good match (yet), change.   Become the person both you and they would want you to be.

While you're doing that join groups and organizations that you would enjoy that your dream mate might also join.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Definitely interesting situation
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2020, 05:28:29 PM »
Wow you guys are spot on and I am very grateful for your time.

When I think about who I am, I am a shallow person who enjoys material things. There is a big part of me that wants to chase only money, nothing else, AT ALL (legal) COSTS.

And this website is all about how to get perspective on what life really is about. I feel like if I am not able to go on a $5000 vacation, I am not living life. Serious personality flaw I suppose.

So there is this big part of me that says, just do ANYTHING to get filthy rich, even if that means going back to school to become a doctor from scratch.....or die trying.

So I really need to find my perspective, and if it really is all money, then I have my answer.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Definitely interesting situation
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2020, 05:18:45 PM »
I'm going to go against the grain and recommend traveling. Flights are going to be dirt cheap for awhile, you just have to make sure the country you are going to is accepting travelers.
Might also help you get perspective on how rich you already are.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Definitely interesting situation
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2020, 05:32:53 PM »
I have to be honest here... there is a lot in your post that would scare me if I was in your situation.

Wha is your retirement going to look like? How much do you spend on rent per month? Multiply that by 300, and that is how much you will need in retirement accounts just to cover your monthly rent.

e.g. If you spend $2000 a month, you will need a stash of $600k according to the 4% rule.

You then need to think about having enough to cover food, utilities, and everything else.

If you want to take the $150k and go travelling... how long will that last... 4-5 years tops? What do you do after that when you're 47, out of work for 5 years, skills have atrophied and employers won't consider you at all?

You gotta get your shit together, find an employer who will take you on, maybe take a small pay cut and stick it out with them. I don't think you've got too many big more risks you can take without the chance of the music stopping.

Then you definitely won't be able to drop $5,000 on travel whenever you feel like it.