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Old 02-25-2016, 08:43 AM
 
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My husband is 59 and is an electrical designer in the oil and gas industry, which, as you probably know, has been having massive lay-offs. His boss (the company owner) has laid off about 80% of the company staff already, but he wants to keep his remaining core staff intact, and he has been trying to scrounge up work in other fields. He says there are a couple of good possibilities but nothing definite, and even if these possibilities pan out, the jobs will probably be short term. Meanwhile, everyoneís hours have been drastically cut, and when there is no work, people are expected to take time without pay, and for the past two weeks, my husband has worked about 30 hours, total. He has now used up all his vacation time, and starting next week, we will be going into our savings just to meet our basic living expenses. (I am 62, and my social security, which I have not yet signed up for, would cover only about 35% of these.)

In our 30+ years of marriage, the longest time he has been without work was for about two months. He has done many kinds of engineering-related work from simple drafting to quality control to facilities engineering, and so last week, with his bossís blessing, he registered with a temp agency. However, he is 59, and we are not sure if and when he will be able to find work that would be equal to what he would get in unemployment, or even pay any anywhere close to what his hourly rate has been. Btw, here in Colorado, people can only collect Unemployment for six months.

And still another factor in deciding what to do is that we have been planning to retire to a fairly rural town in New Hampshire, but not until he was old enough to collect social security. We live fairly modestly, and we are planning to buy a home for about $100k less than our current home is worth, so with our combined social security, we would be able to live on that without touching our savings. However, if we sell our home and move this summer, we should get a net profit on our house of about $125k, plus our living expenses will be much less because if we pay for our New Hampshire home in cash, we would then only have to pay property tax and house insurance. (We do have enough savings to pay off our Colorado home now, but we havenít done so because of tax reasons and because we have a very small interest rate.) However, my husband does not like to be idle, and judging from his past short periods of unemployment, he is definitely not yet ready to retire, even though he might not have much choice no matter where we live.

Any and all advice would be much appreciated!

P.S. I would be willing to go back to work, but I could probably only get a minimum wage job, and as this would require that we would get a second car, as there is no bus service in our area, our net profit would be minimal.
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Central Massachusetts
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Well I think you might be having to stay in CO for a while yet. Your mortgage being paid off by retirement funds is one thing but might not be the best option. I am not saying it is the worst either. You will be able to do that penalty free if it is from either of your savings because by the time he gets to touch any he will most likely be 59.5. At 59 it is a tough time to be out on the street from many occupations. It means finding employment again in that industry usually means closed doors. Part time work is available but that only covers so much so there is pain there. Short of a full time position will mean tough times meeting day to day living. If there is something that can help you make ends meet there paying off your mortgage in CO and buying something small in NH is helpful. You might need to consult a fee only financial planner. Not an investment counselor. That is a completely different field. Look for that fee only FP and make an inquiry. If you are not comfortable with them after your first free talk then look for another until you feel comfortable. Remember make sure they are fee only and you are looking only for financial planning not investment strategies. That is an important point to make.
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:31 AM
 
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What about health insurance? I can tell you firsthand it's the largest expense we have. Even cobra is very expensive
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,476 posts, read 9,247,691 times
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File for partial unemployment.
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
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When my brother has been laid off from jobs in Texas, he worked temp agency jobs and was able to collect unemployment between temp jobs. Therefore he was able to stretch out his unemployment. Perhaps your husband could do the same between temp jobs and short term jobs with his present employer. I would not use my savings to pay off the mortgage. If you live in a hot real estate market like Denver, I'd be tempted to wait it out a couple of years for the home appreciation. But if you have a lot of decluttering to do before you move and home repairs to make, this would be a good time to do it.
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:29 AM
 
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Thanks to ALL who have replied so far!

Yes, health insurance is a concern, but I understand -- please correct me if I am wrong -- that if he is laid off, he will be able to get insurance through ACA (Obamacare) at much less than COBRA would be.
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Gilbert, AZ
3,248 posts, read 2,010,689 times
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Would you be able to get jobs, even part-time jobs, in NH? Being able to cut your expenses soon would probably help quite a lot. Sounds like you just need to "bridge the gap" for a few years until you can live on your SS benefits?

With respect to ACA, there is a minimum income to qualify for credits (as well as a maximum)...

What is The Minimum Income For ObamaCare? - Obamacare Facts
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Old 02-25-2016, 01:13 PM
 
7,114 posts, read 1,531,920 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikernut View Post
Would you be able to get jobs, even part-time jobs, in NH? Being able to cut your expenses soon would probably help quite a lot. Sounds like you just need to "bridge the gap" for a few years until you can live on your SS benefits?

With respect to ACA, there is a minimum income to qualify for credits (as well as a maximum)...

What is The Minimum Income For ObamaCare? - Obamacare Facts

Not really sure we can get part-time jobs, unless we move fairly close to a city, even a small one. Yes, we are talking about, at most, a five-year gap. (My husband is actually already 59 1/2.)

Yes, with my SS and very small pension, our income would be, at minimum, about $16K a year, plus an additional $2400 (about) a month for Unemployment (but, again, that would be for only six months) -- plus, we can also start withdrawing from his 401k, if need be. I would think that all of these would count as income, right?
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Old 02-25-2016, 01:44 PM
 
678 posts, read 850,675 times
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Good luck with Obamacare. Your income has to be pretty low for substantial subsidy. Go onto the website and put in your state and age and play around with income amounts. Remember, unemployment is considered income. At your ages it's a very large expense. Of course there are some bare bone policies but in the end you could end up paying much more if you need tests, get sick, have an accident, etc. Just something to consider
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Old 02-25-2016, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Gilbert, AZ
3,248 posts, read 2,010,689 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whocares811 View Post
Not really sure we can get part-time jobs, unless we move fairly close to a city, even a small one. Yes, we are talking about, at most, a five-year gap. (My husband is actually already 59 1/2.)

Yes, with my SS and very small pension, our income would be, at minimum, about $16K a year, plus an additional $2400 (about) a month for Unemployment (but, again, that would be for only six months) -- plus, we can also start withdrawing from his 401k, if need be. I would think that all of these would count as income, right?
Sure, all of those would count as income.

Every year that one or both of you can stay employed can make a noticable impact, both in terms of increasing your SS benefits and also not withdrawing money from your 401k.

Speaking personally, if I couldn't find enough employment locally I would sell the house for now and move somewhere for employment even if it's temporary. I would rather do that than be struggling financially for potentially the rest of my life. Other people would not choose that route. It's a personal thing, I understand. I know it's not pleasant to face these decisions, especially when you are so close.
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