Welcome to Unemployment

Last week, I was let go from my job.  The reasons are unimportant.

So now, I am unemployed right before Christmas.

And my renters are moving out at the end of the month.

Normally, this should be a time for panic, but strangely, it’s not.

It actually came with a feeling of relief.  Again, the reasons are unimportant.

But still, my predictable income has suddenly become unpredictable.

It is times like this that I’m glad I’ve spent the last 5 years crushing my debt.  I currently have about $1000 on a credit card from my monthly expenses and around $10,000 on my mortgage.

That’s it.  There’s no soul-destroying credit card debt.  No car payment.

Trimming down to the not-painful-but-not-barebones basics puts my monthly nut at $3300.  Leaving a bit of comfort and savings in place, that jumps to $4000.

Our income from my wife’s job and the renter in our home comes to about $1600 per month.   That’s $1700 per month that we’re off from the basics and $2400 we’re off from a comfortable level.

However, I expect to have our rental house rented by the end of the year.  There are some repairs we have to make after the current tenants leave.  That will bring in a minimum of $1200 per month, hopefully $1500.   That closes the gap to $500-1200.

Now, aside from the biggest benefit of killing out debt(no monthly payments!), we’ve also been saving about 20% of our income outside of our retirement accounts.   We have enough to bridge that gap for 25-60 months.   Unemployment will also provide enough to cover the difference for about 6 months.  That means without doing any side work…sitting on my butt playing video games…I could cover my bill comfortably for two and a half years.  If I cut down to bare minimum expenses, I can stretch that to nearly 7 years.

That’s why I don’t drive a new car or wear expensive clothes.   That’s why I don’t vacation on my credit cards.  That’s why my kids don’t have the latest, greatest video game systems and we don’t have a big screen TV.

It’s because we chose to prioritize our financial security over pure luxuries.  We chose to sacrifice optional things now so we wouldn’t have to sacrifice things like food if life took a surprise turn down a bad road.

Now, before anybody reads this and understands it as “Jason’s taking a decade off”, in the week I’ve been unemployed, I’ve had 2 phone interviews, and a request for another.  One of those has turned into a tentative job offer already.  I expect to remain unemployed for less than a month.

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    1. Remarkable! That’s amazing that you’ve been able to take the layoff without batting an eye or missing a beat. Very admirable. Many people struggle with just 6months survival money tucked away so kudos to you for putting in the work to not let unemployment stress you out or take you under.

    2. And that, my friend, is how you win at life, always be prepared for the unexpected. Hope your job hunting ends quickly!

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