My position was eliminated so I was displaced at 64. What do I do now?

by David
(Rogers, AR)

I have 30 years in a career within a difficult business and I will take a chance and say what the field was and hope I will still get some help, support, positive feedback. I was in insurance claims.

Last job was as a supervisor/manager for a TPA for a very large retail company. For the last 5 or 6 years this company has undergone a huge change, restructuring almost every time you turn around. Work environment was toxic.

I was working away one Friday afternoon when my boss tapped me on my shoulder and said there was something he needed to speak with me about. I locked my computer thinking I would be back however when we began walking to the front of the building I started to think this is it.

His office was at the back of the building. I knew I had been had when he opened the door to the conference room and there was another manager sitting there as the witness. We sat down and the words that came out of my manager's mouth were "we announced a re-org yesterday and you are out."

I asked if I was being displaced and that is when he said yes. He slid a paper across the table to me to sign. Said I could not go back to my desk.

The manager that was in the room as a witness went to my desk to get things I needed. I walked out of the building I had been going to for 11 1/2 years. I had worked for this same company years back and had a total of 18 of my years spent basically working to defend this very large company from their own mistakes.

So now what?????

I had a plan in place. Needed to work at least 3 more years. Didn't begin saving and investing for this until I was in my mid 40s. Lost half of my investments twice. Still owe on my house and a car.

My plan would and still could work on paying all debt off before going to full retirement. However it has been since mid July since that Friday and I can only achieve a part time job so far.

The only full time jobs I have been offered have been very low paying. I only apply for jobs that I know I can do and am very qualified.

I do believe ageism exists but I am ignoring this. I will be turning 65 in a couple of months and have signed up for Medicare which I was going to have to do anyway. I looked very hard at filing for Social Security now but if I wait just one more year due to what my wife will be getting through the spousal benefit we really need to wait one more year.

To be honest I am struggling. All my work is gone. It was a difficult type of work but I found things about it that I felt good about.

One of the main points was it would help my wife and I achieve a good retirement. Now that is gone. I don't want to go into retirement in debt and that is what I might have to do. I am looking for ideas on how to remedy all this.

I feel I have been forced into retirement but I am fighting it. I want to and need to keep working and making decent money. Do I go into business for myself? If yes I need help and how do I know how to charge, etc.. No guarantee that will work. I do have some assets but this changes everything.

Good grief, this is crazy!!!!

Comments for My position was eliminated so I was displaced at 64. What do I do now?

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Re: displaced at 64
by: Anonymous

Your situation was identical to mine except I was 58. I knew the writing was on the wall because all 50’s and 60’s YO’s were being let go. Every time I was called to THE office I took my flash drive with me. I was in a niche position which I was never able to get back into. Start your own business as I did. You may not make the money you were making but most important you won’t fall into bad place mentally which is more important than money at this time.

Another idea
by: Laura in Vermont

You mentioned maybe starting a business but had a lot of questions. I would suggest checking around for ideas and information.

Try Small Business Administration for general guidance. Also look for local small business incubators and associations. They can hook you up with space, loans, and support too, being in the same boat you are. There's lots to know about starting a business, to do it right, but for a longer-term solution to your situation, it's worth a look.

Also, is there a market for people who know a lot about insurance to be consultants? That might be an option...

Don't Panic!
by: Susan


Don't panic. I quit my job,aka retired, at 56. I went back for a few years as a part time contractor. I left on my own as I needed to help my parents. I wished to get a package, with a layoff, but others laid off, not me. They needed me.

But, my reason for writing, you'll be happily surprised how you can live under a budget. I have a mortgage, but it's at 4%. My IRA and 401k have grown very nicely, so I am fine paying the mortgage, and letting my retirement grow.

If you have to, you can start soc sec now. That's not so bad, as you'll get 24months of payments, before the full age. If you need the money, then take it. But if you do, beware of how much salary you can make, without causing a reduction in your soc sec. You might get more just taking soc sec, and not working.

A mortgage is not a killer. But if feel it is, sell your home. Go to a less expensive place.

This is all doable. Since they laid you off, you probably got a little severance. Breath...and start you new life. 64 is a good age to retire.

Another thing
by: Wee-zer

David, this is another thing to consider. I know you will absolutely hate this idea but it is something to consider.

My friend works at Walmart and she is another survivor who went bankrupt and is now making her way out of the rubble. Walmart has a 401K plan and they match up to a certain amount.

Here is a list of other employers with good 401k plans:

Most of these places require you work a certain amount of hours per year (1,000) before you become eligible to join. In the meantime, you could save the money you might have put into 401k into some other savings program like an IRA.

If your wife could take on a job and join the 401K she could possibly invest her whole paycheck between 401k and other savings. If your plan was to retire in 3 years perhaps you could take on some kind of job that offers 401k.

These jobs do not pay well for sure but if you could figure out a way to work two jobs, maybe you could make it work.

Just some ideas I am throwing out there.

Welcome to the club
by: Wee-zer

David, sorry to hear about your job. I have lost jobs 3 times and it is never easy. The older you are the prospects of finding a job gets harder.

I am going to offer my ideas. Not sure if they will work for you or you will like them.

Right now you are in SURVIVAL mode and have to do what it takes to survive. You must analyze every penny that leaves your hands.

You say you have a part time job now. I would suggest you find another part time job. Even if it is beneath your abilities. Like even a minimum wage job. That job could pay for your car payment. There are lots of seniors that work these low paying jobs and they too are in survival mode.

You need to analyze your situation too. What if you sold the house and got into a smaller one and possibly, from the proceeds of the sale of your home it could be paid off. You could also look into a HECM mortgage for purchase. You basically sell your house and buy another with this HECM mortgage and you only have to put down a certain down payment and never have to pay mortgage payments again until the last person leaves the home. Then, most likely, the equity is gone but you could live in the house the rest of your life with no mortgage payments.

Also, please make sure you and your wife are eligible for the spousal benefit. The SS rules seem to change for certain age groups. Talk to a SS person.

My husband and I are both on SS. He started at age 63 and me at age 62 1/2. That money is the core of our retirement funds. Husband has a small pension. That money gets banked and is used for car expenses (repairs), certain lawn expenses and other odd ball things. Then we withdraw about 3.5% of our retirement funds each year. Once you reach 70 1/2 you will have to start withdrawing your retirement savings per the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) schedule. The percentage goes up each year. From an old schedule I have here, at age 70 it is saying that the RMD is 3.65%. So you can base your withdrawals on that amount for rough figuring of what you have to pull out of savings. Of course, that amount will get taxed thru your state and federal taxes. The lower income you are, the more you will get refunded.

Analyze what kind of a car you have. I don't know what you have but if you have a high car payment you could possibly trade it in for a lower cost car thus, resulting in a lower payment.

Husband and I have older cars but get them serviced regularly. We have no payments.

Analyze all your bills. See what you might be able to eliminate and pare down. Like cable costs. Sometimes you can get a better package at a lower cost. I just got rid of cell phone insurance on two phones and that worked out to about $18 a month.

You don't mention if your wife works. If not, can she get a part time job?

You need to go into frugal mode. Analyze your food budget. Shop the bargains. Challenge yourself to a certain $ amount each week to see how cheap you can eat and still be healthy. Like adding more beans to your diet. More eggs. Leftovers for lunch and dinner.

Just restart thinking where every penny is going and try to squeeze a bit more out of it. Dinners at home, brown bag lunches.

Also, this could be a time to clean out your house and start selling unused items. Make a little money that way.

Have you considered becoming a consultant in the work you do? You could be self employed that way.

Go to your town hall and see if they have a program that gives senior citizens a break on town taxes. We were eligible for a few years. Our income went up so we became ineligible for next year. It reduced our taxes by about $900 a year.

I don't know if anything I have added will be helpful to you but there is ageism out there and they disguise it. Companies attitudes are that they can hire two people to replace you and still have money left over. The working world is pretty cruel.

I do think downsizing is the answer. Maybe you need to move to a cheaper area. The last thing you want to do is lose your house and all the equity you have in it.

I do hope you find peace. Financial problems are worrisome and the older we get we just don't need that hanging over our heads.

Best wishes and let us know how things are going.

by: Anonymous

This all sounds quite traumatic. You didn't get a chance to process any of this, and it's a significant blow.

My Thoughts
by: Wendy, retirement enthusiast

Your forced retirement is so normal for so many.

Many are forced out, but smile through their retirement party, telling co-workers they are thrilled to retire, but behind the scenes they are forced out of their jobs.

Many also have debt in retirement. Nobody wants debt. Ever. But it happens and it's not easy to pay off. Thats simply another part of life.

You owe on a house and a car, that's really not bad at all. Lots of retirees keep a mortgage as a tax write-off... even if they can pay it off. Somehow, you are managing (even with only part-time income) to pay both on a monthly basis -- so you are fine there.

Yes, you could have saved more, but when is enough enough? Many save over a lifetime, then lose, and that is downright scary, but it happens. You never know what happens in life -- when you will need those funds and if they will be there for you. Don't beat yourself up about it.

I am not saying you should have no worries. However, I do want to say most of what you've written about is normal for many retirees. You are not alone.

If you want to work, join our Working in Retirement Facebook group (link on the Work in Retirement Page (top navigation bar). Let Larry help you think out of the box on options you might not easily see.

Wishing you Peace and Contentment as you move into retirement, day by day!

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