I knew it was coming. Not really, of course, because of all the legalities of eliminating someone’s job. Yes, it’s always shocking to hear the words, but nonetheless, I’d been expecting it for months. It doesn’t matter how or why this happened…corporations reorganize and “rightsize” or “downsize” their resources all the time. What’s important is this: It has no immediate damaging impact on my family’s finances.
Of course, losing 60% of your family’s gross income is going to be painful. How could it not be? We’ve been saving $4k each month in retirement and at least another $4k in other accounts, so honestly, my first thought was, “Well, my net worth is going to take a bit of a hit…”
If I find a new job quickly, my net worth would benefit by saving most of my rather healthy severance package. But really, I need some time to decompress first. So, I decided to take off the month of March. And the next few months are crazy busy, but I’ll make some time for a job search! It’s good to know that I’m not desperate to have to rush into just anything.
The reality is that we could continue with our current lifestyle for nearly six months and not miss a beat, except for the $2k each month that I contributed to my 401(k). Without the saving of the “extra” $4k each month, and with just a few small changes (stopping most charitable contributions and some dining out, no more cleaning lady), I can stretch out the severance* to a year. Hubby’s pay covers most of the monthly expenses, and we have decreased his 401(k) contributions just a bit.
“Oh, you poor thing…such bad timing with your big trip planned this summer, and your kid starting college in the Fall.” All that has already been saved for. That’s why I budget. That’s why I save. That’s why I’m still sleeping well at night.
THIS is why it is so important not to splurge with every last extra cent in your paycheck. THIS is MY rainy day. A little damage from the recent storm? No problem, I have $5k in my house projects fund. Funny fumes coming from the car? No problem. Nearly $1k in the car maintenance fund.
For years, I’ve joked that, after this job, I was going to work at a bookshop somewhere, that I was so over this whole corporate career thing, but maybe I’m not. I see a lot of interesting opportunities out there! I’m exploring some freelance and contract opportunities in the short term.
So I keep my eye on the ultimate prize. These few months in between the last gig and the next one are just a short-term gift. The long game keeps me focused on a REAL early retirement in just five to seven years if I can keep up the savings rate.
*A big shout out to my friends at YNAB, whose software allows me to know EXACTLY how many months I can stretch out my newfound “retirement!” Don’t tell my husband, but beyond the severance, we’ve also accrued a nice emergency fund using YNAB that could allow me to extend my time off by yet another year or more!