So after working for the same company for 15 years, my mom was fired without warning this morning.
When I first heard I was really worried. My mom turns 59 next month. She still has 20 years left on her mortgage, has very little money put away for retirement, and has a lot of health problems that makes great health care coverage a necessity. Beyond the money, she's had a lot of bad personal news over the last year. My parents are divorced, and my dad started dating someone new a year ago but didn't tell her about it until six months after they started dating. Despite being divorced, my parents have always been very close. I think my mom even thought they'd get remarried at some point. They were in a sort of pseudo platonic marriage with separate housing for a decade and a half, and it always worked very well for us.
But since he started dating this woman, he barely comes around the house anymore, and my mom has sort of lost her best friend. Added to that, my grandpa has recently come down with some serious health problems in the past few months. He had a heart episode of some sort at my brother's wedding in February and was taken to the hospital from the reception. Usually he comes up to Michigan for the summer for a few months to visit with the family here, and he lives with my aunt in Texas for the rest of the year. But it's the end of June and he's not here yet because the doctor won't let him fly until he's stabilized.
My mom also has a lot of chronic pain issues. She's had a series of accidents over the years. She hurt her arms when she was younger when an automatic door shut and clamped down on her wrists while working at a grocery store. She's also been injured in a couple of car accidents, the most recent of which was a year ago which aggravated problems in her back. This severely limits the types of jobs she's able to do, to say nothing of quality of life issues.
All this combined, plus my brother and I moving away from her, and now today's job loss has me really, really worried for what she's going to do now. My brother just moved out with his wife to a neighboring city, and my dad just moved in with his girlfriend but hasn't told my mom yet, so that's a time bomb waiting to go off. And I'll be back in Nebraska soon.
She's not taking it quite as badly as I would have expected. I think she's actually viewing it as a bit of a blessing in disguise. She hated her job, but she'd resigned to work there until she could eke out a retirement in a few years. She's finally getting to a place of financial security after a decade of my brother's poor decisions severely screwed up her finances. It just really sucks because it seemed like, despite some bad news here and there, things were actually headed in a good direction given her high stress levels.
The bright side is that her now ex-employers are offering her severance. She has three months to figure things out, including three months of insurance (her premium for her old plan was $18,000 a year last I checked). They also offered her the chance to get a different job with another member of the family that owns the original business. But she hated her old job, and she hates that family now that they've screwed her over so thoroughly over the years.
So she has some time to consider her options. She could try to get the new job they're pointing her to. She could try for something else, since she hates that line of work. She could take a few weeks and spend some time with my grandpa, and in general she can take some time to rest, which she hasn't done in more than a decade.
So I'm worried, but I'm also a little hopeful that she'll take this in stride and come out well on the other side. It's just a terrible market for a 59 year old woman to try and find a new career, or even get a job in her old one. That's what really has me worried, especially given her medical needs.
Out of curiosity, her severance agreement gives her the option to take her payout in biweekly paychecks like she normally would or as a lump sum. Is there any sort of penalty or tax problem with the lump sum, or is just a matter of preference? If anyone knows I'd appreciate some advice.
Could be an issue with the lump sum, as more taxes are taken out initally. I know that my employer used to pay daily pay, and I took home 165 and change for 8 hours. Now we went to weekly pay, and I take home less than 165 x 5 if I work 40 hours.
It has to do with the way they calculate what tax bracket you will be in....the bigger a single check is, the more is taken out. It all works out in the wash....you get it back if at the end of the year of the calculations are off....but in the short term it can hurt you.
Posts: 15072 | Registered: Jul 2001
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Good luck to your mom, Lyr. I'm glad to hear they're giving her severance (including insurance, which is huge).
Given that the three months are all in one tax year, I don't think it makes much difference, but I strongly recommend that she consult with her accountant before she decides.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003
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