Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

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boomer
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by boomer » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:56 am

It seems like maybe let spouse keep her job and you find a job that pays less. Yes I realize that means you may make less from now on. I guess maybe you would need to decide if you are okay with that.
It seems like the other alternative is the long commute. Maybe do that for now before taking a lower-paying job.
It's great that you have your nest egg. Before I spent that down I would take a job that pays less.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by White Coat Investor » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:05 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:The long awaited layoff happened this week. After 17 years of continuous employment I find myself without a paycheck for the first time in my career. I was mentally prepared for it. Been searching for a job since the beginning of the year (for the last 9 months) without any luck so far. My line of tech is considered “old”. Funny how times change. When I started I was fortunate to be part of some of the hottest companies in the valley. To diversify from my “old” tech I went to business school, took up as many varied jobs as I got – Sales Engineer, Product Manager, Marketing etc. Built a business from nothing to $1B. Got stellar reviews for years. But apparently not enough to impress any hiring manager yet. My professional network is mostly in “old tech” that is rapidly shrinking hence my ex-colleagues, ex-managers are all worried about their own survival and cannot do much for me.

Here is the bottom line:

Age: 40
Portfolio: $2MM (60/40 Equities/Bonds) (60/40 Taxable/Retirement). Mostly Vanguard funds with some Berkshire Hathaway and I Bonds.
No house. I rent.
Annual expenses $100,000 (Rent+Private school tuition is bulk of this. Private school is not an option as we live in an area with very bad public schools)
Spouse earns about $85K/year. Also in a stagnant and shrinking industry.

As I look ahead I see the following options for me

* Take up a “old tech” job with 1hr 30min commute each way (3hrs total per day). There are some jobs that might fit my profile in a distant corner of Silicon Valley 40 miles from where I reside and I haven’t searched there but I’m reasonably optimistic I’ll get something. Downside is that there is a very high probability of getting laid off in another 1-2 years due to macro shifts. Along with those 3hr per day commutes. And its only going to get harder to transition out from old tech to new tech. One upside is my compensation will be closer to my current salary. So milk it for another 2-3 years till it lasts and then get forcibly unemployed.

* Relocate outside of the Bay Area but stay in the US – lots of jobs in Seattle. Again, haven’t looked closely. But Microsoft and Amazon seem to be hiring gangbusters. Downside is spouse looses her job. She has a very specialized line of work so it is not easy to find jobs.

* Keep on knocking doors on the “new tech” companies. And hope something turns up. Network like crazy. Participate in meetups etc. Downside: huge risk. No salary for months. Perhaps years. Burn through savings.

* Consider working for startups – take a deep salary cut. Insane hours. High risk of both burnout and failure.

*Retire in the US – not an option. Burn through all savings.

*Retire outside of US – I’m an immigrant. But not sure about both career prospects and family prospects as my “old tech” jobs are few and far between in my country of origin. But with low cost of living I should be able to retire. I don’t want to do this. But I see it as my last option to stretch out my savings.

What would you do ?
I don't see what the big deal is. This is hardly "grim." I mean, you need $100K in income. Your spouse provides $85K. You need just $15K. That's a withdrawal rate of what....0.75%? Seems plenty safe to me for you to NEVER work again, much less burn through savings. In fact, if you simply left California for a low cost of living area, your living expenses would likely drop at least $20K and you would be financially independent and neither of you would have to work again.

You've got plenty of time to figure out what you want to do with your life now that you don't have to work for money. You're only 40. You could go get another degree and have a completely different career in a different field. Dental, medical, law, accounting, real estate, new tech....whatever.

I wouldn't be surprised if this layoff turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. The hard part is going to be figuring out what you want to do with your life. But it doesn't have to be something that pays very well by any means.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

aaronl
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by aaronl » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:08 am

KlangFool wrote:aaronl,

How old is she?

Age discrimination is real in the Bay Area.

KlangFool
In her case, it's a remote position. She interviewed in Indiana. I don't think ageism was a factor at all.

Point taken about age discrimination in the Bay Area. However, I would not expect a 40 year old to be unemployable, by any means.

bampf
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by bampf » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:09 am

Data scientists are some of the hottest skills out there. Look at financial institutions that are still running mainframes,,, no such thing as old tech. Tech is just a tool. Update your tool belt, but hang on to your tools. Colorado is at 2% unemployment. Think space, financials, software defined... this is doable...

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by White Coat Investor » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:11 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:My understanding is that LCOL is a short term mirage - employment opportunities are limited and once you're unemployed it takes a really long time to get your job back. Most of the mid-west is dying rust belt is it not ? Ditto for the southern bible belt cities. Seattle is a bright exception.
You need to get out of the Bay Area more often. Maybe it's tough to get a tech job outside of the Bay Area, but for every other field it's routine. Most medical jobs aren't in the Bay Area. Most teaching jobs aren't in the Bay Area. Most garbageman jobs aren't in the Bay Area. Most law jobs aren't in the Bay Area. Most small business jobs aren't in the Bay Area. Seattle is just like Bay Area North- just as expensive, just as much traffic, etc.

If you can't get another job in 9 months, I suspect you need to lower your price/widen your geographical range/consider a wider range of jobs and in the meantime, start working on a side hustle that may grow into a viable entrepreneurial opportunity. I mean, sure, if you demand to have a job within an hour of your house, in a field that is shrinking, that also pays six figures, I can see why that might be a tough order. But I bet you could get two of the three.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

limeyx
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by limeyx » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:12 am

visualguy wrote:
Kenkat wrote:What exactly is old tech?
In the Bay Area, that means almost anything that people were doing in tech 10+ years ago. :(
Yeah but I do think its possible to re-invent yourself although you may need to do so at the larger companies (as stated by the OP)
Look at the guys running Azure and AWS ... many of them came from Mainframe and punch-cards ... the bigger companies still value this ...I assume the biggies have presence in the bay area so maybe this is a possibility ?

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Hyperborea
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by Hyperborea » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:16 am

KlangFool wrote: Age discrimination is real in the Bay Area.

KlangFool
Age discrimination is real everywhere. It's in the Bay Area too but it is definitely not like it was 20 years ago. When were you last working in the Bay Area?

As I said above, I interviewed and was hired by one of the supposed "young people only" hot tech companies when I was older than the original poster. I worked with and knew people at the company older than me - 10 and 20 years older. One of my co-workers from a previous company was hired at this company when he was over 60 as a software engineer.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by BVRFC » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:31 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:Guys, spouse is really attached to the Bay Area because of her line of work. She's apprehensive that she wont be getting an equivalent job (with a pension, great bennies etc.) in other parts of the country. On your suggestions for LCOL - I'm personally completely in favor of it, but am handicapped by my ignorance of life outside the Bay Area. If you have any specific suggestions for employer/location please drop me a quick line. I'll greatly appreciate it. My understanding is that LCOL is a short term mirage - employment opportunities are limited and once you're unemployed it takes a really long time to get your job back. Most of the mid-west is dying rust belt is it not ? Ditto for the southern bible belt cities. Seattle is a bright exception.
Move to Round Rock, TX (suburb just northeast of Austin, TX) and apply for a position at Dell.

$100,000 in San Francisco, CA is comparable to $51,636 in Round Rock, TX.

With $2M in savings, you and your wife could retire today in Round Rock, TX, never work another day in your lives, and have a higher QOL than you have near San Francisco. You could both take up jobs as Walmart greeters, and you would have more purchasing power in Round Rock, TX than you have in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If the Dell job doesn't work out, get a house near Lake Pflugerville, get a job at the Bass Pro Shops stocking shelves, and learn to like bass fishing. You've already won the game!

You are already completely financially independent if you will just rid yourself of the albatross around your neck and leave the San Francisco Bay Area.

davidsorensen32
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by davidsorensen32 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:44 am

WCI, love your blog ! There is an incorrect assumption in your maths. 85k is gross. It's more like 65k after taxes. My assumptions are more like I need 3.5% withdrawal which is cutting it too close.
White Coat Investor wrote:
davidsorensen32 wrote:The long awaited layoff happened this week. After 17 years of
continuous employment I find myself without a paycheck for the first time in my career. I was mentally prepared for it. Been searching for a job since the beginning of the year (for the last 9 months) without any luck so far. My line of tech is considered “old”. Funny how times change. When I started I was fortunate to be part of some of the hottest companies in the valley. To diversify from my “old” tech I went to business school, took up as many varied jobs as I got – Sales Engineer, Product Manager, Marketing etc. Built a business from nothing to $1B. Got stellar reviews for years. But apparently not enough to impress any hiring manager yet. My professional network is mostly in “old tech” that is rapidly shrinking hence my ex-colleagues, ex-managers are all worried about their own survival and cannot do much for me.

Here is the bottom line:

Age: 40
Portfolio: $2MM (60/40 Equities/Bonds) (60/40 Taxable/Retirement). Mostly Vanguard funds with some Berkshire Hathaway and I Bonds.
No house. I rent.
Annual expenses $100,000 (Rent+Private school tuition is bulk of this. Private school is not an option as we live in an area with very bad public schools)
Spouse earns about $85K/year. Also in a stagnant and shrinking industry.

As I look ahead I see the following options for me

* Take up a “old tech” job with 1hr 30min commute each way (3hrs total per day). There are some jobs that might fit my profile in a distant corner of Silicon Valley 40 miles from where I reside and I haven’t searched there but I’m reasonably optimistic I’ll get something. Downside is that there is a very high probability of getting laid off in another 1-2 years due to macro shifts. Along with those 3hr per day commutes. And its only going to get harder to transition out from old tech to new tech. One upside is my compensation will be closer to my current salary. So milk it for another 2-3 years till it lasts and then get forcibly unemployed.

* Relocate outside of the Bay Area but stay in the US – lots of jobs in Seattle. Again, haven’t looked closely. But Microsoft and Amazon seem to be hiring gangbusters. Downside is spouse looses her job. She has a very specialized line of work so it is not easy to find jobs.

* Keep on knocking doors on the “new tech” companies. And hope something turns up. Network like crazy. Participate in meetups etc. Downside: huge risk. No salary for months. Perhaps years. Burn through savings.

* Consider working for startups – take a deep salary cut. Insane hours. High risk of both burnout and failure.

*Retire in the US – not an option. Burn through all savings.

*Retire outside of US – I’m an immigrant. But not sure about both career prospects and family prospects as my “old tech” jobs are few and far between in my country of origin. But with low cost of living I should be able to retire. I don’t want to do this. But I see it as my last option to stretch out my savings.

What would you do ?
I don't see what the big deal is. This is hardly "grim." I mean, you need $100K in income. Your spouse provides $85K. You need just $15K. That's a withdrawal rate of what....0.75%? Seems plenty safe to me for you to NEVER work again, much less burn through savings. In fact, if you simply left California for a low cost of living area, your living expenses would likely drop at least $20K and you would be financially independent and neither of you would have to work again.

You've got plenty of time to figure out what you want to do with your life now that you don't have to work for money. You're only 40. You could go get another degree and have a completely different career in a different field. Dental, medical, law, accounting, real estate, new tech....whatever.

I wouldn't be surprised if this layoff turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. The hard part is going to be figuring out what you want to do with your life. But it doesn't have to be something that pays very well by any means.

CurlyDave
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by CurlyDave » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:13 am

Google is your friend.

I just looked up "Job Fair San Jose" and there are several coming up in the next month. One is on August 16.

Go there, be early, wear a suit and bring twice as many resumes as they tell you. Spend the next few days putting together a good resume.

Talk to your previous boss. Agree on exactly why you were laid off. People will ask this question and you need to have a good answer.

I was older than you when I got my last job in the Bay Area, and it was from a contact I made at a job fair.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Things are not nearly as bleak as you think. Good jobs are found in person, not by sending resumes through email. Seasoned managers are hard to come by. You have been unemployed for all of one week and you think you will never get another job. Unemployment in the SF Bay area is on the order of 4%, and is going lower. You do not have to be a 25 year old wiz kid to get a job.

And, you have enormous advantages. 1. You are there. You can be hired with no relocation expense. 2. You can start immediately. 3. You are a seasoned pro. You will be productive in a week or two.

Sure, if you are looking for entry-level jobs young kids have an advantage. But even young companies need a few wise "old crows" who can prevent rookie mistakes. You aren't looking for an entry level job. You need to bill yourself as a seasoned, experienced worker who can mentor younger people and add value to a company.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Looking for a job is a full-time job. Keep a to-do list of what you need to accomplish each day, and do not take any time off until you have done each day's tasks.

I have been through this -- back in the days when Silicon Valley unemployment was 8-10%. That was hard. At 4% qualified people are in short supply. And, looking for another job in you spare time while still employed is nothing at all like looking for one when you have all the time in the world to look.

If you can't find anything in a year, your nest egg will still be intact and you can start thinking about a much lower cost of living area. My bet is 2 months to get nibbles, and less than 6 to land a job.

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Tamarind
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by Tamarind » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:59 am

Luckily you have an enormous nestegg. You can sustain an extended period of job searching. Also luckily, you don't have to find a job making anything like what you used to. You only need $50k gross at the most to plug that hole. You appear to have a pretty broad skillset. I think you can find a lower paying job that doesn't come with crazy startup hours, even though it might not be in your specialty or even industry.

In the meantime, there are three things you need to do:

-Cut all the excess out of the family budget. Eating out, cable, extracurriculars and hobbies, shopping, vacations. No gym, no other subscriptions. Shop lower end and nonorganic and eat less meat. I bet you can find 5% of slack in your budget at least for a year.

-Stop contributing to taxable accounts. Consider stopping any Roth contributions that aren't matched. Consider reducing tax-deferred contributions to free up a little more cash flow from your wife's salary, but make sure to capture any match. Remember that you don't actually need to add more to your nest egg to be able to retire comfortably. You only need to refrain from drawing it down right now. Remember that your family tax bracket has just dropped to 15%, at least for 2018 and possibly this year. That means capital gains are free for you.

- You now have a job at a startup. The mission of the startup is to find you an appropriate job. Work long hours, network, hustle. Don't just work your own connections but make new ones. Talk to a recruiter. Have someone review your resume and give you some interviewing practice/feedback.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by sjt » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:23 am

Tamarind wrote: - You now have a job at a startup. The mission of the startup is to find you an appropriate job. Work long hours, network, hustle. Don't just work your own connections but make new ones. Talk to a recruiter. Have someone review your resume and give you some interviewing practice/feedback.
Work at a startup so you don't have a large unemployment gap while you search for a new position. Sure it may be less salary but you won't need to burn through savings.
Rent + Utilities: $36,000 per annum. But rent controlled. So I don't expect rent to go up very much.
Tuition: $24,000 per annum.
Vacation: $10,000 per annum. [We will get rid of this]
Food, clothing etc: $30,000 per annum [Maybe some opportunity to squeeze here]
$24,000 annual tuition won't be forever. You can cut on vacation in the meantime - do some road trips, keep that under $2000 easily. $30k is a lot to spend on food and clothing annually. Get on some blogs like Mr. Money Mustache and learn how to keep your expenses down. We should be under $30k this year on Credit Card purchases (food, gas, clothing, utilities, etc) - but Raleigh is lower cost of living than Bay Area.

Also look into other areas - you make it seems like the major metropolitan areas like Bay Area and Seattle are the only decent parts of this country and everywhere else is a dump - this is simply untrue. I'm sure California is great but the costs are high too - taxes and goods. Any urban area / suburban area is extremely diverse and you can find a neighborhood or town you fit into for a lot less $ than Bay Area.

Sounds to me like you need to do some soul searching and possibly find a job to cover your annual expenses while letting your investments grow. $2mm is an excellent sum to accrue by age 40 and if you can leave it be even without adding much to it, it will grow to be plenty enough for retirement. I think your views of living have been skewed by living in a HCOLA.

surveyor
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by surveyor » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:32 am

aaronl wrote:
KlangFool wrote:aaronl,

How old is she?

Age discrimination is real in the Bay Area.

KlangFool
In her case, it's a remote position. She interviewed in Indiana. I don't think ageism was a factor at all.

Point taken about age discrimination in the Bay Area. However, I would not expect a 40 year old to be unemployable, by any means.
Indiana is a nice place for you to park for the next 10 years. Eli Lilly (pension still) has data scientist positions open and Salesforce is advertising for 50+ positions. Infosys recently committed to hiring up to 2000 employees over the next few years. There are start ups too but they usually get bought and shipped off to San Francisco. Public schools in Hamilton County (just north of Indianapolis) are good and private schools on the northside of Indianapolis proper are less than $20k a year if you want to go that route. Numerous options exist for college, including public Purdue University and Indiana University. Private Rose Hulman and Notre Dame are both a stone's throw away. Consider it your wind-down towards early retirement. Get the kid(s) through college and retire wherever you want with the money you have saved.

Note: The above likely applies to a handful of mid sized locales not on the coasts. Think Austin, SLC, Denver, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Nashville, Pittsburg, Charlotte, etc.

KlangFool
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:33 am

aaronl wrote:
KlangFool wrote:aaronl,

How old is she?

Age discrimination is real in the Bay Area.

KlangFool
In her case, it's a remote position. She interviewed in Indiana. I don't think ageism was a factor at all.

Point taken about age discrimination in the Bay Area. However, I would not expect a 40 year old to be unemployable, by any means.
aaronl,

Many of my peers in the 40s and 50s are unemployed and under-employed.

KlangFool

mak1277
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:39 am

Why do you have to work for a tech company?

Pretty much every company in every industry has an IT department....and it's not easy to find good candidates for upper level positions. With your tech background **and** an MBA, I would think you'd be a very attractive candidate for a myriad of companies, both big and small, all over the country.

livesoft
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by livesoft » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:44 am

White Coat Investor wrote:I don't see what the big deal is. This is hardly "grim." I mean, you need $100K in income. Your spouse provides $85K. You need just $15K. That's a withdrawal rate of what....0.75%?
I agree that things are not grim, but I suspect a few things are left out of the $100K a year expenses including retirement plan contributions of $36K, Roth contributions of $11K, and maybe a change in health insurance.

I know a few families in a similar situation. After a little while, a job in a different field is acquired. For instance, one friend became a school teacher, another works in the public library, another in the purchasing department of a local corporation. They were all in high-tech beforehand. The spouse makes more money and the spouse's job provides the health insurance.

If the OP was age 50, then semi-retirement would be a real possibility, but I suspect that at age 40, they are not quite ready.
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bigred77
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by bigred77 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:00 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:WCI, love your blog ! There is an incorrect assumption in your maths. 85k is gross. It's more like 65k after taxes. My assumptions are more like I need 3.5% withdrawal which is cutting it too close.
65k after taxes from your wife means you need 35k after taxes via portfolio withdrawal. In the absolute worst case scenario, one which cannot exist in real life, lets say 100% of your withdrawal is taxed as a long term capital gain. Let's say your wife's salary alone puts you in the 25% tax bracket (it doesn't, you would still have room in the 15% bracket but lets move on), so LTCG tax is 15%.

That means you need to withdraw a max of 42k to get 35k net from your portfolio. Every single assumption I made above is worse than your reality but I did it to prove a point. That's a 2.1% withdrawal rate. Far lower than typical withdrawal rates one would consider using to make withdrawals in perpetuity. Your portfolio will continue growing over the years, albeit a little slower, despite your withdrawals.

If you want to stay in the bay area your fine. You don't even have to work as long as your wife keeps working. Just take a deep breath and understand you are not at a crisis point. You can take all the time you need to find a new job (if you even want to work again).

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knpstr
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by knpstr » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:14 am

Even staying where you are at currently: you can draw 3% off of your taxable account forever, which is $36,000, paired with your wife's income $85,000, you guys can still make $121,000/year covering your $100,000 expense requirement.

You can afford to take a lesser paying job if you are forced to do so, or you can retire while your wife works! :beer

Beyond that, "retiring" in the Midwest can be done comfortably on U.S. median income of ~$55,000/yr. Just for some perspective.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. -Marcus Aurelius

hightower
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by hightower » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:21 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:Guys, spouse is really attached to the Bay Area because of her line of work. She's apprehensive that she wont be getting an equivalent job (with a pension, great bennies etc.) in other parts of the country. On your suggestions for LCOL - I'm personally completely in favor of it, but am handicapped by my ignorance of life outside the Bay Area. If you have any specific suggestions for employer/location please drop me a quick line. I'll greatly appreciate it. My understanding is that LCOL is a short term mirage - employment opportunities are limited and once you're unemployed it takes a really long time to get your job back. Most of the mid-west is dying rust belt is it not ? Ditto for the southern bible belt cities. Seattle is a bright exception.
Man, you are definitely walking around with blinders on. Look at what your saying..."life outside of the bay area is terrible, there's no other choice but to live in the bay area."
You're thinking too emotionally right now.
Life outside of the bay area is not a mirage. It is not a dying rust belt in anyway, shape, or form!
I'll give you an example....Cincinnati. I live here. We have a booming renaissance happening in our urban core right now. Hundreds of millions of dollars of new economic activity is happening downtown. The surrounding neighborhoods are booming too. There's actually a shortage of housing at the moment because they can't seem to keep up with all the new demand. People are pouring back into the urban core. Big companies like GE and Proctor and Gamble are hiring and looking for talent in and around the city. GE just built a new large office building here in fact. Doesn't sound like a dying rust belt to me. There's also a great music, arts, food, and outdoor recreation scene here. We just opened a brand new streetcar system downtown and there are plans to expand it already. I could go on and on.
It's not San Francisco or NYC, but for people looking to live a good life with relatively low cost of living, it's a great place to be. Especially for families. Cincinnati is not an anomaly either. There are tons of other examples like it all over the country.

My advice would be to take a chill pill first. You're a multimillionaire and you have lot's of good options. Maybe go visit a few cities and scope out some different job prospects and see what the cities are like. You've been living in a bit of a bubble out there in California. Life outside of there is not bad like you've convinced yourself.
Now, if your wife can't be convinced of the need to move, that's a different story. You need to explain to her that financially speaking, you both could be doing much better long term without the high costs of living that you're experiencing now.
Also, as others have said, you technically could afford to let your wife keep working and draw a small percentage from your portfolio while you work a lesser paying job and stay where you're at. I personally don't like that option because I feel like you run the risk of running out of cash if your wife's job disappears or you overspend. Plus, you're young and talented and it shouldn't be difficult for you to adapt nicely to a new environment.
Whatever you choose, best of luck and remember to stay calm. You're in a good position.

dcabler
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by dcabler » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:27 am

Been there, done that.
Also in tech in the semiconductor world, but based in Austin.
Dodged bullets a few times and had an extended time off once.
1) In my late 40's saw the signs that something was coming and got an interview scheduled just before I was layed off. Took a couple of months to complete the process, but was hired.
2) In my early 50's, a company I had worked for twice (totally a couple of decades) let go of my entire team. Got a most generous package and started at another company in just a couple of months.
3) But that new company shut down its Austin office after only about 8 months. I was then between jobs in 2013-2014 for almost 10 months. I refused to relocate which definitely reduced my options. I knew others who took jobs in Dallas, got an apartment there, and came home only for the weekends. I just couldn't do that. But being an engineer, I did create a lot of spreadsheets during this time! :D While I think we always lived below our means, we basically played it by ear. By digging through online bank and credit card records I was able to see exactly where money was going. Was able to identify some quick low hanging fruit to save money not only while I was between jobs but going forward as well: like dropping Cable (replaced by antenna + Hulu/Roku), limiting eating out, learning that I was running the pump on our pool entirely too long each day, climbing into the attic and putting more insulation in where I detected some "hot spots". Also got a little better handle on the investments and planning for retirement. Discovered that we could have retired at about that time, but it would have been more of a stretch than either of us wanted. Kept up with my network and (more importantly) friends of my network.
4) In June 2014, I started work again. It was still in my industry, but not in a role that I would consider my #1 choice. But I knew how to do it and the pay was good. After less than a year in that role, I transferred to another organization into a role that suited me better. One of the first things I did was to refinance the house (interest rates were at about the bottom). I did this as insurance against another layoff - cash flow improvement was the goal. Late last year, I started to see some signs that there was a good chance that something was going to happen - if you've been in our industry long enough, you learn that companies always give away little (and sometimes not so little) hints and you learn to trust your instincts. So I started to look around to see if somebody else might need my services and about 3 days before they notified my team that we were all being layed off, I made contact with a company for an advertised position that was exactly what I was looking for. After a lengthy interview process across a couple of continents, I started 2 weeks ago with only a very small gap between jobs.

Moral(s) of the story
1. Trust your instincts. If you get that 'vibe' that something bad is going to happen, go with that and start looking.
2. I have worked for a number of companies over the years. There has been only 1 case where a recruiter placed me. In all other cases, I did my own legwork and found the positions myself, either through my contacts or through searches of sites like indeed, ziprecruiter, etc. If nothing else, it gives you some leverage during the negotiation process since the company won't have to pay a recruiter fee.
3. Always look for a new position. Even if you're happy with the one you're in. At the very least, you make new contacts for the future!
4. Keep networking! Stay on LinkedIn and keep it updated. Look at your friends' contacts to see if there is anybody they're connected to that might be a path for future employment. Make yourself available for consulting (and put that on LinkedIn as your current job until you land the next job - you'll then have no gap that the auto-bots will detect and reject)
5. You don't have to have a job that you've done before. You may be surprised about the types of roles you could fill using the experiences you've had over the years.
6. Understand your expenses. You don't have to live like a monk, but time has a way of getting away from us and there are often small things that can be done with no material impact on quality of life, but can pay off in the long run.
7. And speaking of layoffs, one thing I started doing several years ago was to max out my 401K contributions at the beginning of each year. In my industry, layoffs tend to occur most often in the second half of the year, so I wanted to make sure that no matter what, I was maxed out before any layoff could happen.

These are my experiences. Of course, your mileage may vary. :D

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by bayview » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:41 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:Great responses. I'll try to address multiple posts in one:

* 3 hour commute - this seems to be the only viable option for now. I will continue on this course. It will break my heart not to be able to spend time with my DW + kids in elementary school. They think their dad is their best friend. Will continue to do this until my heart gives out or the next bout of unemployment hits (and it will hit, soon, I can tell given the state of the economy...
Go stand in front of a mirror and read this out loud.

Now go stand in front of your wife and kids and read this out loud.

Even allowing for a bit of hyperbole, do you seriously think that the family who loves you would want this? If you love them, do you think that destroying your physical and emotional health is the way to show it?

You mentioned that the hour and a half commute would cover just 40 miles. That's averaging <27 mph. Stop, go, stop, go, stop, probably on a potholed road. I used to commute between the western side of SF and the Richmond area. A half hour in the morning, 1 1/2-2 hours in the afternoon, crawling along.

You do NOT have to buy into the "can't be happy anywhere but here" bit.

Your family has an opportunity for a great adventure. I hope you can adjust your perspective.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by sophie1 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:45 am

OP, if I understand your situation correctly:

You live in a place you and your family enjoy, for living costs of $76,000 plus private school tuition of $24,000 per year. The $76,000 includes a $10K vacation budget which is presumably a luxury item that can be dropped, leaving day to day living expenses of $66,000. Your spouse earns $85,000 per year - unclear if that's take-home or gross, but let's say gross. You have $2 million in retirement savings, and are (presumably) around age 40.

I don't see what's difficult about this situation. With you out of work, your spouse's income will cover your day to day living expenses. Don't forget your taxes will decrease and your expenses will drop: no work clothes, purchased lunches, commuting costs, office staff gifts etc, plus probably your food bill will drop since you'll be able to cook at home instead of relying on convenience foods or take-out. If you pay for occasional day care/babysitter/dog walker/housecleaner etc because both of you were working, those expenses will also vanish. I assume your medical insurance can be covered from your spouse's job.

The private school tuition can be covered from your retirement savings. Hopefully you have some socked away in accessible places that will cover the next 5 years (taxable savings, Roth IRA contributions > 5 years old, HSA with medical bills recorded). You can start a 5-year Roth pipeline to cover future expenses, assuming the tuition bill will continue for more than 5 years. Again, no problem since $2 million should provide $80,000 in income annually (pre-tax) at a 4% withdrawal rate. Even a 2% withdrawal rate, for added safety, will still cover that tuition bill plus taxes, and even yield a bit extra for that expensive vacation.

Meanwhile, you have lots of options for developing income sources on your own terms. Do consulting, write an iPhone app, start a blog or ebay business, become an Uber driver...endless possibilities that don't involve a 3 hour commute or other drastic measures.

In point of fact, you're in a very good position! You don't need to take on another corporate job. Congratulations!

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by aristotelian » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:10 am

White Coat Investor wrote:
I don't see what the big deal is. This is hardly "grim." I mean, you need $100K in income. Your spouse provides $85K. You need just $15K. That's a withdrawal rate of what....0.75%? Seems plenty safe to me for you to NEVER work again, much less burn through savings. In fact, if you simply left California for a low cost of living area, your living expenses would likely drop at least $20K and you would be financially independent and neither of you would have to work again.

You've got plenty of time to figure out what you want to do with your life now that you don't have to work for money. You're only 40. You could go get another degree and have a completely different career in a different field. Dental, medical, law, accounting, real estate, new tech....whatever.

I wouldn't be surprised if this layoff turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. The hard part is going to be figuring out what you want to do with your life. But it doesn't have to be something that pays very well by any means.
+1. A family should be able to "get by" on $85K. If spouse likes her job and both like the location, why would you move, except as a last resort, perhaps if/when wife is also laid off? With $2M in the bank, you have a major cushion to take your time and develop the next stage of your career, whether that is starting your own business, getting retrained in "new" tech, or whatever.

Questions for OP...

Does spouse like her job and location?

Have you filed for unemployment?

How about option 3...early retirement, supplementing wife's income with part-time work, small business, etc. Walk dogs, drive for Uber, whatever seems relatively humane to bring in some extra income. Find fulfillment elsewhere, hiking, fishing, or whatever. Seems to me this would be the absolute worst case scenario if you wanted to stay put without disrupting spouse and child.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by Xpe » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:12 am

davidsorensen32 wrote: * New tech is anything that has come of age in the last 10 years - think Google, Facebook, Twitter, AirBnB, Uber, Apple, Netflix etc.
I still don't understand, are you defining 'new tech' by the name of the company you work for? That seems weird, I would define new tech vs old tech by the actual technologies being used.

Also, you mentioned that you no longer program and are on the business side ever since your MBA, I don't understand how it would matter how recent the tech is. I think there's something else going on here, maybe you're emphasizing the wrong things in your resume or something.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by mmmodem » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:32 am

What I would do is read carefully all the comments here and heed their advice. You've got a lot of collected wisdom here and most agree that you've got time to recollect your thoughts and find the job you want.

I live in the bay area so I have the same blinders on as you. It's a tough sell to get me to move from this area. I had the 3 hour roundtrip commute from Milpitas to Richmond. I said the same thing to DW. There are no good schools near my work. Well, she took the challenge and found some in Martinez. Now a 40 minute roundtrip commute is much more palatable. Also private school tuition doesn't last forever. So your $100k per annum expense need would decrease 24% at some point.

Anyway, 3 years ago, I was making the same as your wife, with 2 children living in Milpitas, and DW had been laid off for over 2 years. Our net assets were less than 1/3 of yours. You'd be surprised how much you can cut from the household budget with idleness on your side. DW may have panicked. But I didn't. With guidance from the fine folks here, I knew my budget was sound and could sustain us indefinitely. What was that about HCOLA? :wink:

So if I were you what would I do? I'd buy a new computer and play online games. Replace with your preferred hobby here, something you've wanted to do but couldn't because of work. Relax. Surprise DW with a cleaned house, dinner on the table, children washed and put to bed. After a few weeks, then look for a new job.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by willthrill81 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:01 am

bigred77 wrote:
davidsorensen32 wrote:WCI, love your blog ! There is an incorrect assumption in your maths. 85k is gross. It's more like 65k after taxes. My assumptions are more like I need 3.5% withdrawal which is cutting it too close.
65k after taxes from your wife means you need 35k after taxes via portfolio withdrawal. In the absolute worst case scenario, one which cannot exist in real life, lets say 100% of your withdrawal is taxed as a long term capital gain. Let's say your wife's salary alone puts you in the 25% tax bracket (it doesn't, you would still have room in the 15% bracket but lets move on), so LTCG tax is 15%.

That means you need to withdraw a max of 42k to get 35k net from your portfolio. Every single assumption I made above is worse than your reality but I did it to prove a point. That's a 2.1% withdrawal rate. Far lower than typical withdrawal rates one would consider using to make withdrawals in perpetuity. Your portfolio will continue growing over the years, albeit a little slower, despite your withdrawals.

If you want to stay in the bay area your fine. You don't even have to work as long as your wife keeps working. Just take a deep breath and understand you are not at a crisis point. You can take all the time you need to find a new job (if you even want to work again).
+1

Very well said.

I would just add that even if they both wanted to retire, a 3.5% withdrawal rate is quite safe for an indefinite retirement period (anything longer than 30 years). 3.0% would be beyond rock solid and easily achieved if they moved to a LCOL area.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

davidsorensen32
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by davidsorensen32 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:37 am

Guys, great suggestions. Keep them coming. Some thoughts

* Driving for Uber - both my cars are 17 years old. Uber requires new cars. A new car is a big expense in my current situation.

* Job fair - I haven't had much success in job fairs in the past. I used to go to them regularly earlier in my career. But I will restart.

* Midwest and elsewhere - I have absolutely zero connections in all these places outside of the Bay Area. Will have to start from cold. Not sure about outcomes.

* Budget: Hunkering down now. Built a spreadsheet based on last 12 months expenses and its going to be hard to get below $100K. Big categories are housing $33K, utilities $5K, tuition $25K, Food $24K, Auto expenses $4K, Kids activities $3K (they're in competitive sports). Total = $95K. Throw in one or two low cost vacation, a flat tire, a few clothes to replace old ones, a few $$s to support the extended family and we're > 100K.

* Entrepreneurship - I've *always* wanted to do this. Build an app say or a new product. But the fear of losing a steady paycheck kept me chained to servitude. Still a little unsure of diving in.

And thanks for all the positive vibes. I strongly believe in Mr. Gump's saying "Life is like a box of chocolates" ...

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by KlangFool » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:51 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:
* Job fair - I haven't had much success in job fairs in the past. I used to go to them regularly earlier in my career. But I will restart.

* Midwest and elsewhere - I have absolutely zero connections in all these places outside of the Bay Area. Will have to start from cold. Not sure about outcomes.
davidsorensen32,

1) At 40 years old, the job fair is a waste of time.

<<* Midwest and elsewhere - I have absolutely zero connections in all these places outside of the Bay Area. Will have to start from cold. Not sure about outcomes. >>

2) You had worked for 17 years. Unless you work in a cave, your Linkedin network should have someone outside of the Bay Area. You need a serious attitude adjustment.

3) I had found a job in the USA while I was outside of USA. And, I had done the reverse too. I found a job outside of the USA while I was in the USA.

KlangFool

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by new2bogle » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:11 am

davidsorensen32 wrote: I don't know of anyone moving out of the Bay Area
I moved out of the bay area with a 3% pay cut

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by new2bogle » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:14 am

Xpe wrote:
davidsorensen32 wrote: * New tech is anything that has come of age in the last 10 years - think Google, Facebook, Twitter, AirBnB, Uber, Apple, Netflix etc.
I still don't understand, are you defining 'new tech' by the name of the company you work for? That seems weird, I would define new tech vs old tech by the actual technologies being used.

Also, you mentioned that you no longer program and are on the business side ever since your MBA, I don't understand how it would matter how recent the tech is. I think there's something else going on here, maybe you're emphasizing the wrong things in your resume or something.
I don't understand new vs old tech either. Is that you are not keeping with the new programming/scripting languages? Or do not know how to use the new CAD tools?

I work in tech and have never heard these terms.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by btenny » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:15 am

I am sorry this is so personal but you need to hear this. Your attitude sucks and you are not listening to anything all these smart people are telling you. No wonder you have not found a new job. You say no no no no to almost everything. Your mind is so closed and negative that all potential employers see this bad attitude so they will not hire you. No one wants a manager or employee who says no all the time.

You have to take some time and change your attitude (and your approach and probably your resume) BIG time or you are not going to ever find a good new job. The world is not ending. You need to learn to listen to people better. Quit complaining and whining. You have a great family, a healthy kid and a good wife and you are all in good health. You have a GIANT nest egg and you could retire today if required. Your wife's job is stable and fun for her and provides a good wage. So the world is not ending.

So starting today (yes today) you need to do things to force yourself to say YES YES YES. Listen to people and say yes even if you do not agree. The issue is your attitude. I suggest you go find a career coach and someone to help you improve your attitude and revise your resume and help you seek other employment options beyond your "old tech focus". See below for some examples.

https://www.google.com/search?q=silicon ... e&ie=UTF-8

Good Luck.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:19 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:Guys, great suggestions. Keep them coming. Some thoughts

* Driving for Uber - both my cars are 17 years old. Uber requires new cars. A new car is a big expense in my current situation.

* Job fair - I haven't had much success in job fairs in the past. I used to go to them regularly earlier in my career. But I will restart.

* Midwest and elsewhere - I have absolutely zero connections in all these places outside of the Bay Area. Will have to start from cold. Not sure about outcomes.

* Budget: Hunkering down now. Built a spreadsheet based on last 12 months expenses and its going to be hard to get below $100K. Big categories are housing $33K, utilities $5K, tuition $25K, Food $24K, Auto expenses $4K, Kids activities $3K (they're in competitive sports). Total = $95K. Throw in one or two low cost vacation, a flat tire, a few clothes to replace old ones, a few $$s to support the extended family and we're > 100K.

* Entrepreneurship - I've *always* wanted to do this. Build an app say or a new product. But the fear of losing a steady paycheck kept me chained to servitude. Still a little unsure of diving in.

And thanks for all the positive vibes. I strongly believe in Mr. Gump's saying "Life is like a box of chocolates" ...
This post is very telling, you will find a way to make an excuse about everything to not get out of your comfort zone. It is almost unanimous that the answer to this very small and short term "crossroads" is get out of the Bay Area. Your problem is not that your skills are "old tech", but your mindset and attitude suck. You say you have zero connections outside the Bay Area; how are those connections helping you right now? Visit a few other places. I am from Southern California, thought I could never leave, then I did for grad school and now there isn't enough money in the world that could get me to move back. Similar story with my parents and 3 of my 4 siblings. It is a big world out there, there are several booming tech sectors around the country (I live in the Silicon Slopes https://siliconslopes.com/and my wife, mother (61yrs old), and sister are in tech) and there are a ton of opportunities for someone with your experience and skillset...that is, if you even want to continue working, which wouldn't even be necessary if you just moved to a lower COL area.
Last edited by stoptothink on Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by smitcat » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:20 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:Guys, great suggestions. Keep them coming. Some thoughts

* Driving for Uber - both my cars are 17 years old. Uber requires new cars. A new car is a big expense in my current situation.

* Job fair - I haven't had much success in job fairs in the past. I used to go to them regularly earlier in my career. But I will restart.

* Midwest and elsewhere - I have absolutely zero connections in all these places outside of the Bay Area. Will have to start from cold. Not sure about outcomes.

* Budget: Hunkering down now. Built a spreadsheet based on last 12 months expenses and its going to be hard to get below $100K. Big categories are housing $33K, utilities $5K, tuition $25K, Food $24K, Auto expenses $4K, Kids activities $3K (they're in competitive sports). Total = $95K. Throw in one or two low cost vacation, a flat tire, a few clothes to replace old ones, a few $$s to support the extended family and we're > 100K.

* Entrepreneurship - I've *always* wanted to do this. Build an app say or a new product. But the fear of losing a steady paycheck kept me chained to servitude. Still a little unsure of diving in.

And thanks for all the positive vibes. I strongly believe in Mr. Gump's saying "Life is like a box of chocolates" ...
I have been through this twice and as others have said you just need to make some of these choices which are neither grave nor really negative and continue to grow and enjoy life along the way.
Deciding whether to keep the spouses job and the location or move is a good choice - not like whether to pay the electric bill or not.
IMO - 40 is way to early to be thinking about bailing out or being burned out, gotta get moving again and think about the great future ahead.

The 1st time this happened to me - high tec field, completely shut down, we kept the spouse job and I moved to entirely different field at about 1/2 the initial pay. Within 3 years I was nearly back to where I was before the high tec bust.

The 2nd time was 17 years later when the new career went bust - this time we opened/expanded our own business which we have begun a few years prior to the 2nd bust.

Each of these new 'legs' of a career path were both concerning and scary at first but led to a much better path overall. I cannot imagine what would have happened if we tried to stretch our funds at 40 to feed the needs of kids without the extra earnings and benefits (SS etc) of the 2nd tow legs of our life.

It will work out - realize you have good options as opposed to solid barriers and find the path that makes you happy along the way. Most importantly realize yo are far from being the only one that has faced this situation and you may face it more than once.

Best of luck.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by MJW » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:37 am

davidsorensen32 wrote: * Entrepreneurship - I've *always* wanted to do this. Build an app say or a new product. But the fear of losing a steady paycheck kept me chained to servitude. Still a little unsure of diving in.
I have been contemplating leaving my existing job with a steady paycheck to do this very thing. You have lost your job, are concerned about your ability to maintain your current living situation -- which, by the way, doesn't seem that dire to begin with -- and you are STILL waffling over whether to at least try your hand at entrepreneurship? I hate to pile on here with the others because it isn't my life nor any of my business.......but, dude.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by Meg77 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:56 am

I'm not really sure why you keep referring to "burning through" your savings. Your wife makes $85k and your portfolio will generate $80K a year at a 4% withdrawal rate. You could retire right now and keep your same lifestyle as long as your wife is OK keeping working. I'm not suggesting that; I'm just saying that burning through your savings does not seem like a real danger.

Relocating seems like a no brainer! You're only 40, and you have $2MM saved. You could BOTH retire in many areas of the country; just settle down in a medium/lower COL area somewhere with good school districts, pay cash for a $250k home, live off the $70k a year the rest of your portfolio would provide and call it a day. If you want a fancier house or nicer lifestyle, one or both of you can work part or full time for extra spending money. You and your wife should both start job hunting nationally and move wherever the first person who gets a good job that isn't insanely expensive to live in. (I'm in Dallas where commutes rarely top an hour even to the furthest cheapest suburbs, where public schools are excellent and nice homes are cheap. Job market doesn't stink either.)

Switch industries. You're only 40. There's no point looking for another "old tech" job that is going to require an insane life sucking commute and probably fizzle out in a few years anyway. If you're going to rebuild a career, the world is your oyster. You have an MBA and lots of experience. You can move anywhere. Dream a little. Try for that new tech role, or just start a totally unrelated business or even try to switch into finance or another industry you can use your MBA to pivot into. It wont' be easy of course, but in the meantime you can get your daughter into a free school that's just as good and probably slash your rent while you're at it just by moving.
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by celia » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:41 pm

DavidSorensen32, I agree that your family's biggest problem right now is your attitude. Let's look at a few things you've said:
davidsorensen32 wrote: No one prefers older employees. No one. Not the corner grocery store. Nor the pharmacy. Nor IT. Not in USA. Not in Timbaktu. Not in Moscow. You know this.
I don't know this, but maybe you believe it because of your limited views. You have life experiences, offer stability, can work in different parts of a company (business/marketing). You are a good learner, except in keeping up your tech skills, which you apparently want to relegate to the downside. EVERY PLACE needs experienced employees. Why, some of the younger set can't even write a memo coherently! They just type out emoticons and expect the company to adjust to them.

Even when I was last in Timbaktu, which is an ancient city, they were looking for older, experienced people who could help bring them up to the 2000 "old tech" technology! :oops:

So, the world is your oyster. I don't know what kind of expensive vacations you've had, but it seems like you haven't wandered around far away places just talking to the locals. You should try that sometime. In fact, there are still several weeks before school starts. Why not hop in the car with your family and drive around the midwest, espescially those cities that have big companies. Each of those large companies has legacy software that needs to be maintained or, better yet, management/advertising experience is needed. You won't know what is out there if you don't go look for it AND TALK TO PEOPLE. (Hint: Go eat in a restaurant by yourself at lunchtime a block from any big corporation and see who is willing to eat with you. For starts, ask them if they work there and what it's like.)
davidsorensen32 wrote:Guys, spouse is really attached to the Bay Area because of her line of work. She's apprehensive that she wont be getting an equivalent job (with a pension, great bennies etc.) in other parts of the country.
Your wife's happiness is, of course, important but even you, in the first post, wrote:
davidsorensen32 wrote:Spouse earns about $85K/year. Also in a stagnant and shrinking industry.
How you can build a new life around a spouse that will also be laid off at some time is beyond me. She needs to have an equal "say" in these decisions. Have you shown her this thread, for starts? I bet she won't be as opposed to change as you are assuming.

I think you both need to read this thread from the top. The only person who is holding back from change is you, DavidSorensen32. But you admit (and caught our attention) with the title "Life at Crossroads. What would you do?" So we have told you what we would do. There have also been some specific cities mentioned.

It is obvious to you that something has to change. But it is not obvious that the "something" is you.! You have many opportunities and each one will take you in a different direction. You can go back and write down each option on an index card and evaluate them with your wife, reflecting on the pros and cons and costs of each choice. Or you can sit there and complain that you have no choices.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by Nyc10036 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:58 pm

Don't do anything drastic.

I would take the job with the 3 hour commute.
Stay overnight at a hotel Tu-Th.
Perhaps do a 9/80 or 8/80.

When income is coming in, you can relax and focus on your next move.
There is less stress. I know.

Then perhaps apply for jobs in other parts of the country.
See what the work is like and what life is like away from the Bay Area.

For people who have not been job hunting they are clueless how bad the job economy really is.
I suspect that includes many responding to you in this thread.

Also, have you tried contract work?

This is coming from someone who has not had steady income for the past 4 years.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by Masterblaster » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:14 pm

20 characters dot dot dot
Last edited by Masterblaster on Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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weltschmerz
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by weltschmerz » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:24 pm

davidsorensen32,
Seems like you are in a great position (aside from being laid off). That 2M cushion gives you lot of time to figure things out without worrying about the essentials of living.

The 3-hour commute should be taken off the table. That is not a viable solution. You will be miserable.

It seems like even a minimum wage job would give you enough income to close the gap on your finances. Is there a job that sounds FUN to you, and incorporates a hobby of yours? Home Depot? Best Buy?
davidsorensen32 wrote:Guys, great suggestions. Keep them coming. Some thoughts

* Driving for Uber - both my cars are 17 years old. Uber requires new cars. A new car is a big expense in my current situation.

* Job fair - I haven't had much success in job fairs in the past. I used to go to them regularly earlier in my career. But I will restart.

* Midwest and elsewhere - I have absolutely zero connections in all these places outside of the Bay Area. Will have to start from cold. Not sure about outcomes.
In CA, Lyft will let you drive a car that is 2004 or newer. I have gotten some Lyft rides from dudes in pretty crappy cars, so that might be an option for you, if you can trade in one of your 17-year old cars for one that is just a few years newer.

By the way, in contrast to some of the other posters, I don't think you are "whining" or in need of an attitude adjustment. You seem like a really smart guy, an immigrant who came here and racked up $2M. You have done great!

As a fellow CA resident, I can understand why you might not want to relocate. It's a great place, although a bit crowded. I believe you can find a solution in the bay area, or Seattle, which has a similar vibe. Good luck to you and your family.

DanMahowny
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by DanMahowny » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:37 pm

I'm new around here and don't have anything new to add that'll help the OP.

But I'm extremely impressed by the fantastic advice being given. Indeed, lot of intelligent people here.

Well done Bogleheads!

davidsorensen32
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by davidsorensen32 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:02 pm

Deleted. Duplicate post
Last edited by davidsorensen32 on Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

davidsorensen32
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by davidsorensen32 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:05 pm

Guys I'm not whining or being negative intentionally. Just stating my concerns. Moving to LCOL sounds awesome except when you think about the practicalities of getting a job and networking. If I can't get a job with my connections in the valley what chance do I have outside the valley. I don't know what it is but I simply cannot seem to be making an impression like I used to. I pride myself in availing of the opportunities available in this great country. Got an education. Never lived off the dole. Invested according to bogleheads principle. I'm hardworking, hands on, zero ego. But none of those things seem to count anymore. I've applied to 175 positions since January. Had one on one meetings with hundreds of contacts. Been to a dozen "new tech" interviews and been turned down everywhere. San Francisco seems such a happening town except when it comes to jobs I simply cannot seem to make the cut. I've been at in person interviews at Uber, Lyft, Splunk, salesforce - all San Francisco based major companies but it's the same response everywhere "you don't have domain experience". At one major internet company I've been turned down three times over the last five years after in person interviews - they must have put me on a black list for some reason. I'm dumb founded as to how I went from a highly sought after candidate to the status of a leper literally overnight. And now that I'm laid off companies will start to lowball on compensation also. As the doors start closing one by one i thought of posting in this forum for ideas. I don't need money (thanks to bogleheads I have enough) but I need a job, an opportunity to prove my self worth. Moving to a lcol location might help stretch savings but I'm not at all confident that it'll help alleviate the job situation. LCOL is LCOL for a reason - namely fewer job opportunities. That's the challenge I set for myself. Not everything is about money. And living off the spouse is extremely shameful in my culture. I don't have a choice now but this is not sustainable. Better hope that Forest was right.
Last edited by davidsorensen32 on Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Hyperborea
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by Hyperborea » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:08 pm

The Dan wrote: The 3-hour commute should be taken off the table. That is not a viable solution. You will be miserable.
I agree about the commute. The only way to make it work is to get a crash pad and stay there M-Th and commuting in Monday morning and out Friday night. There should be somebody in the area with a single room in an apartment or home looking for a room mate. I've had ex-coworkers doing that coming in to the Bay Area from places like Monterey, Sacramento, or Portland. If you can swing one day working at home on Friday or Monday that makes it even better. That's if you really want to take the "old tech job" as you call it.
The Dan wrote:By the way, in contrast to some of the other posters, I don't think you are "whining" or in need of an attitude adjustment. You seem like a really smart guy, an immigrant who came here and racked up $2M. You have done great!
Sure, he's done very well but if he wants to get hired and keep working he does need to adjust his attitude. If he doesn't then there's no need. Age itself isn't a barrier to older tech workers getting hired in the last number of years and particularly not now with the white hot job market in the Bay Area. What does hold back older workers (and I speak as a 50+ tech guy who has also been a hiring manager) is an unwillingness to keep learning and a lack of understanding that for a lot of these companies it's not an age based hierarchy and nobody looks up to you solely because you are senior. There is a pretty heavy culture of meritocracy.
The Dan wrote:As a fellow CA resident, I can understand why you might not want to relocate. I have been all of this great country, and the idea of moving to Texas or Indiana is ridiculous. No offense to the fine folks who chose those places. I believe you can find a solution in the bay area, or Seattle, which has a similar vibe. Good luck to you and your family.
I too am a non-US person living in the Bay Area for over 20 years now and I've traveled around the US. There are only a few places in the US that I would consider living for the long term. So, I understand the OP's reluctance to move elsewhere. It's hard to consider living somewhere with fewer amenities. It's even harder as a foreigner living in some of these places that have been suggested. In some of them it might be even more difficult if you are not caucasian or worse are in a mixed race marriage. We have no idea of the OP's situation and some of these places might not be that welcoming of Californians (ever heard the term Kalifornication used in some of these places) never mind foreigners, maybe non-Christians, maybe non-white.

Church Lady
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by Church Lady » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:15 pm

OP,
It is human nature to be upset and discouraged when something like this happens. Don't panic! You're getting lots of input. You have more options than you think. However, you might need counseling if you can't shake off your defeatist feelings soon. I suggest starting with your pastor.

I could not help but notice some oddities about your budget.
Budget: Hunkering down now. Built a spreadsheet based on last 12 months expenses and its going to be hard to get below $100K. Big categories are housing $33K, utilities $5K, tuition $25K, Food $24K, Auto expenses $4K, Kids activities $3K (they're in competitive sports). Total = $95K. Throw in one or two low cost vacation, a flat tire, a few clothes to replace old ones, a few $$s to support the extended family and we're > 100K.
1) 5K for utilities? This seems odd. I lived in the Bay area years ago and have seen how very mild the climate is. Heat/Air conditioning can't be accounting for that. Do you mind breaking down your utility expense? You should at least understand why it is so high.
2) 3K for kids activities? This is the sort of thing you drop or reduce when you're unemployed.
3) a few $$s for the extended family? Maybe it's time the extended family supported you! This is the sort of thing you drop when you are unemployed.

Clothing ... discover the thrift store, yard sale, and church rummage sale. This is especially cost effective for growing kids since you have to replace their wardrobe every year.
Food .. for a family of four and two working parents, I don't find it outrageous. You probably eat out a lot. But this link should provide 'food' for thought: https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default ... un2017.pdf Could you perhaps set your budget to the 'liberal plan'? That would still be a significant cost savings for you.

33K for Housing: Bay area has always been outrageous. In my neighborhood, with that kind of money, you could pay off a house in ten years. You could rent a house for a little more than half what you are paying. All I'm saying is looking outside the Bay area could help you give your family better housing at a cheaper price.
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:8

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by BL » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:18 pm

bloom2708 wrote:Tough decisions ahead. 3 hours of commuting per day? Sorry, no way. You have $2 million saved. That gives you options. You can use taxable to pad your wife's income until you make a decision.

You rent and have bad public schools. That would make relocating much easier for me. On your wife's salary you cannot seem to afford the private school (for long).

I'm not sure what "old tech" is really referring to. I would look for and secure a new job in a lower cost of living area with good public schools.

You could rent/buy in Fargo and land a job with one of the many tech companies (Microsoft, Wex, Discovery Benefits, Sanford hospital, Noridian) in this town and live a different life. Long winters, but great public schools, low crime, nice people.

The world is an oyster. Lots of possibilities.
Yes, consider a place like Fargo, ND. Mid-America is not the rust-belt. They are looking for workers; even if you can't find exactly what you had before, I am sure there are many jobs you can do and have a very nice life-style with your own lovely home and good public schools, 3 colleges nearby, brand new hospital with an international flavor of medical personnel. Also consider Grand Forks, ND, Sioux Falls, SD (no state income tax in SD), and the Twin Cities (MSP) and NW Minnesota with both tech and non-tech jobs. http://www.grandforksherald.com/news/43 ... bal-leader

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Hyperborea
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by Hyperborea » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:20 pm

davidsorensen32 wrote:I'm dumb founded as to how I went from a highly sought after candidate to the status of a leper literally overnight. And now that I'm laid off companies will start to lowball on compensation also. As the doors start closing one by one i thought of posting in this forum for ideas. I don't need money (thanks to bogleheads I have enough) but I need a job, an opportunity to prove my self worth.
You could try a couple of things here. I don't know what area of work you are in but is there any bay area local groups? Some tech areas have professional associations. Can you start going to those meetings? How about getting involved in some open source projects? Do you have any professional acquaintances that would give you an informational interview? Talk with them about what you want to do and ask for their advice?

You mentioned startups before. That might be a good opportunity. You don't have to worry about the cash flow and you will refresh your resume while making ok money with a lottery ticket attached. You could instead take the "old tech" job but if it's as you say then maybe it won't open you up to new opportunities. It would be a way to let the nest egg grow with a path to maybe retire in 5 years if you can make it that far.

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:20 pm

davidsorensen32 wrote: If I can't get a job with my connections in the valley what chance do I have outside the valley.
Again, even more reasons to expand your search outside the Bay Area. Obviously these connections aren't helping you. Most of us here have gotten jobs where we had zero connections, with your background and experience, that is certainly possible. You may have to take a pay cut, but that doesn't really even matter.

davidsorensen32
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by davidsorensen32 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:24 pm

Isn't Fargo the same city that gets portrayed in movies and TV serials repeatedly as a desolate frozen tundra full of humorless people with funny accents many of who are serial killers and gangmembers dreaming of new schemes for grim murders like shoving you alive in a wood chipper or gluing your mouth and nose so that you asphyxiate ?
BL wrote:
bloom2708 wrote:Tough decisions ahead. 3 hours of commuting per day? Sorry, no way. You have $2 million saved. That gives you options. You can use taxable to pad your wife's income until you make a decision.

You rent and have bad public schools. That would make relocating much easier for me. On your wife's salary you cannot seem to afford the private school (for long).

I'm not sure what "old tech" is really referring to. I would look for and secure a new job in a lower cost of living area with good public schools.

You could rent/buy in Fargo and land a job with one of the many tech companies (Microsoft, Wex, Discovery Benefits, Sanford hospital, Noridian) in this town and live a different life. Long winters, but great public schools, low crime, nice people.

The world is an oyster. Lots of possibilities.
Yes, consider a place like Fargo, ND. Mid-America is not the rust-belt. They are looking for workers; even if you can't find exactly what you had before, I am sure there are many jobs you can do and have a very nice life-style with your own lovely home and good public schools, 3 colleges nearby, brand new hospital with an international flavor of medical personnel. Also consider Grand Forks, ND, Sioux Falls, SD (no state income tax in SD), and the Twin Cities (MSP) and NW Minnesota with both tech and non-tech jobs. http://www.grandforksherald.com/news/43 ... bal-leader

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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by queso » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:30 pm

davidsorensen32 wrote:Isn't Fargo the same city that gets portrayed in movies and TV serials repeatedly as a desolate frozen tundra full of humorless people with funny accents many of who are serial killers and gangmembers dreaming of new schemes for grim murders like shoving you alive in a wood chipper or gluing your mouth and nose so that you asphyxiate ?
BL wrote:
bloom2708 wrote:Tough decisions ahead. 3 hours of commuting per day? Sorry, no way. You have $2 million saved. That gives you options. You can use taxable to pad your wife's income until you make a decision.

You rent and have bad public schools. That would make relocating much easier for me. On your wife's salary you cannot seem to afford the private school (for long).

I'm not sure what "old tech" is really referring to. I would look for and secure a new job in a lower cost of living area with good public schools.

You could rent/buy in Fargo and land a job with one of the many tech companies (Microsoft, Wex, Discovery Benefits, Sanford hospital, Noridian) in this town and live a different life. Long winters, but great public schools, low crime, nice people.

The world is an oyster. Lots of possibilities.
Yes, consider a place like Fargo, ND. Mid-America is not the rust-belt. They are looking for workers; even if you can't find exactly what you had before, I am sure there are many jobs you can do and have a very nice life-style with your own lovely home and good public schools, 3 colleges nearby, brand new hospital with an international flavor of medical personnel. Also consider Grand Forks, ND, Sioux Falls, SD (no state income tax in SD), and the Twin Cities (MSP) and NW Minnesota with both tech and non-tech jobs. http://www.grandforksherald.com/news/43 ... bal-leader
See, now you are thinking outside the box! Maybe there are numerous opportunities in law enforcement in Fargo, ND due to the high percentage of murderers and other ne'er do wells. As a bonus, housing is cheaper. :happy

btenny
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Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

Post by btenny » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:31 pm

David. Please go find and get some life coaching help. It will change your life. You obviously have a good education and a have great resume so you have a lot of knowledge and skills. But since you have had "dozens of in person interviews" and not gotten one job offer something is wrong BIG TIME. You are not connecting with the hiring managers in those interviews and missing something. So please go get some in person coaching and find out what you are projecting that is wrong.

And as far as taking the long commute job I suggest you go and make sure the job is real and the salary is good. If those factors are good I suggest you take that job for now. That will take the pressure off you for $$ and give you time to get some coaching so you can better understand why you are not getting those new technology jobs. You might have to rent a hotel room for M-Th or a crash pad or rent a motor home or just do the long commute. Then over the next year or two you can get some coaching and maybe move towards the "new tech" you are so worried about.

Good Luck.

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