KlangFool wrote: ↑Fri May 22, 2020 11:18 pm
I am asking two separate questions:
A) Under what financial condition, it is rewarding for me to take on part-time project work. At this moment, it looks like anything less than $90 per hour is not worthwhile.
B) Under what non-financial condition, would you go back to work?
Condolences, KlangFool on this news. You have been preparing yourself for it ever since your previous layoffs. In addition, you have bounced back financially from all the losses you took from the industry specific stocks you held back in the early 2000's. There is plenty of experience and wisdom that was gained through the past 20 years - much of which you have shared with many of us over the years posting here.
Yes, your original post certainly was a divided fork in the road that pointed out the two questions. You also asked for those who have been through it at this age, what they have done regarding taking the route of capitulation retirement or not.
A. Financially you have things in fairly good order. The college educations for your kids and your mortgage stand out as raison d'être
for continuing to milk your human capital - IMO - at some level. I always look at it in this way: For every $10K you could bring in each year using your human capital, it is as if you had an additional $250K in your portfolio (using the 4% SWR). $10K, $20K, $30K, $40K, $50K, etc... doesn't sound like much to you based on your posts above, but it does provide some flexibility and holds off the need for you having to tap your nest egg - or as much of it as if you weren't bringing in an income. Be it one year at a time, or for several years. Only you can decide if you are going to let pride stand in the way of it's an all or nothing
compensation situation. If you are not willing, then financially you play out the hand you are holding and be fine with it. If you still have some savings goals financially that you wanted to hit - then at some point you will find a way to increase your household income to reach those goals. Either you or your spouse - or both - could find a way into bring in more than just her $15K. It might currently be too close to the sting to focus on this, but the time will come and you'll know it.
B. Adaptability is a key element if you have a desire to put your human capital to work again - even if it is not for the money, but for the challenge, engagement, sense of purpose, sense of identity, social aspect, routine, etc... . Some of these things are more important than money, and you will have to come to terms with yourself if any of those items are important to your psyche and well being. You know my story from this thread (viewtopic.php?t=273092
). Although two years ago at the age of 56 when I got the news at the end of February and worked until the end of May 2018 before finishing my last day, I did spend the majority of the entire month of June 2018 on the couch staring into what seemed like a vacant space or void on the wall. That didn't feel good to me and my spouse quipped that I wasn't going to stay on the couch. That was my non-financial condition or reason that was more for my psyche, relationship, and self-identity that got me going to not accept the capitulation retirement (even though we had the nest egg and my spouse's income to cover us). In short, I wasn't ready. So I clawed my way back by piecing together some part-time incomes from totally different industries. The non-financial addition of firing up my drive, sense of purpose/identity, and keeping me challenged helped me transition through it all over the past two years. Not everyone needs that, but I did.
In spite of the current narrative being Covid-19, it will not last forever. If you go to the link above that had lots of links and articles surrounding losing a job in your 50's (of which you are well aware) - not to mention losing multiple jobs of which some of the data and links discuss, I would be very proactive about lining up at least something before the end of June that keeps you engaged and brings in some income even if it means you eventually make the decision not to work because of your financial situation in a few months or by the end of the year. This will help you transition a lot better than if you just pull the plug and sit it out for months or longer. The data shows that at our ages in the late 50's - the longer your down time is, the harder it is to get employed. Although a challenging time with the number of layoffs (especially the millions and millions in the service industry), I wouldn't let that stop you from exploring.
Again, sorry for the layoff. It's good that you are in a position to be fine either way. Dive deep into your psyche to see what you really want.