Thursday, June 28, 2012

ADVICE: I have $1 million dollars. Can I stop working for a while?

(In my dreams, this is what 50 looks like.)

Hi everyone,

In THIS post, I told people I would solve their problems. What a bold claim! (And I wasn't even drinking when I wrote it.)

I am going to tackle Kristen's problem first because it was one of two that have nothing to do with decorating. (The other one was about a long ear hair. I said condition the shit out of it and let it grow.)

So here we go:

Kristen wrote: I'm 50 and my husband is 54. We are both without full time jobs, but have $1 million saved. I want to play and try new directions, but the conservative side of me says keep job hunting. Need "life" advice! Decorating will come next.

Let's solve this problem:

First, you need to answer some questions:
1) What kind of work did each of you do, and for how long?
2) Were you good at this kind of work?
3) Were you fired with cause?
4) How long have you been looking for work?
5) Why haven't you been hired yet? (Don't say "the economy.")

I am curious about your net worth because that's different than just what you have saved.
What if you have two mortgages on your house? What if you have $90k in consumer debt? etc etc etc.

Here's what you should do: 
If you have a net worth of $1M (mostly liquid... not including real estate), and if your answers to my laundry list above are positive (i.e., I wasn't fired; I do a kind of work that I can still get hired to do; I haven't found a job, because honestly, I am not trying that hard because I have my financial shit together and I want to take a break, etc.) then you can take a 6 month break and "play." At month three, you need to spend a few days taking potential hiring managers, friends, or other people in a promising professional network out to lunch, dinner, or coffee to keep your job-hunting/network lifelines open.

Don't spend too much money during your 6 month break with the exception of two weeks where you really go full tilt (maybe a trip to Paris, eat at great restaurants, stay at great hotel). For those two weeks, really live and have some luxury. Enjoy it.

Then get back to work. Lather, rinse, repeat every 5 years.

Let us know some answer to the questions above. (We'll be curious to hear more about your situation.) And let us know what kinds of things you want to do with your time off. What does "play" mean to you?

And congratulations on saving! Assuming there isn't a ton of debt on the other side of your balance sheet, you are an inspiration to all.


Kristen said...

Thanks for your advice.
My answers:
1) I've worked in product development in various industries...home decor/gifts, food, social expression for over 25+years.
2) Yes, but I'm tired of the corporate scene.
3) Not fired...layoffs. Card senders are dying off.
4) A couple of years...but my heart wants a change, and I've been trying other stuff....zigging and zagging a bit. In the meantime, employers are hiring younger workers, not 50 year olds.
5) Actually working part-time as a "casual worker" in the same industry...bringing in enough dough to cover expenses.

Play would be getting creative without feeling guilty and feeling like I should be working.

No consumer debt... Smallish morgage...under 80K.

Decorno said...

Take the time off. You totally earned it.

What parts of the corporate scene are you tired of (specifically)?

Decorno said...

Oh - and what would you do if money were no object but you had to work?

Kristen said...

I'm tired of all the politics....too many women jockeying for fewer and fewer "Survivor", only with fakey corporate speak. I want honest directness.

IF money were no object, but I had to work, I'd create surface designs and license...then decorate to my hearts content.

Anonymous said...

I know many people in Canada who retire with their full pension at age 55. Healthcare is already covered; don't have to worry about reaching age 65 for Medicare as in the U.S. You're only a few years away from full retirement anyway--if you happen to be Canadian.

Anonymous said...

Oh, meant to add: financially you should be fine. Maybe continue to do the casual work you're doing now to cover the bills and bridge you to your full pension at age 55. At age 55, your pension coupled with your $1 million nest egg, should easily allow you to follow your passion for the next stage of life. I agree with Decorno. Take the time off. You've earned it!