Coffee heat rising

How low can I go?

Tomorrow’s job interview is with a nonprofit organization. So neat is this outfit that I had earmarked it as the first place I would do volunteer work after retiring. The job sounds like more fun than life, and frankly, if I could I would pay them to let me work there. However, I can’t afford that: for the next three or four years, I still hafta make a living.

Because it’s a nonprofit and the ad is for someone with a bachelor’s degree and three years’ experience, I’m assuming they’re budgeted for a low salary. Of course, GDU is a nonprofit, of a sort; and what I earn is pretty middling. Others whose jobs are related to my kind of work earn more. Nevertheless, my salary is exactly at the total income for an average four-person family in Arizona—meaning, I imagine, that I earn about twice the average Arizonan’s wage, since most families have two earners.

That notwithstanding, my expenses have expanded to fill all my income’s available space. So, if this proposed new employer offers me half of what I’m earning, I can’t accept it, because I wouldn’t have a chance of living on it. However, because I’m over 59 1/2 and can draw down my IRAs, I could get by on a significant pay cut. Drawing down the amount my advisor and I had planned when I retire would make this possible. And since I could in theory retire right now, there’s a certain demented sense to the idea of taking a small draw-down to supplement a reduced salary.

A reasonable amount to expect from this source is about $10,000 a year, since I’m already using part of said planned drawdown to cover my share of the Investment House mortgage.

I figured out how much gross salary I would need to get by in several scenarios. The amount I’d need ranges from $47,000 to $50,720, depending on a variety of circumstances. Then I estimated net pay on those amounts, given that my current net pay is 63% of gross. From these estimates, I calculated how much I would get monthly, and what a single paycheck would be if paid bimonthly and if paid biweekly.

Charmingly Excel crashed when I tried to get rid of the page break lines in one worksheet (does anyone know how to un-show those things?). This lost all the data I’d worked on today…though I’d have sworn I saved at some point along the line. Must not have.

At any rate, if M’hijito pays $100/month more toward the Investment House mortgage (he says he could cover more than that, actually) and I pay off the Renovation Loan, I still would have enough in savings to make it possible to live on the net income from a $47,000 salary, and to do so without serious pain.

Although the Renovation Loan’s monthly payment is fairly modest—only $170 a month—during the winter months it’s my largest monthly bill, and during the summer, the second largest. In addition, I’m setting aside $204 a month to pay toward principal. I haven’t been paying it directly to the principal each month, because I foresaw something like the present chain of events and figured I’d better save all the paydown money in cash accounts to double as emergency funds. The monthly set-aside figure—the maximum I can pay after all my other bills are covered—brings the ding on my monthly income to $374, which for me is significant. It’s twice my largest winter bill and $150 more than my largest summer bill. Get rid of that, and I can live on a smaller salary.

Well, we may find out tomorrow what the proposed new employer can pay. Let’s hope it’s enough!

The Continuing Saga…

1. Unemployment for Christmas?
2. Does any of this have meaning for individuals?
3. Rumors start to fly
4. On the trail of the elusive job
5.Beating the layoff stress
6. How low can I go?
7. Interview No. 1

4 thoughts on “How low can I go?”

  1. Hi, I feel your pain…as a stay at home mom now forced to look for full time work because my husband’s job is affected by the current state of the economy. I’ve sent out dozens of resumes, been on only a few interviews. This last time, I went on three interviews for a receptionist position! You’d think they were looking for a CEO!!! Don’t know if I get the job yet. It’s a very time consuming activity, this job hunting thing. And not always very rewarding.

  2. Yes! It takes hours…when my son was laid off, he was told to regard job hunting as a full-time job itself. It certainly could be that.

    The other amazing development that I’ve run into is background checks worthy of an FBI security clearance. Some of these amount to invasion of privacy and are truly outrageous. One job I’m sure I won’t get required applicants to indemnify the employer against any harm that might come from revealing your Social Security number, driver’s license number, and other sensitive information: since they had you fill out the application online in a Word doc, I added an exception to the effect that I was not indemnifying against harm incurred by the careless loss or theft of that kind of information.

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