A record number of Americans quit their jobs: what do they live on after being laid off
When discussing the surge in layoffs or retirements of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are wondering how people who suddenly quit their jobs are surviving financially. Journalist of the publication The Washington Post Karla Miller decided to find the answer to this question.
Most of those leaving their jobs also asked themselves this question, but they decided that it was easier for them to give up their salary than their own well-being.
Some retirees said that while the pandemic pushed them into retirement earlier than they expected, it also brought relief from the costs of their careers.
“I no longer need to buy clothes or shoes for work, refuel three times a week, pay for parking and so on,” said Sandy Marasco. After her dismissal, and her work was associated with the pharmacy of Cambridge (Massachusetts), at the beginning of the pandemic, Marasco used her allowance to pay off the mortgage.
She then lived off her savings and unemployment benefits for 18 months of unsuccessful job searches. But she soon realized that her former goal of working full-time until the age of 70 she no longer liked. Marasco now receives social security and retirement benefits.
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Kathleen Corcoran, when she left work, worried that she was giving up the "golden handcuffs" of a permanent job. But no full-time salary would allow her to buy what she really wanted, namely time.
Giving up income is stressful, Corcoran says, but "you know that some of that money goes into relieving stress from work." “As soon as I sat down and looked at the figures, I realized that it was possible to retire. And I got free time in return, when I can devote it to what I really wanted to do. For example, meeting friends, writing, reading and volunteering. " She now teaches part-time, and the job, she says, "brings rewards that go beyond the normal salary."
The former Laurel, Maryland office manager, who has not been named due to tensions with her former boss, has no regrets about her early retirement, even though it involved a cut in social security payments: “If I had waited up to 70, then I would receive $ 300 more monthly ”. But, she said, she compared her sanity with financial losses and "decided to take this step."
Of course, many people are still far from retirement. Some people overestimate what they want from their job versus what they actually need.
Jason S. of New York, who asked not to be identified by his full name, was fired from one contract position and later from another after he protested being called into the office for a job he was told will be 100% remote.
Although his wife works and they have savings for about six months, Jason's lack of work is taking its toll on their finances. But his job search priorities have changed: "Now it won't be difficult for me to get a lower-paid position with health insurance instead of useless contract work."
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And some people have been able to cope with the loss of income through careers that have forced them to prepare for the worst. Marlene Garcia from Chicago described how at 26 she was denied a pay raise because of the company's pay policy, and how she saw other journalists lose their jobs and opportunities "at the whim of their bosses."
Garcia told her husband, "We should be in a position where one day I can quit my job if this happens to me." They bought a small house and slashed their spending so they could afford to save each month. When the mortgage was paid off 16 years later, it allowed Garcia to work both freelance and part-time, when full-time jobs were not available.
One common theme among people who have shared their stories is that they don't take their relative state for granted.
“I am very lucky and grateful for that,” Marasco wrote. "Among other things, I am doing everything I can for those who are less fortunate." Marasco ditched extended unemployment benefits amid the pandemic.
Garcia admits that luck and economy played an important role in keeping her finances: “When I graduated from college in 1993, I had nearly $ 5000 in loans. Today's graduates have tens of thousands of dollars in debt. The rent is crazy. Too many homes are not affordable. I don’t understand how they deal with it. ”
Even before the pandemic, the rise in the cost of living, or rather the cost of survival, has prevented most low- and middle-income workers from accumulating significant amounts of savings or gaining a foothold in real estate and other investments.
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