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DH job is ending

Patri

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We've known it would happen and my DH has outlasted many of his peers, but he has just been notified his job will be terminated in March. In the interim his salary will be cut 25%. We have two kids in college and set aside money since birth to avoid loans. With the stock market tanking we were just looking into loans for second semester since the college funds are no longer enough.
DH is on a business trip and we have a week to discuss this before he meets with the HATCHET MAN again. DH has developed his resume over many months so it is ready to go. Three years ago his salary was also cut, so I went back to work. I'm putting in 56 hours a week at two jobs. They don't pay a lot but I do love the work and there isn't much else around here.
We know we have to slash expenses now, even though we aren't big spenders. But I am now proof that all of us are a short distance from homelessness.
Our two timeshares are on the low end with fees, one EY and one EOY so we can keep them and will need them for sanity. We could sell one to a married son if need be. He'd grab it.
Any advice? I have no problem living frugally, but we'll have to let our 5 kids in on the deal. They already knew this was going to happen sometime and knew the current economy was hurting our investments.
 

AKE

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Just wondering why you are paying for your kids' college education? As a first step, I would look into reasonably priced colleges close to home and have them pay (have them take out a loan if need be). I don't see it as a parent's responsibility to pay - if they pay themselves then they will appreciate it much more. Yes they may not be able to go to a brand-name high price school but in the end no-one is going to care where the degree came from - the requirement is to have a degree from a legitimate college (university).
 

pjrose

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With the change in income you may also qualify for more in federal student assistance - call the college financial aid office.

Is the loss of the job also going to mean a loss of health insurance? Your DH should be offered the option to continue with COBRA, but that'll probably be a lot more expensive than whatever the employer is providing.
 

CaliDave

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Just wondering why you are paying for your kids' college education? As a first step, I would look into reasonably priced colleges close to home and have them pay (have them take out a loan if need be). I don't see it as a parent's responsibility to pay - if they pay themselves then they will appreciate it much more. Yes they may not be able to go to a brand-name high price school but in the end no-one is going to care where the degree came from - the requirement is to have a degree from a legitimate college (university).
I agree .. my parents paid for half.. I got a job and paid for the other half.
I think paying half was very generous of them.
If they were strapped for $$, I wouldn't have taken anything from them.
 

Patri

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The issue of who pays for college has been debated on TUG many times and isn't the point. We have done without our whole married life to save for college. We could have spent our income on things but this was our value. We put two kids through already so it wouldn't be fair to make the next two pay. All have expenses they are responsible for, so it is not a free ride. These two are both in state schools. Commuting is not realistic.
Our other value was retirement savings. There is time for those to build up, but college can't be delayed.
Yeah, we can talk to the colleges but I bet aid is not quick in coming. Tuition will be due soon. Even if the kids get the loan, we will have to stand behind it.
Fortunately, I carry the health insurance.
 

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Commuting is not realistic.
Does this mean they can't commute to their current college or that there are no colleges close enough to home that they could attend and live at home? I don't know why a major change in finances wouldn't be understood and accepted by college age children. I bet they wouldn't want you to sacrifice your retirement for them. Also, if you use your retirement to pay for their education, this may put you in the position of having to be financially dependent on them later - a far worse position in my opinion. I'd be totally frank with them and explore all options. Good luck!
 

TerriJ

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At the risk of going out on a limb here....I have five siblings who all put themselves through college, including one law degree. It can be done. My own opinion, in your current situation, I would not borrow for these college expenses.
 

Patri

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Well, either we borrow, they borrow, we empty the balance of the college accounts so they can't build up for future years, or the two drop out of school. They can't earn enough between now and whenever tuition is due, which has to be within a couple months since they have already registered for spring semester. I don't think we have to touch retirement funds. Those have dropped in value, as has everyone's, but they can rebuild for years.
There really isn't a college close enough to commute to, just community colleges which don't have what they need. I could see having one transfer to the closer college next year if we have to, but I wouldn't disrupt her midstream now at a place she loves.
The great hope is DH finds a job during this period. He'll get some sort of severance package, I guess. He has great skills in his field, and the professionals who have been aware of our situation for the past couple years say he would be an asset to many companies, just what they look for. But with everyone downsizing these days, who knows?
And really, as a PS, even if college were not part of the picture, we have to budget our everyday lives more closely. It will be intesting to see what we come up with. Hopefully this is all temporary.
One thing I know, at Christmas we will have to be wise. Every year I set limits on what we should spend and DH goes over. This year I don't think he will.
 

falmouth3

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Not too long ago someone either here or OY said he had just lost his job and was looking for advice on how to look for a new job. He found a new one that suited him better in less than a week. That is very unusual and he had a lot of luck, I'm sure. However, losing a job is not the end of life. I think it will be difficult to find a new one in this environment, but I hope that something good is just around the corner for you.

Have your husband start networking with people he's known from other jobs or other companies. If he doesn't already belong to a networkng site such as www.linkedin.com, have him do it. I've connected with people I knew 20 or more years ago. Also, it's a good place for recruiters to find him.

Everyone seems to be jumping on the college costs. I have to agree. I've read that if you're considering using your retirement funds - DON'T. Your children have lots of time to pay off loans. You don't. Please do not use your retirement to fund education.

Best of luck.
 
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AKE

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No child should ever expect a parent to pay their tuition anymore that a parent would expect a child to take over their support (i.e. supporting their parents financially) in old age UNLESS THERE WERE DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES. I don't see dire circumstances here from the kids'perspective - but possibly so from the parents' side if the economy doesn't improve. My husband and I put ourselves through undergrad and grad school - neither of our parents could afford it AND we never suffered for having to do it, but we learned immensely from the experience. Yes we didn't have a car, we ate a lot of macaroni and cheese, and at times collected empty pop bottles so that we would have money for a movie BUT we also learned very quickly that one has to make choices and can't have it all right away.
We ourselves are well off (and could have easily afforded to pay for our kids) BUT mine all paid their own way through and it taught them a lot along the way. In fact, mine all had paper routes from the time they were small and as such learned early on the value of a dollar and having to save for what they wanted (even though all their friends had everything bought for them / done for them by their parents). Now all my kids tell me that we were right doing it this way and that they will do the same with their children (and there is no bigger compliment in my mind than hearing one's kids say that) -:)
 

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First I am so sorry about your DH's situtation. Having lost my job a week ago, and with a college freshman, I do understand your concern. Things will get better, they always do. The waiting for the change is always the hardest part.

Everyone has opinions of how thngs should be done for college age children. But we agree with the OP. Our number one concern was also college expenses. Could our son go to the local state college? Yes. However, the local college is overcrowded, would add at least two years to complete his degree, and is not really a good fit for our son. He is still going to a state college and the only difference is the cost of housing. Interestingly enough we told him he would have pay for his day to day expenses. He found out how frugal he can be. In the first six weeks he has only spent $12 for school supplies, and has learned how to work his dining common allotment to keep food and drink in his little fridge for no extra cost. Having him away at college seems to have saved money in that regard. We have seen our son begin to blossom into the person we always hoped for at his school, so bringing him home is not an option we will consider until there are no other options left. We feel the extra $10,000 per year is a good investment to see him so excited about what he is doing and getting the classes he needs to graduate sooner.

Are we paying for college? Yes. We are paying so that he can concentrate on his studies and hopefully graduate sooner. He is having to get a job on campus, but he would have had to do that anyway. Unless things change drastically by next summer he has a summer internship based on this classes, so that should help a in experience and expenses. We will most likely have to go to student loans which our son knows. However the less debt anyone can be saddled with is best.

My parents insisted that I pay all college expenses. First because they didn't have the money or credit to help and second because they weren't going to go out on a limb for any of their children. I was able to get by for a short time on scholarship and grants and then the cost of college became too much. Having watched my parents be in debt my entire life I didn't want that burden. I dropped out of college and began working. Not a good idea in the long run as it limited my career options, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. This is not what we want for our son, and we will all we can to keep him there. So there are two sides to the thought of making them do it themselves.

As for what to do now. The very first thing to do is contact the financial aid office. Let them know about the reduction in salary and the pending layoff. They should be notified of any change in financial situation. They may ask for something in writing for verification. Have college age children check with the finanical aid office weekly for scholarships and grants that might be available. They say many are not awarded as no one applies and they become available all the time. It can't hurt to keep trying.

If they aren't working have them check with the career center for jobs on campus. Most campus jobs schedule their workers around class schedules and tests. They will also try to keep the hours lower so that the students have the time they need to study.

Another option for resident students is to check on the Resident Advisor positions for the next school year. There aren't a lot, and they are hard to get. However if you child can obtain one it will usually pick up the cost of housing, which is usually a large expense.

Good luck.
 

joestein

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We've known it would happen and my DH has outlasted many of his peers, but he has just been notified his job will be terminated in March. In the interim his salary will be cut 25%. We have two kids in college and set aside money since birth to avoid loans. With the stock market tanking we were just looking into loans for second semester since the college funds are no longer enough.
DH is on a business trip and we have a week to discuss this before he meets with the HATCHET MAN again. DH has developed his resume over many months so it is ready to go. Three years ago his salary was also cut, so I went back to work. I'm putting in 56 hours a week at two jobs. They don't pay a lot but I do love the work and there isn't much else around here.
We know we have to slash expenses now, even though we aren't big spenders. But I am now proof that all of us are a short distance from homelessness.
Our two timeshares are on the low end with fees, one EY and one EOY so we can keep them and will need them for sanity. We could sell one to a married son if need be. He'd grab it.
Any advice? I have no problem living frugally, but we'll have to let our 5 kids in on the deal. They already knew this was going to happen sometime and knew the current economy was hurting our investments.

Just wanted to say Good Luck to your DH in finding a new job. It is a scary time out there right now.

My DW works for Merrill Lynch, and while its seems her job will be safe, even after the merger is complete, she has had some scares.

A few months ago when they were trying to cut costs to keep the company afloat, they decided to lay off 4 or 5 thousand people. They offer voluntary packages to those who were interested, but didn't get enough people. So, one day they just sent HR people around the office who would tap a person on the shoulder, the person would gather their belongings and be escorted to an exit interview and then out of the building.

It was pretty scary as no one knew who was getting tapped or not, my wife lost several associates who sat near her, and labeled it the most disquieting day of her career.

Joe
 

Sir Newf

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First, I wish the best for your family. Just alittle basic advice for anyone in same situation: I encourage your DH to begin a job search right away as it will likely take a few months to land a new position (depends on his industry, salary level, location, etc).
His employer has given him the gift of advance notice which so few people receive, he needs to use the time wisely, while still working his current job. There are many good free job/resume sites on-line such as hotjobs, career builder, monster, linked-in..and good fee-based job sites for higher level like "The Ladders"...if he hasn't already, he should ask his employer for 'Out Placement' services, which offers job search coaching. The holiday season is upon us, it's an excellent time to begin networking and letting people know he is soon transitioning, but needs to keep the conversations positive and upbeat-- complaining won't help....most important, he needs to start search right away and networking (talking to people and not just sending letters, emails) is the strongest method for faster landings, the more time and energy spent asap, the quicker the process....all the best.
 
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3kids4me

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I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's job. All around us, people are struggling, and it's very difficult. Will he receive severance?

I support your decision not to move your older kids out of colleges they love, as such a move could affect them greatly. But...I don't think you should be so concerned with not being able to fully finance the education of the younger kids. I'm sure that, when they are old enough to be applying for colleges, they can be steered towards ones that are lower in cost and still find a place they love. Student loans that they take out don't have to be paid back until six months after graduation. Do encourage your kids to major in areas where jobs are more secure if possible.

You mentioned one other thing...you said, "With the stock market tanking we were just looking into loans for second semester since the college funds are no longer enough." Any funds earmarked for college be transferred into fixed income assets by the time each child is 14. (I know it's too late for that advice for your two in college...but do keep that in mind for the future children.)

Good luck with everything.
 

janapur

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Have to agree with the OP and the few others who say keep the kids in school. If they are good students, I would not disrupt that. We all know people who took time off to work and never went back. The stats are way in your favor if you believe the kids' salaries will overwhelmingly make up for your few years of sacrifice and generosity. Consider it a loan if you must.

Good luck, I wish you the very best.
 

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Go to FAFSA.com and fill out the application; you might be surprised how much (free) aid is available. You were probably eligible for it already and didn't know.
 

senorak

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I also recommend going to the FAFSA website and filing, (tho I believe you can't actually file until after Jan. 1, 2009). Having 2 kids in college, should give you a better chance of getting some sort of aid. While we weren't eligible for any (free) aid, my son still filed for the low interest loans, which helped to offset our share of his college fees. Also, look over the "meal plans" that are offered by the college----do you children come home often on weekends? If so, you shouldn't be paying for plans that include the weekend meals. We cut out the breakfasts during the week, since DS does not wake up early enough for that meal, and next semester, will cut out the weekend meals, since he tends to come home often on the weekends. If he decides to move into on campus apartments, we can cut back the meal plans even more.....since they will have full kitchens in the apartments.

I have always been a "frugal shopper"----only shop sales at grocery stores, use coupons, combine errands (w/ high price of gas), etc. I've also discovered that on certain days of the week, our grocery store puts out "half priced" baked goods and lower discounts on meat items, (that are nearing their "sell by" date). With the meats, I put them in the freezer, or immediately use them in casseroles, stews, crock pot recipes, etc.---and have plenty of leftovers for lunches and other meals during the week. It has really helped to stretch our grocery budget.

For the upcoming holidays, we've told the kids that rather than buying "indivdual gifts", we will buy a "family gift"----as all 3 kids have been asking for a new TV for our downstairs entertainment room.

While my job is secure, (teacher), DH's job as a realtor has had "ups and downs" with the current economy. Best of luck to you.

DEB
 

applegirl

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I haven't read all the responses above, so I apologize if I'm repeating here.

I definitely feel that if parents can afford to it is very gracious to pay for their kids college education. My parents did it for me and I was very grateful, but it wasn't a financial strain, or at least they didn't have to take out any loans for it! However, I don't think you should continue to pay if you are going to need the money for your own living expenses. Even if the child has to take a semester off from school to get a good job and reorganize their schedule you must do what's best for you and your husband right now.

Janna
 

stmartinfan

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After being layed off two years ago, I took an early retirement staying home by choice to spend more time with my teenager. It's been interesting to see how much we've been able to cut our spending. Since I've got more time than money right now, I have been doing lots of things that we would normally have hired others to do, like repainting, etc.

I also review our grocery circulars every week, and take advantage of stock up sales, meat sales (buying extras to freeze), cooking meals that work as leftovers, etc. I enjoy cooking, so I think we're eating better and healthier with all my from scratch cooking. And it's interesting to see how the trash has shrunk, too, with no take out food containers and other packaging. (We could probably go down a size in our garbage container and save some money there, too.) Given your long work hours, this may not work as well for you, but you could devote a day or two a month to making big batches of foods that freeze well - sloppy joe, meatballs in spaghetti sauce, stews, etc., - so you'd have inexpensive easy meals to simply microwave other days.

Being more mindful of driving has also helped. Rather than simply hop in the car to do a nearby errand, I try to drive less, consolidating errands to only 1 or 2 days a week, especially when gas prices were really high.

Clothing has been my other big savings - amazing how few new clothes I've needed to purchase. I predict that in general we're going to see a shift to less "show off" dressing than in the past as people tighten spending, so even people in the work force will be able to shrink spending on clothing purchases for a couple of years.

Other changes I've made: library vs. purchasing books; very few meals out and no take out meals; limiting my trips to Costco and Target, going only when I've got a firm list of things to buy - eliminating those too easy impulse purchases; having my daughter's senior pictures taken by a talented relative rather than the pricey pro and then being able to order all the prints we want at an inexpensive photo shop like WallMart; convincing my family that I really don't need big gifts for my birthday, etc. and am still happy; funding my hobby of prayer shawl making by becoming the coupon queen at Joann's and Michaels and hunting down yarn clearance sales anywhere.

I still need to persuade my DH that holiday gift giving can be scaled back considerably without anyone feeling deprived. He loves indulging his daughters, but they are old enough now to understand about small holiday plans.

My only loss - the cutback in travel. We're still doing our spring break trip but otherwise have scaled back dramatically on travel. And it's been hard. But I figure after a couple of years we'll have DD 1 through college and be closer to having paid off our mortage and can go back to traveling. One thing I don't regret was spending the money on wonderful vacations when our kids were younger and we had two incomes. It was an amazing investment in memories and relationships with our kids.
 

DeniseM

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Given your long work hours, this may not work as well for you, but you could devote a day or two a month to making big batches of foods that freeze well - sloppy joe, meatballs in spaghetti sauce, stews, etc., - so you'd have inexpensive easy meals to simply microwave other days.
A time saving way to do this is to simply double the recipe when you make a casserole and freeze half of it. Doubling the recipe doesn't take any more time than making one. I freeze it in the gallon size zip-lock bags, so it saves space in the freezer. I always have a few in the freezer that I can take out for a quick or last-minute dinner. Right now I have Baked Raviolis, Chicken Noodle Casserole, and Scalloped potatoes.
 

bogey21

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I haven't read all the responses above, so I apologize if I'm repeating here.I definitely feel that if parents can afford to it is very gracious to pay for their kids college education....... I don't think you should continue to pay if you are going to need the money for your own living expenses.
Point #1 - Back when I graduated from HS (1953) I took it as in insult when my parents offered to pay for my college. My how things have changed. I paid my own way and was better off for it.

Point #2 - After paying my Daughter's way through college, she decided to go to grad school and picked out some very costly ones which would have tested me financially. What I did was to give her a check for $------ (about 1/3 of what her choice would have cost me) and told her to work it out and that she could keep what was left over after she graduated. Guess what? She got herself a full scholorship at a major university, watched her expenses, graduated, and had some money left over. Worked great all the way around!

George
 
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SDKath

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Have to agree with the OP and the few others who say keep the kids in school. If they are good students, I would not disrupt that. We all know people who took time off to work and never went back. The stats are way in your favor if you believe the kids' salaries will overwhelmingly make up for your few years of sacrifice and generosity. Consider it a loan if you must.

Good luck, I wish you the very best.
Totally agree. The singe BEST thing my family did for me was pay for my tuition for 4 years. I was thankful every step of the way and it allowed me to start my life without the burden of loans. Since I ended up going to grad school (which my DH and I paid on our own), we were extra grateful for my parents (and DH's parents did the same thing). I plan to give this same gift to my children and have money saved up to do so.

I think education is very important to our lives and our future and I would hardly say "oh just have them move closer to some other school" just to save money. I would rather sell my cars, home and clothes before I make my children give up their dreams and future aspirations. I would pick up a loan in a heartbeat or refinance our house to get the cash needed to let them finish and give them the best shot at success.

But that's just me. Katherine
 

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I think that parents paying for college vs children paying for college is a personal decision. No one can tell anyone else what they should or should not do. Every situation is different. That being said, I consider our gift of a college education for our sons to be the single best thing we've ever done for them. I don't feel that they would have done any better/worse if they had had to pay for it themselves. We insisted they work during the summer and save half for college but that was a small fraction of the total cost. Yes, we could have more in our retirement account right now but I don't regret one cent of it. Almost all of our friends contributed greatly to their children's education. And every one of them has graduated and gotten good jobs. I know our sons appreciate GREATLY the fact that they were able to graduate and start saving for a house or car or whatever they needed instead of paying back loans. And we feel good as parents for having helped them. I have a lot of respect for the OP's position of wishing to put her children through college. Losing a job is a horrible experience, but I'm betting in the long run all will turn out well. I'm wishing their family the best.
 

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Children In College

The issue of who pays for college has been debated on TUG many times and isn't the point. We have done without our whole married life to save for college. We could have spent our income on things but this was our value. We put two kids through already so it wouldn't be fair to make the next two pay. All have expenses they are responsible for, so it is not a free ride. These two are both in state schools. Commuting is not realistic.
Our other value was retirement savings. There is time for those to build up, but college can't be delayed.
Yeah, we can talk to the colleges but I bet aid is not quick in coming. Tuition will be due soon. Even if the kids get the loan, we will have to stand behind it.
Fortunately, I carry the health insurance.
Millions of families struggles with issues about trying to provide their children with college educations.

Bottom line it comes down too each families resouces, philosophy, and choices.
 

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Regarding the original post question, my DH was in the exact same situation this past Spring. His company was going downhill fast and they were laying off his team by chunks of 5 to 10 people at a time. They staggered the layoff every 3 months. DH had a planned lay off time of around July (he was the last to be let go) and he knew this in March of this year.

As the time came closer, he started contacting the people who were on his team and had since then moved on to other jobs. He basically used those who left before him as his network and he quickly received 3-4 job offers. Granted the economy was better then but having this group of people to go to for opportunity was great.

He ultimately decided to leave before July so he didn't get his severence package :bawl: but he accepted a fantastic job and is very happy there. He now has a chance to work with someone he worked with before, knows well, gets along with well, and enjoys his new position.

Katherine
 
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