When Life Gives You Lemons

Most of us have heard the aphorism “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Well, it’s now time for us to make some lemonade. Last Friday I lost my job and was among 120+ others who lost their jobs as well. This happened because the parent company I had worked for was acquired by another company, and they decided to reduce costs by outsourcing the entire finance department to India. Although it doesn’t seem fair, it would be hypocritical of me if I became upset with this where so many of us rely on the profits of this company to increase our portfolios. This is simply corporate America being corporate America.

At least I made my exit with both grace and dignity, plus, I was grateful to have been issued a generous severance package where I had worked there for almost a decade. So many people allow their emotions to take control, which is understandable of course, but in business or life in general, I have always maintained the belief that you should act like a professional at all times, and keep your head held high. After all, you never know who is connected to who or where your next opportunity will come from. This last job came from a lead I was given by a former employer I had worked for in another state, and where it’s a tough job climate, I am going to need every resource I have available to find another position of equal measure.

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Anyone have a good recipe for lemonade?

Okay, now that I’m done grumbling about my job loss situation, it’s time to grow up and act like a big girl and focus on the future. So allow me to share with you where we currently stand.

Our Finances

As we discussed in our post “Why We Don’t Have An Emergency Fund, we have a few sources where we can draw cash from if needed, and despite the job loss, we still don’t believe it’s necessary to have a dedicated fund just for emergencies. Below is a brief overview of what we have available to us.

  • Checking – We keep well over a year’s worth of expenses at all times.
  • Credit cards – We carry credit lines of more than $20,000 on each of our credit cards.
  • Taxable brokerage account – We would need to sell some assets, but we don’t believe that it will come to this.

The balance we keep in our checking is enough to cover our expenses for more than a year if we were to both lose our jobs. This little nest egg took us a while to build, but we can sleep well at night knowing we have this. We don’t mind leaving it in checking because the interest rate is comparable to a savings account or CD. Even if we were losing out on some interest, I still prefer to keep the number of accounts to a minimum so our finances are easy to manage.

We also have the option to use our credit cards. This is one that we will do our best to avoid, along with selling our assets in the taxable brokerage account. We honestly don’t see our situation getting to this point, but it’s there if we need it.

Our Plan

For the last couple of years we have been living off of Mr. FE’s salary and saving mine. Even with the loss of my salary, we should be able to continue to do this; especially where we are already programmed to live below our means. How did we do this?

  • First, we purchased a lower priced home. We didn’t feel the need to buy a home that matched our income level, or the absurd loan amount the bank approved for us to have for that matter. We knew that we wanted an affordable home that we could live in, and not live for. We also picked a home based on location so we could save money on transportation. We accomplished this nicely with Mr. FE’s 2.8 mile commute!
  • Second, well if you’ve seen the sad car we currently own that we refer to as “The Turtle”, then what I am about to say next won’t surprise you. Neither one of us care if we own a souped up luxury ride that can send signals to outer space. We just require the basics to get us from point A to B. We are talking about a depreciating asset here folks!
  • Third, we keep a close eye on our budget. We eat most of our meals at home and the majority of our entertainment is free. We won’t count Mr. FE’s insistence on having cable TV, but you get the point.

The loss of my salary will have a major impact on our savings rate, however, our day to day living will most likely remain the same.

Our Outlook

Since we’ve adopted a frugal lifestyle, we have both gained confidence in our ability to survive these temporary financial setbacks. We will continue to stay on the path to financial independence, and know that by living frugally and managing our finances wisely, we have been rewarded with the most important thing of all, peace of mind.

Have you ever lost a job? Any thoughts on how you would get by financially? 

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45 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Lemons

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your loss of job. I agree its best to leave in a civil fashion, because you just never know where your next opportunity may be waiting. If you have over a year’s expenses in a checking account, isn’t that pretty much the same as an emergency fund?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s always best to remain professional. I was shocked to see so many lose control.
      Good question on the emergency fund! Many financial experts suggest you open and keep a separate account or CD just for emergencies. One of the reasons they use to back up this recommendation is that you may spend it if it’s in a checking account. We don’t think this matters. We prefer not having so many accounts to manage. The more simplified the better! – Mrs. FE

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, that makes sense. We also have emergency funds but our budgeting prevents us from spending the money by mistake. At this point we know ourselves well enough to not be concerned we will spend it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry to hear that! It’s sad when people don’t have enough forward thinking to plan for such unexpected events. I hope you get back on your feet soon and don’t need to use any of your fall backs. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are very lucky to be in the financial position that we are. If this were two or more years ago, this little setback would not have gone so smoothly. Thankfully, we came to our senses!
      I refuse to let this minor setback effect me. Instead, I’m looking at this for what it is, a chance to find another great opportunity! Like you said, “everything happens for a reason”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tough break, sounds like you took it in stride which is admirable.

    You will be back up and running in no time!

    Good luck on the networking/job search – even though it sucks the years of being smart financially prepared you for the worst!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see no point in letting this setback get to me. Instead, I view it as an opportunity to find something better! I shudder to think about how we would have handled this years ago, before our frugal ways!

      Like

  4. Sorry to hear about your job. I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end 🙂 You guys are in such a great position being so frugal that this layoff doesn’t look like it’ll be hurt you guys (besides not being able to save as much).

    I was in the same situation last October in which I was laid off for four months. Like you, we were pretty frugal and were able to live on my wife’s income and my unemployment fairly easily while still saving. Now that I have a job, the experience being laid off has helped us increase our savings since we know how frugal we can be.

    Good luck in your next endeavor!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After working there for almost a decade, I was ready for a change anyway. 🙂 And like you said, financially we will be fine where we were already living off of Mr. FE’s salary and saving mine.

      It’s great to hear that you were able to get back on your feet without any major repercussions! Thankfully, I won’t need to apply for unemployment for a while thanks to the generous severance package I received. This way, I can take my time and make sure I find the right opportunity.
      It looks like you manage your finances very much the same way we do. Being able to live off of the others income is a huge help at times like these. Frugality really does payoff! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so sorry to hear. My boyfriend lost his job last week too, and it came as a real blow – we had been looking at houses and engagement rings and that all went on immediate pause. Thankfully our life situation is similar to yours, where we mostly relied on my income, but we will be taking plenty of guidance from this post about ways to keep cutting back as he gets back on his feet. Good luck with the job hunt!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your boyfriends job loss. It can be a bit of a shock if you didn’t see it coming. I’m happy to hear that you will be okay where you both were already living off of your income. He’ll be back on his feet soon enough!
      I’m happy to hear that you were able to take away something from this post, and I look forward to writing more on this! 🙂 – Mrs. FE

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    1. I just don’t see the point in letting this get to me. Besides, I have no control over company buyouts or the changes they decide to make to increase their bottom line. Especially since this happens all the time in the world of business, it’s not personal.

      We feel very grateful that we embarked upon a mission to change our financial ways years ago, otherwise, this may of not gone so smoothly. I am excited about the possibilities and look forward to finding another great opportunity! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great to see you approaching this so confidently. Like you guys, we would have had a nightmare approaching this situation in our spendy days. Businesses change. People adapt.
    It is amazing when we look around, there are still too many folks looking to make lemons out of lemonade and not appreciating what they really have that matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very well said! It’s about appreciating what we have in life that’s important. Focusing on the negative rarely produces a positive result. The way I see it, I will find another opportunity or I’ll create one!

      Like

  7. So sorry to hear about your job loss. Congratulations on planning ahead and having the funds to see you through. I did lose a job suddenly and I was not prepared AT ALL financially. I am still trying to recover from that despite having a decent income for these past three years. I ended up in such a deep, deep hole because I was an idiot financially. Hard lessons learned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your job loss as well. Usually these things come when we least expect it. I really hope things improve for you soon!

      We were fortunate in the sense that this is our first official layoff between the two of us and we were prepared, but if it weren’t for the changes we made to our finances a couple of years ago, we would have been struggling as well. Our desire to become financially independent is now even stronger!

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  8. What a story. Sorry to hear you lost your job. It is good that you acted professional and kept your emotions under control while at the job.
    Good that you are on the journey to FI and living well below your means.
    All the best in finding a new equilibrium

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The more I think about it, the more I’m okay with this. I have been there for almost 10 years, and I think a change of pace may be a good thing for me! 🙂

      We feel fortunate that we came to our senses a couple of years ago and modified our financial behavior. It helps a lot during times like these. In fact, now we are even more motivated to reach our goal of financial independence! – Mrs. FE

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m pretty sure you must be superhuman to complain so little about being laid off after almost a decade! But it certainly speaks to your high level of financial preparedness that it doesn’t seem to be phasing you to lose your job! And thank goodness they took care of you with a good severance package. Plus, you do have an emergency fund, you just don’t call it that. 🙂 And thank goodness those funds are there to back you up, though if your income has all been going to savings, it doesn’t sound like you’ll even need to dip into that money. Sorry to hear that you’ve had this bump in the road, but high five for coping with it so well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I was superhuman! The first thing I would do is solve world peace, then I would eradicate world hunger! Ha ha 🙂

      On a more serious note, I don’t see the point in getting myself all worked up over something that is completely out of my control. I was there a long time and I’m okay with moving on. The more I think about it, the more excited I get about the prospect of finding a new opportunity!

      Yes, I suppose our checking is an emergency fund. 🙂 We were about to move a great deal of this to our taxable brokerage account, but the layoff changed our plans. For now we’ll leave it in checking and see where things go.

      We both feel extremely grateful that we came to our senses a couple of years ago when we decided to take saving seriously. I’m petrified to think where we would be right now if we hadn’t done so. Our mission to achieve financial independence and leave our 9-5 jobs (although we are presently down to one) and retire early is even more attractive now, and despite the job loss, we still plan to work hard in order to achieve this goal. I do believe these things happen for a reason! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It may seem like an odd thing to say, but I’m okay with this. I was there almost ten years and I do believe that these things happen for a reason. Now I look to the future and I’m excited about the prospect of finding another great opportunity! 🙂

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  10. I’m sorry to hear of your job loss. I’m glad that you are in a good financial and emotional position to weather the storm. That will give you the break to make sure you take the right next step for you since you don’t have to jump on the first thing available. Solidarity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Looking back, I feel fortunate that I was given such a great opportunity. However, after spending almost a decade working for the same company, I’m also perfectly okay with moving on. Change can be good and I look forward to the prospect of finding another thrilling opportunity! Thanks for your support!

      Like

  11. I am so impressed by your grace and positive attitude (though it might have been a little different when you first heard the news). Having funds to carry you really makes a world of difference. In our position, with lots of debt still to pay off, I would be scrambling to find a new job and probably be pretty stressed out.

    Best of luck – everything happens for a reason, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It took us a while to get to this point financially, but it was worth it! If I had lost my job a few years ago, we would have been in big trouble. Now instead of being stressed out, I can take my time and look for another exciting opportunity!

      Thank you and I agree! Everything does happen for a reason! 🙂

      Like

  12. So sorry to hear about your lose. After 10 years with a company, that could not be easy. The upside is that you guys are rock stars with your money and have a great nest egg stocked away (emergency fund or not). I liked what you said about ‘living in our home and not for our home’. That was a great decision to purchase a home you can afford and the fact that you live on one income makes the experience a bit more manageable.

    I lost my job in Ontario 5 years ago before relocating to Calgary, Alberta. I had $10,000 in my savings account and that was about it. I moved to Calgary, rented a dorm room at the Uof Calgary in the summer for $33/night and looked for work. It took me about 3 weeks to get another job, then I found more stable place to live and my now husband followed shortly after. It was a tough time but we got through it, and I am sure you will too. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story about how you were able to get back on your feet! I’m not too concerned about the financial side. At this point in my life, if I don’t find an opportunity that I strongly desire, then I will start my own consulting business. Luckily, we are in a position where we will be able to do so! 🙂

      Like

    2. By the way, I left you a comment on your recent blog post, but it’s very possible it went to your spam folder! I’ve been working with WordPress to get this issue fixed. Let’s hope they get this resolved soon!

      Like

  13. Your comparison of your reaction to this news with others who allow their emotions get the best of them illustrates an excellent Warren Buffett quote: “you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” Having prepared for a moment such as this, it certainly sounds like you guys are in excellent shape to weather the proverbial storm. That being said, I’m sorry to hear about it but glad to hear, in the comments above, of your excitement regarding the opportunities that lie ahead! 🙂

    As my wife is a stay-at-home mom for now, if I were to lose my current job, we would be forced to move. I work for the federal government on an Indian reservation and the government is technically my landlord i.e. no job = no more house…lol. Our emergency fund would get us by for a few months and credit cards could carry us further if necessary. Thankfully, as a nurse, I am confident in my ability to obtain new employment within a couple weeks if necessary and we have already proved, by our move to South Dakota at the drop of a hat, that we are willing and able to go anywhere and do anything that is in the best interest of our family. It’s a very freeing feeling to have confidence in that sense of security and to have the realization that, even in the worst case scenario of losing my job, all would be okay. Now pour me a glass of lemonade!!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that I’ve had a week to let the dust settle so to speak, I’m even more excited about finding a new opportunity! I truly believe that things happen for a reason and that I was ready for a change. Thanks to my severance package, I am essentially getting paid to look for another opportunity. I consider this to be a gift!

      It’s always good to have a backup plan for your family! Especially since life is so unpredictable when it comes to employment, or anything else for that matter. I did hear that nurses are in high demand, so you definitely picked the right profession! Let’s hope you never have to use your backup plan! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s awesome you got that cushion to help get you through to your next endeavor. You are definitely right that nursing is a pretty secure profession…for now anyway…who knows for certain what the future holds? For now though, I can essentially throw a dart at a map and find a job so that’s pretty amazing and one huge reason that I chose nursing when I decided to go back to school. There are hundreds of avenues I can take a nursing career, from hospitals to nursing homes to administration and executive level management to teaching to travel (the next step! :)); it’s incredible versatile!

        While I’m in no rush to put that backup plan in play, the beauty of it all is in knowing that my options are near limitless and that we have the resolve and tenacity to make anything work out in our favor! 😀

        Good luck in choosing next opportunity! I hope that it brings you great happiness and can’t wait to read all about it; until then, relax and enjoy the beauty of summer!

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  14. Nice job on living on one income – that is a fantastic way to build wealth for your family.

    It sucks to lose your job, I’d rather not have lemons – I don’t like them, or lemonade lol.

    It sounds like you set yourself with a great position financially, I know you’ll find something good. Good luck 🙂

    Tristan

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sorry to hear about your job, I’m sure with your level head you’ll be back in employment soon.

    When I was 24 and my husband 26 we had just bought our first flat and 3 months later he lost his job. It was a scary time but it also can bring you closer together. You just have to work more as a team. This was the push he needed to go self employed as a photographer. So with me supporting us Built up his company, and many years later he’s still a working photographer. We still struggling sometimes, and do well others, but you have to have faith and commitment in each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I appreciate you sharing your story of how your husband became a self employed photographer. I found it to be very inspirational and are happy to hear that it has worked out well!
      I am looking in a few different directions where I am not so sure that I want to be stuck in another office environment. I may try branching out on my own. 😃

      Like

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