Extinction of a Steady Paycheck
I truly believe that we need to get comfortable with the idea that the world will continue to be disrupted.
Lacking a W-2 to Prepare My Taxes
I have started to gather my papers together to do my income taxes. What was missing is the W-2 statement I used to get from an employer.
After 10 years it no longer feels strange not getting a steady paycheck!
I was raised to be an employee and to work for a father-like company that would take care of me.
Does this seem familiar?
For most baby boomers, we were encouraged to take the safe path, to work for a solid company and get a regular paycheck.
When I started to work for IBM in 1978, I got paid weekly. Every Monday, my paycheck was deposited into my credit union account like clockwork. It was always there! There was security in knowing that there was a steady flow of money coming in.
They Moved My Cheese!
In 1993, IBM went through its near bankruptcy. I watched as many of my older colleagues were walked to the door. They got big severance packages, but the security of the paycheck was gone.
In 1999, IBM made their first attempts to eliminate the pension plan. I started to realize that the concept of job security and a secure paycheck is an illusion.
They moved my cheese!
At that point, I decided it was time to move on. I left IBM in January of 2000 to go to a semiconductor startup, Agere, Inc.
It was freeing to leave that father-like company—a company that was no more. I left on my terms. I still had a paycheck, but this one was not nearly as secure.
Dot Com Bust
Then came the dot com bust. I watched as many of my former colleagues were laid off from IBM, as well as other large companies.
I hung on to the concept that I needed to stay employed.
During the 1990s, I considered starting my own consulting practice, but I could not get health insurance for my wife. Therefore, full-time employment was the only option. I made a couple of career pivots to teach high school math and work for a non-profit. In both, I had a paycheck and health insurance.
The Great Recession
In December of 2007, I took another position with a tech startup called LifeSize. Once again, I watched as so many friends were ejected and lost their steady paycheck.
In 2009, in the depth of the great recession, I started to explore the concept of starting a business, which is now called Career Pivot. I spent over 18 months in my exploration phase. I really liked that steady paycheck!
Sometimes, we have to get hit on the head a few times before we take action. It was late in 2010 when I was put in a highly unethical position at work. It was then that I had enough!
No Steady Paycheck or Health Insurance
It has been over 10 years since I received my last paycheck. Once again, I will not get a W-2 this year. It has been scary at times. We live on less. In fact, we live on a lot less…but we are happier!
In 2016, we saw our Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance premiums explode 50%. That is when we decided to explore becoming expatriates or ex-pats. I wrote the following post The Looming Healthcare and Insurance Catastrophe for Baby Boomers back in 2018.
For the first 6 years of being self-employed, the health insurance we purchased was sufficient. My wife had a short hospital stay in 2017. We spent over $25,000 in 2017 on healthcare and health insurance but did not reach our deductible. The following year we made our move to Mexico and have been very pleased with the healthcare.
The problem today is not having a steady paycheck but the lack of access to affordable healthcare and health insurance.
No Steady Paycheck in the Post COVID-19 World
I am hoping by the end of 2021 we will be emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many of the 55+ cohorts may never recover financially to where they were prior to the pandemic. The day of the steady paycheck may be over for many.
This will require a mindset shift to cope with this change. I recommend you listen to the podcast episode What is Your Mindset Right Now? Are Ready to Change It? [Podcast].
Hey, but what about affordable health insurance? If you do not want to become a digital nomad like myself, you may be in luck if Medicare at 60 is enacted. This is the simplest change that can be made with minimal disruption to the healthcare system but you will have to be at least 60 years of age.
Here is what I recommend you do NOW:
- Work on yourself and changing your mindset
- Start exploring self-employment – possibly by starting a side gig
- Explore your health insurance options
- Take a course on becoming an ex-pat (Shameless plug for the circle I am leading on Amava.com)
- Invest in your own health
The extinction of the steady paycheck is here and now. We are entering a world of disruption. Get prepared!
What is your next step?Marc Miller