Jobless white collar worker contemplates future

It's bad enough watching your 401K disappear, knowing that you're at least a decade away from tapping into that money. But what happens if you need to use the cash now because you've lost your job? KPCC's Special Correspondent Kitty Felde spoke with one local woman about it.

Kitty Felde: Andrea Jackson just lost her job as an executive recruiter with a small head hunting firm. But today, she's getting in her laps at the local pool.

Andrea Jackson: I swim five days a week and it's absolutely wonderful. It's my yoga. Fortunately for me, I do have savings. I also have an investment account that I have been contributing to over the past few years and fortunately, so fortunately, I do have an investment property so I have two other tenants that contribute to my mortgage each month, which is such a relief in this market.

Felde: Well, you mentioned retirement. Do you have a lot of that in the market, in the stock market, some of your retirement money?

Jackson: Yes, unfortunately I do. And I found out about two weeks ago that my investment account has dipped $20,000 this year because of what's going on in the market. And I am just sick about it, like everyone else.

And there are a number of people out there that feel like, you know, don't even look at your statements, don't open them, but I ascribe to the mentality that it's better to know than to not know. And I mean, it just sickens me that between January 1st of this year and now, I have $20,000 that's just gone, poof, and nothing to show for it.

Felde: Well, had you planned on tapping that soon? Or are you thinking about moving it around now?

Jackson: Well, I actually am going to pull some money out of my investment account. I actually faxed the documents to my custodian yesterday because I am planning to rob Peter to pay Paul, if you will, and pull the funds out for 60 days, and then put them back in to avoid any penalties.

That will tide me over at least until my unemployment kicks in, and hopefully within the next 60 days, I can land another job. It's a dicey move, but it's one that like a lot of Americans, that's I'm going to do right now.

Felde: So the timing for the market tanking couldn't be any worse as far as you needing ready cash.

Jackson: Absolutely, absolutely. And I really do feel like I'm a normal everyday working person who prepared myself. I got a great education, I have good skills, but because of what's going on, all the forces that are at work in the market, I'm even impacted. So it just goes to show that this situation is one that is adversely impacting everyone.

Felde: Now you have a strategy for looking for the next job of preparing not one resume, but three?

Jackson: Absolutely. Because I have a varied background – I have recruiting experience, I am fortunate in that I have the 15 years of corporate finance experience, and I'm also – I also have an operations background, it was suggested that I have three resumes so that I can target those three areas.

Felde: And as you look in your crystal ball, I mean, are you hopeful about the financial situation in America in the future?

Jackson: You know, Kitty, I honestly can't say that I'm hopeful. I mean, this thing seems to be so far reaching. And when you talk about the global economy that's been impacted and world leaders that are wanting to meet with our politicians to try to figure out how we can keep the world market from tanking, I just don't know what can be done to really right this situation and to get us back on track. I think it's going to take at least three to five years, to be quite honest. Time will tell the story. Time will tell the story.

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