When to go back to work, and at what capacity?

Ronni

The motormouth ;)
Location
Nashville TN
I'm 67. I'm a personal organizer and assistant for a variety of folks in the wealthy part of my town. It's repeat business because I create systems and then keep them up, whether it's closet/kitchen organization, computer files (photos, videos etc.,) seasonal things like spreadsheets for master contact lists and mailing of xmas cards etc., and a variety of other kinds of organization.

I haven't worked since Mid March, when Tennessee issued its first Safer At Home Executive Order. I'm high risk because of my age, but fit and healthy with no medical conditions and on zero medications. Per the 4 Stage Plan for Tennessee, it's recommended that I continue to shelter at home till the end of Phase 4. I won't be able to do that.

Some of you know my history. I was married for a very long time to a controlling, domineering, abusive man. Part of that abuse was financial. I'm still working to dig out from under a mountain of debt that he created, opening credit cards in my name, hiding an enormous array of financial irregularities, and effectively crippling my ability to retire any time soon. I have little social security because of my own ignorance and naiveté, and my trust that he was taking care of all the financial details, paying the IRS, sending in the appropriate forms etc. Before you chastise me (I've done MORE than enough of that myself thank you!!) remember that I'm not from this country, so the SS procedures, tax stuff, the appropriate protocols were completely foreign to me so I was more than happy for my ex to take care of all that for us.

The upshot is that when I retire I won't have much to live on, so it's imperative that I pay off all my debt before I shut down. Before Ron came along, my plan which I'd worked out with my kids was that I'd work till everything was paid off and then live with my daughter and her family, or my oldest son and his family, both of whom spent time humorously arguing over who gets to keep me! But then along came Ron đź’– We plan to get married and he has no debt other than necessary work debt with more than enough in his work accounts to bring those balances to zero if it became necessary. He has enough social security for us both to live on if he retires, not luxuriously but simply and without worry.

So. I need to return to work in some capacity. Obviously it's a concern, not just for myself, but for my clients too, some of whom are older and retired and so they're high risk like me. I'm going to be contacting everyone over the next few days, to ascertain where they are with the virus, how comfortable they are having me back, how comfortable *I* am returning to some of these environments. I have a couple clients who are younger, have kids at home, and so there are lot more moving parts to consider in terms of potential contagion, people in and out of the house, the adults returning to work etc.

My leaning is to pare down my client list. Not return to work full steam. Be mindful about my contamination risk. The upside of that is I don't have to work as hard, more time at home, less chance of risk. The downside is less income, so longer runway to become debt free. And if I should become ill (not covid-ill) and can no longer work, I hate the idea of debt hanging over my head, or Ron and my head if we're married.

I'm uncertain, and just feel kind of frozen about my next step. I need to contact clients but I don't know what to tell them. I guess I'm just throwing all this out there to get some input from you all.

Advice, what you'd do in my shoes, questions...whatever.
 

Rich29

New Member
Location
Aiken SC
Ronni,
You have articulated very well the issue that so many people are grappling with (health vs financial). The only
advice I would suggest is to read the latest CDC detailed guidelines which came out yesterday and use that as part of your decision process. Paring down, as you indicated, also sounds reasonable.
 

Knight

Senior Member
You probably have thought of this already but since it wasn't in your post I'll ask Does what you do require face to face contact? Or is it possible to arrange some way to interact over the phone or the computer?
 

Ronni

The motormouth ;)
Location
Nashville TN
Original Poster
You probably have thought of this already but since it wasn't in your post I'll ask Does what you do require face to face contact? Or is it possible to arrange some way to interact over the phone or the computer?
Most of the time I work alone. I require some degree of consultation with clients, depending on the project, and in most cases that requires in person contact as the client points out the specifics of her needs, and I ask questions and suggest solutions. Once that's done, I typically work alone, with texts or voice calls and images to hone the design of the project. It is totally feasible for us both to wear masks during those consultations. I would likely continue to wear my mask while I'm in the client's home whether anyone's there or not.
 

Liberty

Well-known Member
Location
Texas
You sound like a great gal, Ronni, and I applaud you for "keeping on keeping on". My advice is for you to "go with your gut". If it speaks to you, respond accordingly. Think you are in a unique personal biz that can allow you to "set the rules on what will work for you and keep your comfortable with the issues. Go for it, girl!
 

Kaila

SF VIP
I would give a lot of extra thought, like you are already obviously doing, Ronni, as to which jobs you do, and which clients at this time, and which particular services you offer, during this time. I would make very careful and individual considerations, before committing to each individual situation.

I would keep in mind that your long-term (and short-term) health is more important than the financial pressures even though they are valid. In my own view, it would be better to stretch your working out over longer time, than to take much risk. If you got sick, then it wouldn't have helped , because you'd need a lot more time off. Also, Not worth suffering, if preventable. Imo.

Perhaps, try to see if you could do more of the ones that are more easily possible, without the closer contact with the person and with all of their possessions, particularly their items that are often handled.

I would hope you could stick with clients that you know and trust the most, as to the info tht they give you regarding their own risks and behaviors.

Just adding my ideas to the others.
 
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asp3

Senior Member
You might be able to do some of your in person meetings remotely by using something like 8x8 meetings which are free. (Full disclosure, I am associated with the company.) they could take the meeting on their phones and they can point the phone at something they want to show you. If they take the meeting on their computer they can share their screen so that you could take a look at any documents or photos they wanted to show you. You can do the meetings on your phone or tablet if you don't want to do them on your computer.
 

Ronni

The motormouth ;)
Location
Nashville TN
Original Poster
You might be able to do some of your in person meetings remotely by using something like 8x8 meetings which are free. (Full disclosure, I am associated with the company.) they could take the meeting on their phones and they can point the phone at something they want to show you. If they take the meeting on their computer they can share their screen so that you could take a look at any documents or photos they wanted to show you. You can do the meetings on your phone or tablet if you don't want to do them on your computer.
I typically use Zoom or Google Meets, sometimes even Discord, but not typically with my clients, a greater percentage of whom are older and not well versed with technology. The learning curve is often problematic. I've introduced several of them over the years to email, smart phones, computers etc., and it's slow going, so virtual meetings aren't my first choice.
 

Aneeda72

Well-known Member
I typically use Zoom or Google Meets, sometimes even Discord, but not typically with my clients, a greater percentage of whom are older and not well versed with technology. The learning curve is often problematic. I've introduced several of them over the years to email, smart phones, computers etc., and it's slow going, so virtual meetings aren't my first choice.
It would be slow going with me 🤣
 

Geezerette

Senior Member
Perhaps you have mentioned this before,but have you gotten any legal advice about how to get out from under the debts which you did not personally incur and in which your name was used fraudulently without your consent? Sounds to me like your ex husband committed illegal acts. In my state there are Senior Law offices which give consultation and advice for no or very low fee. Have you looked into the possibility of declaring bankruptcy? If heaven forbid, Ron should pass away while you were married, you might get more SS as a widow than on your own record, but who would get the rest of his assets? In many cases of later marriages, the surviving kids get & the widow doesn’t. And in all fairness to Ron, I think you should get legal advice about your debts. And to keep on doing as much work as you possibly can.
 

Aneeda72

Well-known Member
Perhaps you have mentioned this before,but have you gotten any legal advice about how to get out from under the debts which you did not personally incur and in which your name was used fraudulently without your consent? Sounds to me like your ex husband committed illegal acts. In my state there are Senior Law offices which give consultation and advice for no or very low fee. Have you looked into the possibility of declaring bankruptcy? If heaven forbid, Ron should pass away while you were married, you might get more SS as a widow than on your own record, but who would get the rest of his assets? In many cases of later marriages, the surviving kids get & the widow doesn’t. And in all fairness to Ron, I think you should get legal advice about your debts. And to keep on doing as much work as you possibly can.
I think all widows even ex’s can get SS from the husband but depends on how long they were married. I think it has to be at least ten years. There, of course, needs to be a will for the children. But this problem is easily solved, Ronni and Ron can leave it all to a third party-ME! 🤣
 
Geezerette gives great advice above about consulting with an attorney about your debt situation and the possibility of declaring bankruptcy (and the timing of it should you decide on bankruptcy -- i.e., declare before or after marriage). Most of your consideration about all this has to do with your state's laws and what it does or does not consider community debt and community property-- this is paramount in knowing how marriage will affect you and Ron in case of his death (or yours) or in case of divorce.

Even though none of us wants to consider the effect of divorce or death, it's vitally important to know precisely where you stand legally in case of either event occurring. You should also discuss the matter of wills with him. You don't want to wake up some morning down the road to find yourself a widow and literally and figuratively out in the cold. Law about wills and estates is also state law, so what is true for someone in another state is not necessarily true for you. You need the advice of a good attorney there in your own state.
 

Ronni

The motormouth ;)
Location
Nashville TN
Original Poster
Thanks for your input guys.

Yes, I explored all the options available to me at the time to reduce the debt that my ex-husband left me with and got some of it off my plate. The rest is legally mine, and I've been working diligently at its elimination.

And Ron and I have talked at length about the legal/financial aspects of getting married. We haven't visited a lawyer yet but that's part of our plan, both to explore all the financial ramifications, depending on who pre-deceases whom, and also so that he can change his will to reflect my continued financial support should he pre-decease me.

There are some gray areas with the business, too, that he needs to hammer out. He would like for Sheri, his daughter who works with him, to inherit the business which is fine with me. *I* sure don't want to have to deal with that, and a portion of his social security will be more than enough to cover my needs should that be necessary. I just want to make sure that she also inherits whatever debt the business has (there are credit lines/cards, equipment, vehicles etc.) I am ignorant when it comes to that kind of thing, but I know what I want which is basically a clear delineation between business and personal finances, liability, inheritances etc.
 

Mr. Ed

Member
Location
Cortland NY
since the operation I'm not returning to work until after my post-op exam 08/24. I'm not one to sit around and do nothing productively, however, I know I must rest to regain my strength. I try to exercise little by little but I am still weak and must take it easy, easy is boring.
 

Sunny

SF VIP
Location
Maryland
Did you return to work, Ronni? It's been nearly 3 months since your original post, and I'm wondering how it turned out.
 

Cyclist

New Member
I am in your shoes regarding finances. I work a regular job 25 hours a week but also added on working weekends. I arrive at 10pm and am off shift at 6am. This is one job that requires nothing but my presence. Hardly ever do I need to assist with anything although it happens but it's maybe 5 min of my time. The rate is minimum wage however I'd be asleep at home anyhow. I am a caregiver in name however have very little experience. Most caregivers want to be home at night and this couple needs someone there full time. Each caregiver works 8 hrs.

Weekends are difficult to fill and moreso during these times. just an idea. Good luck to you!
 

oldman

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Why not combine your debts and make one payment a month until you're debt free? Maybe you would be able to pay over the amount due each month and get it paid off sooner. Is that something worth considering?
 

Liberty

Well-known Member
Location
Texas
I am in your shoes regarding finances. I work a regular job 25 hours a week but also added on working weekends. I arrive at 10pm and am off shift at 6am. This is one job that requires nothing but my presence. Hardly ever do I need to assist with anything although it happens but it's maybe 5 min of my time. The rate is minimum wage however I'd be asleep at home anyhow. I am a caregiver in name however have very little experience. Most caregivers want to be home at night and this couple needs someone there full time. Each caregiver works 8 hrs.

Weekends are difficult to fill and moreso during these times. just an idea. Good luck to you!
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