Self-unemployed

At least once a week, I run into someone who asks: “So, what do you do for a living?”

My answer: “I’m self-unemployed.”

Usually, they laugh. In some ways, it’s funny.

In others, it’s not.

Since I’ve been self-employed for the last several years, it makes sense that if I no longer have a business, I’m self-unemployed.

There’s a lot of us self-unemployed.

We don’t show up in the unemployment statistics issued each month by the government.

We’re off the gird.

We don’t draw unemployment.

At 62, I’m too old to have much hope of landing a new job.

But I’m just old enough to qualify for “early retirement” with Social Security and my first payment as a self-unemployed, early retiree is scheduled to arrive next month.

At this point in my life, that monthly Social Security stipend will be an increase in pay.

By taking early retirement, Uncle Sam also limits what I can earn in addition to my Social Security.

This year, I can earn an additional $14,160 without hurting my Social Security benefits. If I make more than that, I lose $1 in Social Security benefits for every $2 earned over the limit.

When I reach 65, I can earn $37,680 for that year and, staring the next year, all limits are lifted.

Not that it matters. In 2009, $14,160 would have been a salary increase. The money from Social Security this year will certainly be an increase in pay.

That wasn’t the plan.

But it is the reality.

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