The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Pilon has a great article on a man named Paul Joegriner.
He’s the ex-CEO of a small bank and hasn’t worked since 2008. Instead of getting a job, he’s actually turned down numerous offers (salary was too low, or he didn’t like the location) and has been blowing his $200,000 severance package on Porterhouse steaks and private schooling for his kids:
WSJ: His wife, Marzena, shuttles their two young children to private school every morning. The family recently vacationed in Virginia Beach, Va., and likes to dine on Porterhouse steaks. Since losing his job, Mr. Joegriner, 44 years old, has had several offers. He’s turned each down in hopes of landing a position comparable to what he held before.
The family’s lifestyle over the past year and a half has been propped up by a $200,000 severance package and another $100,000 in savings — funds the family has burned through rapidly. By Mr. Joegriner’s own calculations, the family will be out of money in six months if he doesn’t find work.
“It will be D-Day,” he says. “But on the outside, no one has any idea that we’re in trouble.”
Of course, most laid-off workers don’t have fat severances. But lots of folks are on unemployment, which has just been extended, and could easily be extended again. Thus, demand is maintained, and the economy is made somewhat immune from the shock of layoffs. But when the severance and unemployment run out… watch out.