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How I Ended Up Broke at 55
Pajamas Media ^ | April 26 | Carol Gould

Posted on 04/26/2009 10:39:58 AM PDT by AJKauf

Anyone looking at my blueprint for a happy life composed at 27 would think I was the wisest young woman in England. Indeed, when I was an executive with Anglia Television Drama at that relatively youthful age, colleagues would come to me for advice on long-term investment. I knew that behind my back they were making cracks about “Jews are always the best with money” but it did not faze me. I seemed to have planned for a prosperous future. Just before she died, when I was 35, my mother said, “I’m not worried about you. One day you are going to be a very wealthy woman.”

Well, I should have been. I am 55 and penniless. Without the generosity of friends I would be on the street.

What happened? In light of the daily stories on American news programs about tent cities and rampant foreclosures, I thought I would share my story. Here is the sorry scenario...

(Excerpt) Read more at pajamasmedia.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: poverty

1 posted on 04/26/2009 10:39:58 AM PDT by AJKauf
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To: AJKauf

This wrier is a slow bloomer. I’ve managed to become penniless and I’m not quite yet 40. Of course I didn’t do it all by myself; I’ve had a tremendous amount of government assistance in becoming penniless....


2 posted on 04/26/2009 10:42:30 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: AJKauf
Bernie Madoff wasn't the only one running a Ponzi scheme the past thirty years.

Banks, insurance companies and the federal government saw the opportunity as well.

3 posted on 04/26/2009 10:44:48 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims reserve the right to kill anyone who says otherwise.)
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To: AJKauf
Interest only mortgage and then takes out yet another mortgage? This story is starting to sound familar.
4 posted on 04/26/2009 10:50:15 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Selah)
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To: AJKauf

According to BO and his D’RATS, we’re all supposed to be penniless. It’s the natural state when living in Socialism. Gloom, doom, poverty and despair. Get used to it. But hey! We’ll have “free” rationed “healthcare.”


5 posted on 04/26/2009 10:50:57 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Proud charter member of Napolitano's rightwing, nutcase American, watch list.)
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To: AJKauf

There simply is no substitute for managing your own investments..whether it is realestate or stocks..there is no such thing as a hands free investment strategy.
It doesn’t take much time, but it does take some decision making. I was shocked to learn some years ago that 97% of the people in my company did not take the opportunity to move their 401k plans to the brokerage option and invest themselves. The company mutual funds which were on the list all were underperforming the SP500. All you had to do was move your money to SPY and you would have a much higer return and fewer fees.


6 posted on 04/26/2009 10:51:20 AM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: Graybeard58

Yes, the theme is greed. Big returns for no work. Easy money. Pay only the interest, get to deduct all the taxes, interest, etc. and then get a hefty return each year....probably much less in cost than renting a comparably valued home. Too boot, many of these “free money” gamblers were expecting high valuations and eventual sale to make a tidy equity profit. Screw them. If you aren’t greedy you are likely not to get screwed.


7 posted on 04/26/2009 10:52:18 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: AJKauf
" I ain't rich yet but Ize gonna be cuz Obama's president."-An Obama Supporter as broadcast on a Los Angeles radio station.

The lady should rejoice as her wealth is somewhere on its way to help those who have followed "The Divine One Of The Crown Of Thorns."

8 posted on 04/26/2009 10:53:17 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: AJKauf

He or she, had an interest only loan for his/her first home. Ding, ding, ding !!!


9 posted on 04/26/2009 10:54:01 AM PDT by BunnySlippers (I LOVE BULL MARKETS . . .)
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To: Gaffer

I never considered my house as an investment. I got a 15 year mortgage, paid it off in 7 or 8 years. I have no idea nor do I care how much it would sell for now. I live here, it’s my home, not a savings plan. My wife and I and the tax assessor own it.


10 posted on 04/26/2009 10:56:25 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Selah)
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To: AJKauf
Carol Gould is the Philadelphia-born author of Don’t Tread on Me: Anti-Americanism Abroad, Spitfire Girls, and A Room at Camp Pickett, a play about her mother’s experiences as a WAC in World War II; she has just completed films about black GIs and GI babies. Carol has been a panelist on BBC's Any Questions?, hosted by Jonathan Dimbleby, and is a commentator on Sky News, Press TV, the BBC World Service, and Five Live.

Doesn't exactly sound like she is destitute and without opportunity. My guess is she is like a lot of people on both sides of the Atlantic who think of themselves as "poor" if they can't afford every little thing they want.

11 posted on 04/26/2009 10:57:15 AM PDT by JennysCool (Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. -- Wyatt Earp)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

I’m broke as well.. I live paycheck to paycheck, due to bad choices and some bad luck, and a marriage that tanked.. big deal..

you know life isn’t always rosy.. let’s get on with it, and quit whining about it.

sheesh, when I think about those poor folks in Auschwitz, I am reminded of how truly horrible life can become.

We are still lucky.. Even broke, we have a good life. And there, in a nutshell, is the difference between myself and my whining complaining democratic brother, in Michigan. His bad choices are everyone else’s fault..

arghhh... sick of hearing about it.

I do thank you for posting the article..


12 posted on 04/26/2009 10:59:25 AM PDT by Chuzzlewit
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To: AJKauf

Please. I’m about your age. I’ve trusted people and lost unspeakable millions. In fact, I lost everything — 100%, meaning even my clothing, furniture and photographs — more than once, and everything was far more than a couple of houses. I try never to think about it.
Getting rich again is the easiest thing. Figuring out whom to trust, healing a broken spirit and heart, is a great deal more difficult.
You’re only 55. You want money, it’ll make you feel better? Use your head. Anyone can make money.
And when you get it, don’t exchange it for promises. When it comes to money, people who take promises are called suckers by people who make promises.
Now quit whining! :)


13 posted on 04/26/2009 10:59:48 AM PDT by Graymatter (Don't enable destroyers. File for chapter 44 -- barackruptcy.)
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To: AJKauf
OK, the writer is a moron!

Interest only loans, taking out equity cash...bla bla.

14 posted on 04/26/2009 11:01:36 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: AJKauf

Well, she had bad luck on her investments. But she was not exactly prudent or careful. She quit several jobs that would have given her more income and security. I don’t blame her for getting mad about the insult to her secretary, but I don’t know that it required her to quit her job. And I don’t know why she quit her other job.

Also, she is angry at the Scottish bank because they won’t allow her to leverage her mortgage loan even further. Is THAT really the way to get rich—increase your debt so you can have some spending money?

She sounds like a typical boomer generation person to me. And I don’t know why her friends would ask her for financial advice, since she evidently never bothered to manage her own money.


15 posted on 04/26/2009 11:03:52 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Graybeard58

In Atlanta it wasn’t uncommon 5 years ago for two yuppies to buy a $1M home interest only. Monthly payments were high but deductions,etc. markedly reduced. They banked on being able to sell that $1M house for $1.25-1.5 M 5-7 years later and net a tidy profit. Then prices tanked and they are screwed - their homes won’t even sell for 750K or 700K in some cases.


16 posted on 04/26/2009 11:08:06 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: Graymatter

My personal motto is “If you have it, hide it.” Old money keeps themselves wealthy that way.

A lot of wealthy people in Hollywood smartly own only one paid off home, a couple of beat up cars, and keep MTV away from them. They have their hobbies and extravgences, but nothing like a fleet of Bentleys and Hummers.

It seemed like Brad Pitt used to be that way and now he’s flying all over the place and buying one home afer another. Really disappointing.


17 posted on 04/26/2009 11:08:16 AM PDT by Niuhuru
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To: AJKauf

Charity begins at home........build and secure your base. Multiple fiscal resources aka never put all yer eggs in one basket per se........live within your means be it a “van down by the river” or a pimped out “crib”......:o)

Then and only then help those you can !!

My opinion and what I have done. Gonna go polish the rims on my home now.


18 posted on 04/26/2009 11:10:27 AM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: Graybeard58
Good post. A home is expensive enough with taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs. I laugh at all the offers for a HELOC I get in the mail - just before I place them in the shredder!
19 posted on 04/26/2009 11:10:55 AM PDT by Ken H
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To: Graymatter
When it comes to money, people who take promises are called suckers by people who make promises

Applies to politics as well.

20 posted on 04/26/2009 11:11:03 AM PDT by TADSLOS
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To: AJKauf

Reads like a non stop progression of very poor decisions. Starting with an interest only mortgage followed by and equity loan against the same property.

Primary ingredients in a recipe for financial disaster.

I am making a generalization here, but people that make such obviously foolish decisions usually don’t stop at a couple. In her case it appears to be a pattern of good money after bad.


21 posted on 04/26/2009 11:12:26 AM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s........you weren't really there)
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To: Cicero

“She quit several jobs that would have given her more income and security. I don’t blame her for getting mad about the insult to her secretary, but I don’t know that it required her to quit her job. And I don’t know why she quit her other job.”

Who knows, maybe she got huffy over something someone said about her.

There’s way too much expectation by many that their feelings will be protected in the workplace when the main goal is to make money and build.

Some people are incapable of cutting back on their lifestyle when things start going belly up.


22 posted on 04/26/2009 11:14:15 AM PDT by Niuhuru
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To: AJKauf
Well, I should have been. I am 55 and penniless. Without the generosity of friends I would be on the street.

Sad but, commonplace tale of "smart people" who make stupid decisions due to their not having been properly educated! It is not her fault (?) that she did not receive a basic education in diversifying her assets (not putting all eggs in a few baskets...)

I know a number of individuals who are in the same shape today. Over the years however, they have lived "HIGH ON THE HOG" for many years, freely providing their views of how to "GET RICH AND PROSPER" to their friends!

Aesop's fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper (expanded to include asset diversification) is as valid today as it was eons ago!

23 posted on 04/26/2009 11:19:47 AM PDT by ExSES (the "bottom-line")
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To: All

Well I haven’t been stolen broke YET....but it is amazing when you invest in the most conservative HOPEFULLY safe ways that someone can still take you off at the knees. I admit I saw it coming for years, but I really expected it in about the year 2020, not now.

One of the governments real problems now as I see it, Is people like me that have always lived WAY below their means aren’t dumb enough to bust their butts only to be cheated again. So now in effect the government has made many of the true boot strappers doubt even more if trying will pay off in the long term.

I didn’t use to think small business HAD to cheat to make money, Now after looking around I believe most do.

A person would have to be half crazy to start one now...
How we have squandered the American Dream...


24 posted on 04/26/2009 11:20:40 AM PDT by uncle fenders
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To: Niuhuru
My personal motto is “If you have it, hide it.”

Yes! Or as I tell my daughters, "Loot attracts looters."

25 posted on 04/26/2009 11:22:56 AM PDT by Graymatter (Don't enable destroyers. File for chapter 44 -- barackruptcy.)
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To: AJKauf

This writer claims to have been an astute investor, but really only was a gullible person who did not investigate where she put her money. She gave lots of it away, and quit lucrative jobs because of perceived “racism”.

Don’t expect to be wealthy just because other people tell you how foolproof their investment schemes are.


26 posted on 04/26/2009 11:26:45 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: AJKauf

Meanwhile...

Obama Wants $100B For Global Poverty

Geithner says crisis threatens work on poverty
By Harry Dunphy, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The global economic crisis threatens to reverse gains in fighting poverty, so banks that provide aid to poor nations must embrace changes in their operations, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Sunday.

Those development banks are at the forefront of efforts to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable growth, he said the World Bank’s policy-setting board.

“We cannot afford to lose time or lose ground,” Geithner said.

At the same time, he said it was important for the banks to conduct their aid business in the open.

They must face reviews to ensure they have enough money and are promoting fundamental changes, Geithner said. He added that their resources must be used to “achieve the maximum impact on long-term development objectives, including addressing the needs of the poorest.” …

Officials agreed on an immediate increase of $250 billion for IMF lending. A further $250 billion would be added later to an “expanded and more flexible” line of credit.

President Barack Obama is seeking congressional approval for up to $100 billion for that effort, matching commitments for the same amount made by Japan and the European Union…

via: http://sweetness-light.com/archive/obama-wants-another-100b-for-global-poverty

Original: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090426/ap_on_bi_ge/us_world_economy


27 posted on 04/26/2009 11:28:38 AM PDT by AliVeritas (Appeal to Heaven.)
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To: Cicero; Travis McGee; dixiechick2000
She sounds like a typical boomer generation person to me

Really?

Typical boomer like me at 51 is caring for a large family and extended elderly relatives (10 dependents) and managing businesses or dealing with a serious management level or professional degree job. And paying for possibly private school and college too. I have one in private school and one in state college and one in private college.

And i'm never late with my mortgages and manage most of my own capital

Young folks who are considerably more liberal (Next to blacks..Obama's biggest vote), make the mistake of thinking that all boomers were college radicals or Ward Churchill types.

That was a minority of boomers ...a tiny minority outside of the Ivy League and some radical hotbeds like Madison and Berkeley

Most of us are fairly conservative and vote that way...just check the stats. And many of us fought in Vietnam, not me I was too young.

I'm not sure what sort of generational issues you have but one thing we most boomers except the radicals have never done is to blame all who came before us for all their ills.

I was raised to venerate my kinfolks who came before me.

Compare tacky hippies, led zepplin, lynyrd skynyrd and dazed and confused era kids with todays' youth culture from hip hop to ink and body mutilation, girls acting like sluts, no daddies, sissy boy meterosexuals being the dominant educated white boys theme and get back to me which is more offensive really....and who is far more liberal

My daughter goes to David Lipscomb...a Christian college...besides her and her teachers...most kids are brainwashed PC race and environment obsessed ninnies. Thanks.

28 posted on 04/26/2009 11:29:55 AM PDT by wardaddy (You will not destroy our country without a fight replete with horror your naive ass cannot imagine)
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To: ChildOfThe60s

Let’s see:

1. Bought an annuity product with high fees and no guarantees.

2. Bought a house in the U.S. that she wasn’t using.

3. Bought another annuity product with high fees and no guaranteess.

4. Put her retirement into a pension run by someone else.

5. No savings.

6. Interest only loan.

7. Freelance means didn’t really work for several years.

8. Took a second mortgage on her home.

9. Foresook secure steady jobs for the high life, high risk mover and shaker world.

10. Gave her money away.

11. Was forced through her behavior to make tough decisions in down markets.

12. Parents seem to be divorced so she had no family safety net to validate taking such big risks.

All in, she doesn’t sound that prudent to me. If you don’t have folks to fall back on, you need to be more prudent and careful with your career decisions, financial purchases and investment programming.


29 posted on 04/26/2009 11:48:05 AM PDT by johnnycap
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To: AJKauf

When I bought my house all the mortgage people thought I was crazy for getting a 15 year mortgage. Well, I put 23 percent down and will have it paid off five years early. I still have plenty of equity in the place even today and after 10 years I’ll have a 10 year old house that’s fully paid for. Who’s crazy now?


30 posted on 04/26/2009 11:58:40 AM PDT by AlaskaErik (I served and protected my country for 31 years. Democrats spent that time trying to destroy it.)
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To: johnnycap

She’s a nitwit thinking to earn by writing about it.


31 posted on 04/26/2009 12:00:59 PM PDT by cornelis
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To: cornelis

Sorry, take that back, it’s the age of Obama. Follow the leader.


32 posted on 04/26/2009 12:01:36 PM PDT by cornelis
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To: AJKauf

Sometimes one can out-’smart’ oneself.


33 posted on 04/26/2009 12:09:31 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: AJKauf
“Jews are always the best with money”

Apparently she's an exception...

34 posted on 04/26/2009 12:14:30 PM PDT by Riodacat (Legum servi sumus ut liberi esse possimus.)
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To: Joe 6-pack
becoming penniless....

Not to worry Joe6P... Pennies aren't worth much anyway... ; )

35 posted on 04/26/2009 12:18:49 PM PDT by roamer_1 (It takes a (Kenyan) village to raise an idiot.)
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To: AJKauf

“Had anyone looked at my life at 30 they would have said I was the most prudent young woman around...”

Not me. This woman bought a home on an interest-only mortgage, additionally paid into two separate “endowment funds” (investments meant specifically to pay of her mortgage on the theory that they would make more than the interest rate on the loan,) and now, after 25 years, she still does not own the house?

Her plan sounds like utter insanity which has worked out exactly the way a prudent person would have anticipated.


36 posted on 04/26/2009 12:20:55 PM PDT by PhatHead
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To: AJKauf
Her whine-fest is rife with stupid statements (outright lies? - "decided to go freelance" pretty much sounds like "I was fired"), but the closing statement perhaps takes the cake:

The sad fact is that through no fault of my own I am broke at 55.

No, the sad fact is that you're just plain stupid.
37 posted on 04/26/2009 12:47:02 PM PDT by Moltke
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To: AJKauf

Call me politically incorrect but I do not feel her pain. I am wondering if we got a chance to examine her fiscal life what we would find. Two home, one in the States and one in London? Interest only mortgages? All her investing eggs in one basket? That is bad enough but what we don’t know is how she spent the rest of her money. Did she purchase a new car every year, new clothes every season and make reservations for dinner every night?

The woman appears to have had an education and talent. And I am supposed to feel sorry for her because she squandered her treasure? To me she is yet one more whinny Baby Boomer who has gone through life expecting rather than learning. I do not feel sorry for her. I pity her.


38 posted on 04/26/2009 12:56:10 PM PDT by mort56 (He who would sacrifice freedom for security deserves neither. - Ben Franklin)
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To: wardaddy

There’s a line in my new book about fighting for lost causes that is going to resonate with you.

When you read it, you will know exactly the line I mean.


39 posted on 04/26/2009 2:14:12 PM PDT by Travis McGee ("Foreign Enemies And Traitors" will be ready the first week of May.)
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