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Unemployed at 62, his plight may be a sign of the times (Barf alert!)
bostonherald ^ | 3-11-03 | Margery Eagan

Posted on 03/11/2003 11:40:19 AM PST by Jimmyclyde

Unemployed at 62, his plight may be a sign of the times

by Margery Eagan Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Here in the living room of what feels like a cozy English country cottage - china-blue walls, hand-painted antique chairs, latticed windows and fine woods - it's hard to believe the once-comfortable occupants are down to their last $2,500.

Not enough to pay their $2,000 monthly rent and $1,200 health insurance, never mind food or heat or gas.

But that's the very scary story of North Easton couple Dick Wilcox, 62, and his wife, Michele, 56. Dick was laid off from his $65,000, mid-level insurance company job a year ago. He cannot afford to retire.

And as a nation obsesses over war, its politicians seeming to forget the crushing effects of a jittery economy, Dick Wilcox has joined the unenviable ranks of older, unemployed, white-collar workers who can't find another decent job.

``It's like all it takes,'' Dick Wilcox said yesterday, ``is one crack in the system and you can go from having a really good lifestyle to being literally homeless.''

To prevent that is why he's spent three months now, morning after frigid morning, at busy Canton intersections. He wears fat mittens and a hooded parka over a neat suit and tie. And like an upscale version of your average street corner beggar, lifelong, middle-class taxpayer Dick Wilcox stands with a mix of humiliation, desperation and defiance behind the 4-by-6-foot plywood sign he made in his basement. And he begs, too.

``I NEED A JOB. 508-238-3226.'' That's what his sign reads in big black letters. ``36 Yrs. Exper. Insur/Mngmnt.''

Dick Wilcox has dropped off hundreds of resumes at companies and office parks. He's sent out hundreds more online. He's had two interviews and not a single job offer near the $50,000 he needs.

Now his severance, unemployment, modest savings and pension are almost gone. Michele Wilcox, who raised three children and supplemented Dick's income with a home crochet business, brought in just $9,000 this year. Her small business is yet another victim, it appears, of a shrinking economy.

A year ago, the couple planned to help an infertile daughter finance an expensive overseas adoption. They'd hoped to replace a 12-year-old car. Now, even if both find $10-an-hour jobs tomorrow, they're on the brink of losing their home.

Dick Wilcox, who has a can-do, take-charge aura about him - and unique ideas on making older workers more attractive - says he's still a bit stunned by it all. ``When I first lost my job I said, `Well, it's not the end of the world. I'll go out and find something else . . .' I never expected . . . this.''

Here is the good and bad news. Last week, his story made the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Since then he's had hundreds of phone calls, mostly from other older laid-off workers who are discouraged, too, ``and practically crying on the phone,'' he says. ``Out of work nine months, 14 months. Unbelievable, terrible stories.''

But he's also had calls from other media outlets, including nationally syndicated radio shows, cable TV's NECN and two of the three big morning network shows: ``Good Morning America'' and ``The Early Show.'' But the morning shows keep delaying him, he says, because of war stories.

Meanwhile, he says, not a single politician has called. ``They'd much rather debate the war than talk about the economy because they don't have any solutions. They just keep promising the economy's going to turn around. . . Now they don't even say it anymore and we've got tens of thousands out of work.''

Although media coverage has led to at least one promising interview offer, Dick Wilcox is taking no chances. He plans to be out again tomorrow morning, the corner of Route 138 and Washington Street, where people have climbed over snowbanks to shake his hand or bring him Dunkin' Donuts. ``One woman tapped me on the shoulder with tears in her eyes. She said, `This is the gutsiest thing I ever saw anybody do.' ''

He says that when he first thought of the sign, he was afraid to tell his wife or children. He was embarrassed, scared he'd seem like a failure, like ``some idiot'' standing in the road.

Yesterday, Michele Wilcox said she'd admired her husband's daring. Yesterday Karen Wilcox, their oldest child, said her father ``had proven us all wrong'' for ever fretting about his sign. She said her father had worked hard all his life and that when she heard him last week on the radio, ``I had tears in my eyes. . . . I'm so proud of him.''


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Unemployed at 62?

It's called retirement.

1 posted on 03/11/2003 11:40:19 AM PST by Jimmyclyde
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To: Jimmyclyde
Or it's called ...lost my hard earned responsibly saved retirement money (401K) in the stock market crashes starting in 1998 and have to go back to work (if you can find a job) or eat dog food.
2 posted on 03/11/2003 11:43:48 AM PST by clamper1797 (Credo Quia Absurdum)
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To: Jimmyclyde
He really expected to find another job at 62? Doesn't he know that most employers are NOT going to hire a 62 year old man or 59 year old woman for that matter. Most employers don't like to hire anyone over 50 unless they are CEO's. There is a real prejudice in the work force when it comes to hiring older people.
3 posted on 03/11/2003 11:44:39 AM PST by areafiftyone (The U.N. is now officially irrelevant! The building is for Sale!!!)
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To: Jimmyclyde
Unemployed at 62? It's called retirement

Nowadays, it's called still having several years before retirement. I figure I'm not gonna retire until I'm seventy-five, and will probably continue to work part-time after that - partially because Social Security and Medicare will be non-existent, and partially because my wife will kill me if I'm hanging around the house all day - she just about did that when I was unemployed for several months last year...

4 posted on 03/11/2003 11:45:10 AM PST by dirtboy (The Pentagon thinks they can create TIA when they can't even keep track of their own contractors)
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To: Jimmyclyde
One word: MOVE
5 posted on 03/11/2003 11:45:13 AM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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To: Jimmyclyde
$2,000 monthly rent

Lots of good apartments in the Detroit suburbs for $500 to $800 a month. I think they could afford that much on far less than $50K a year.

6 posted on 03/11/2003 11:45:51 AM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: clamper1797
How can you lose money you never had?
7 posted on 03/11/2003 11:45:51 AM PST by Jimmyclyde
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To: Jimmyclyde
Meanwhile, he says, not a single politician has called.

It ain't the Gov'ts job to find you employment, you dumbass.

8 posted on 03/11/2003 11:46:25 AM PST by TomServo
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist
Three words: Paper or plastic?
9 posted on 03/11/2003 11:46:52 AM PST by JIM O
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To: Jimmyclyde
I would hope he saved for retirement out of a 65K salary, but you never know, (ant and grasshopper)

Given that I like teaching and know Florida, Alabama, and Texas have teacher shortages, I would consider selling out, moving to the south and finding a more modest lifestyle and a teaching job paying abut half of what he had.
10 posted on 03/11/2003 11:47:27 AM PST by KC_for_Freedom
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To: Jimmyclyde
It appears that middle-management was not a great career choice for anybody.
11 posted on 03/11/2003 11:48:27 AM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: JIM O
ROTFLMAO
12 posted on 03/11/2003 11:49:55 AM PST by mtbrandon49 (BOHICA)
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To: Jimmyclyde
I have some names for you:

Phineas Taylor ("P.T.") Barnum. Broke, knocked around creating various animal shows until age 70 when he teamed with the Ringling Bros. to START his circus.

Lydia Pinkham, unemployed 60-year-old housewife with a husband in a wheelchair and two teenage boys. Started selling her "vegetable compound" and it took off, making her a millionaire at age 70.

C. W. Post---a "youngster"---was only in his early 50s, but unemployed and ill. He went to Battle Creek Michigan to the Kellogg sanitarium, where he tinkered with a new cereal that tasted like, well, "grape nuts," even though there were no grapes and no nuts in it. Of course, he became a millionaire with Post cereals.

Oh, and Paul Revere. He was 70, and hardly unemployed, having had a thriving copper business, but he was only looking at expansion, creating the first integrated copper rolling mill in the country.

Unemployed? Look at it as an opportunity for greatness.

13 posted on 03/11/2003 11:50:23 AM PST by LS
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To: Larry Lucido
WHY DO PEOPLE RENT?

I just don't understand why people rent? Unless you are starting out or starting over I don't understand why people don't invest in real estate. Once it's paid off you can't be evicted as long as you pay your property taxes.

Especially at his age?

Clue me in please?
14 posted on 03/11/2003 11:51:10 AM PST by TSgt (“If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself.” - General George S. Patton)
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To: Jimmyclyde
Economic downturns suck. What are you gonna do? It's the nature of economics. All good news all the time is fantasyland.
15 posted on 03/11/2003 11:51:26 AM PST by dead
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To: KC_for_Freedom
this guy has to be a dim bulb if he spends his time with a sign on the street.
16 posted on 03/11/2003 11:51:52 AM PST by RolandBurnam
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To: Jimmyclyde
Where in the article does it say he had or did not have a retirement fund ... you assume to much
17 posted on 03/11/2003 11:51:55 AM PST by clamper1797 (Credo Quia Absurdum)
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To: Jimmyclyde
I cannot stand these fraudulent stories. As if this country were freakin Pompeii......how about selling real estate, how about working for a temp agency(their is a shortage of claim people out there), etc, etc.

This dude sat on his arse too long collecting his mediocre pay and forgot how to work.
18 posted on 03/11/2003 11:52:48 AM PST by matthew_the_brain
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To: KC_for_Freedom
I don't understand why there is no sympathy for this man on this thread. Can't any of you put yourselves in his place? I read about him in the Wall Street Journal last week and I really felt for him and his wife. So he was making $65,000 per year? He was also raising three children to adulthood and that probably took most of his earnings. The one thing I didn't understand was the $2,000 per month rent. I wondered why they didn't own a home. The main thing brought home to me by the article in the WSF is the age bigotry that exists. It actually begins when people are in their 40's and gets progressively worse. Now that STINKS.
19 posted on 03/11/2003 11:53:47 AM PST by vikingcelt
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To: Jimmyclyde
If he is 62 years old and was making $65 thousand a year before he was laid off and can't afford to retire, he has lived his life as an irresponsible idiot. He will just have to learn something that he should have learned and practiced a long time ago: Live within his means.



20 posted on 03/11/2003 11:54:12 AM PST by F.J. Mitchell (Improve New York City-turn the UN site into a toxic waste dump.)
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To: Larry Lucido
Lots of good apartments in the Detroit suburbs for $500 to $800 a month.

Lots of nice homes for less than $100,000.

I can't understand how anybody (who is in "risk management" yet) would not have bought a home 30 years ago. They would have owned it free and clear by now.

21 posted on 03/11/2003 11:54:43 AM PST by Alouette
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To: Jimmyclyde
Oh, no--not this sob story again! (There was a thread last week).

Hey, Mister, get a job, get a life, send the old lady out to work.

Many of us have been there, done that. We didn't alert the media.
22 posted on 03/11/2003 11:55:03 AM PST by Palladin (Proud to be a FReeper!)
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To: MikeWUSAF
Everything about this article is a lie. I'd be surprised if the guy even exists.

Ah yes, and welcome to Boston liberal columnists.
23 posted on 03/11/2003 11:55:44 AM PST by JohnGalt
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To: LS
Add J. C. Penney. And Bucky Fuller. And Grandma Moses.
24 posted on 03/11/2003 11:55:48 AM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts: Proofs establish links)
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To: Jimmyclyde
The job market is worse than it has ever been.
25 posted on 03/11/2003 11:56:05 AM PST by Nov3
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To: clamper1797
After nine months out of work and having lost most of MY life savings inluding a "safe" 401K in the three stock market crashes, I am back to work at a job which pays about $40,000 less than I used to make. I AM one of the fortunate.

It has however left me with this attitude ...

Though I would normally would not wish evil on anyone .. there are some out here NEED a little taste of the current economic situation

26 posted on 03/11/2003 11:57:46 AM PST by clamper1797 (Credo Quia Absurdum)
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To: clamper1797
Or it's called ...lost my hard earned responsibly saved retirement money (401K) in the stock market crashes

Someone who's been investing in a balanced portfolio over the last 10 years or longer will still be substantially ahead. Sounds to me like this guy had very little savings in the first place.

27 posted on 03/11/2003 11:59:19 AM PST by ThinkDifferent
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To: JohnGalt
Margery Eagan is among the worst writers in the USA. She hates America, the Catholic church and everything else

28 posted on 03/11/2003 11:59:45 AM PST by JIM O
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To: Jimmyclyde
Why the barf alert? The only thing I see wrong here is he seems to think politicans can solve the problem though he admits the current crop doesn't have solutions. But then most Americans today don't see how government has caused the problems.

Other than that there are plenty of people in his postition or worse. It is very difficult for white collar folks to get a job if they are middle age, at his age it is impossible. This is not unusual. I know chemists and engineers, etc who are now stocking shelves in Kmart because they can not get work in their field, even for a big cut from the old salary. Around where I live many older folks have had to sell their homes and leave their communties where they spent their entire lives because they have been taxed out of the area. That's not leftist propaganda, that is how life is for some folks.

29 posted on 03/11/2003 11:59:51 AM PST by u-89
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To: vikingcelt
>>I don't understand why there is no sympathy for this man on this thread

There is some, its the the juveniles on the thread the somehow make themselves feel better by spitting on those down on their luck...sounds to me like the guy worked his whole life, and now finds him out of work probably for the first time in 45-50 years and doesn't have enough put aside to retire at 62...what a slouch...a true parasite on society...

Most of the smart-ass attitudes on this thread are just one layoff notice from a complete attitude adjustment.
30 posted on 03/11/2003 12:03:11 PM PST by freeper12
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To: Nov3
Says who?
31 posted on 03/11/2003 12:04:43 PM PST by jayef
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To: Jimmyclyde
He is unemployed by choice.

He is too lazy to do anything but sit in an office where he can no longer function.

32 posted on 03/11/2003 12:05:19 PM PST by bert (Don't Panic !)
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To: Semper Paratus
Middle management is supposed to be a rung in the ladder on the way to the top. It is a very uncomfortable place to find yourself when a company is cutting back.
33 posted on 03/11/2003 12:05:49 PM PST by RobRoy
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To: Jimmyclyde
Not enough to pay their $2,000 monthly rent and $1,200 health insurance,<.I>

DUH.

Try cheaper housing, to begin with. Maybe in New Hampshire or near Worcester.

In Oklahoma, you can buy a house for 20 000.

34 posted on 03/11/2003 12:05:50 PM PST by LadyDoc (liberals only love politically correct poor people)
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To: F.J. Mitchell
That is correct!! notice , he stillll.. wants an insurance
management job! and cannot figure out why people do not
want to hire him! They were going to help their daughter adopt? only in America, you can remain a duffuss your
whole life- and then complain at 62 that life is not treating you right.
35 posted on 03/11/2003 12:05:56 PM PST by mj1234
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To: ThinkDifferent
I invested in a "top of the line" portfolio for 20+ years ... guess what ..........
36 posted on 03/11/2003 12:05:58 PM PST by clamper1797 (Credo Quia Absurdum)
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To: Jimmyclyde
"Not enough to pay their $2,000 monthly rent and $1,200 health insurance, never mind food or heat or gas."

This sounds like BS to me.
37 posted on 03/11/2003 12:06:16 PM PST by babygene (Viable after 87 trimesters)
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To: freeper12
Most of the smart-ass attitudes on this thread are just one layoff notice from a complete attitude adjustment.

AMEN !!!!!

38 posted on 03/11/2003 12:07:19 PM PST by clamper1797 (Credo Quia Absurdum)
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To: RightWhale; LS
And Harlan Sanders. Franchised a fried chicken recipe after he was 65 years old.
39 posted on 03/11/2003 12:07:25 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: Alouette
>>I can't understand how anybody (who is in "risk management" yet) would not have bought a home 30 years ago.<

Lost mine in a divorce. Actually, pretty much lost everything. I am starting over. This time I'm on the fast track though!
40 posted on 03/11/2003 12:07:45 PM PST by RobRoy
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To: vikingcelt
Age bigotry in hiring, is not the problem here-going through life with one's head up their anus is.
41 posted on 03/11/2003 12:07:47 PM PST by F.J. Mitchell (Improve New York City-turn the UN site into a toxic waste dump.)
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To: Jimmyclyde
$2000 bucks a month rent??? On a 65K salary that is a tad upscale.
42 posted on 03/11/2003 12:08:09 PM PST by cynicom
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To: Jimmyclyde
The guy is SOL! The worst discrimination in the country is against applicants over age 50 and even the federal government does it. With Microsoft, it's age 35. This guy has millions of folks in the same boat. Most, however, of that age purchased homes and his paying rent here, just doesn't ring true.

This is where you start an eBay business operating out of the back bedroom.

43 posted on 03/11/2003 12:08:23 PM PST by Tacis
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To: MikeWUSAF
North Easton is a pricey town. Probably can't buy anything with only 65k a year. I don't know how he lived in that area when he was working. 65k is peanuts. I'd bet property taxes are at least twenty bucks or more per thousand with an average little house being over a quarter mil. So just RE taxes would be 5 grand.

I don't know how or why anyone still lives in MA.

44 posted on 03/11/2003 12:11:22 PM PST by the gillman@blacklagoon.com (UN delende est!)
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To: Larry Lucido
Frank Loydd Wright was "finished" every 20 years or so. Yet every time he went on to top all his previous achievements. His last great project was the art museum in New York, if memory serves me. I believe He was in his 80's or 90's at that time.

I'm 49 and plan on changing carreers soon, just to keep things interesting.

45 posted on 03/11/2003 12:11:30 PM PST by RobRoy
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To: Tacis
Most, however, of that age purchased homes and his paying rent here, just doesn't ring true

Hard to make a mortgage without a pay check. Don't make that payment ... foreclosure and voila ... you're a renter. I will grant that $2,000 a month is a bit steep BUT it depends on where he lives. You can't touch a single room apt in Silicon Valley for much less than that.

46 posted on 03/11/2003 12:12:01 PM PST by clamper1797 (Credo Quia Absurdum)
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To: clamper1797
Actually, I have enough savings to pay my bills for 2 years. I work in one of the most competitive and downtrodden sectors of the economy and have never had difficulty finding work. I pray and give thanks to my God every day for what I have and I pray that others do not suffer. If I'm due for an attitude adjustment, it won't be because of a layoff.
47 posted on 03/11/2003 12:13:43 PM PST by jayef
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To: freeper12
one layoff notice from a complete attitude adjustment

Even 6 months worth of salary savings can run out. Making car payments and paying rent and maybe other financial commitments is a style of living wealthy while being merely affluent. Affluent means there is income to cover expenditure at a high rate. Doesn't mean there is any wealth at all. When the income stops, the affluence stops. It's cardboard bungalow village next. Maybe a room in an old Buick if you're lucky.

48 posted on 03/11/2003 12:14:37 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts: Proofs establish links)
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To: Tacis
This is where you start an eBay business operating out of the back bedroom.

Amen! Started mine last year and was able to make the down payment on my new house within 6 months. Hope to go full-time with it in the next year or so.
49 posted on 03/11/2003 12:14:50 PM PST by GodBlessRonaldReagan (where is Count Petofi when we need him most?)
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To: clamper1797
Why would anyone who is unemployed need to live in Silicon Valley?
50 posted on 03/11/2003 12:15:30 PM PST by jayef
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