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FRONTLINE: close to home | PBS
Old 10-29-2009, 05:49 AM   #1
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FRONTLINE: close to home | PBS

Frontline documentaries are well done - latest one on on recession is interesting - details a lot of "couldn't happen to me" situations were folks have been whacked by the economy.

I don't know how typical / representative the examples are - but pretty scary.

FRONTLINE: close to home | PBS
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Old 10-29-2009, 09:18 AM   #2
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I felt bad for the human resource manager that got cut. He seemed like a very respectable person and somebody I would admire as a boss. The lesson the show taught me is, I better have my ducks in a row before age 50. Age descrimination is very real. Seems like when we get older, companines don't want to continue paying higher wages and increased medical insurance costs. This hit close to home when a 50 year old supervisor friend got layed off. It caught him completely off guard.
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Old 10-29-2009, 09:18 AM   #3
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OK, some of the people in the video are a little lame, like the guy paying for his theology degree with his master card, and the couple that had the coffee shop paying all their bills with a credit card (and still using it to get massages and hair cuts!).

However, the 55 year old laid off construction manager was pretty damn sad to watch. He really does not know what the heck to do after being out of work for 8 months and after depleting all his savings. I would be freaking out, and probably not know what to do either if I was in his shoes.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:34 PM   #4
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Many sad tales for sure, but as I watched it, I kept thinking (I've been there before) that the importance of an emergency fund of a year or two, rather than the suggested 6 months, should be the new metric.

When I lost jobs in the past, I had a workable plan. When I finally found w*rk, the first thing that I did was to build up my emergency fund to twice it's previous size while it was still fresh on my mind.

LBYM and planning for the worst should always have priority after life's basics are taken care of.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:38 PM   #5
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Bet this 5 minutes of fame will save most of these guys (was an info-mercial for the HR guy). Be curious to see a follow-up 2 or 3 months down the road.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:49 PM   #6
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LBYM and planning for the worst should always have priority after life's basics are taken care of.
So true. DW and I are currently rebuilding our emergency fund after willingly dropping below our safety level to purchase a retirement beach house. My goal is to have a minimum of 2 years expenses in available cash to avoid becoming a statistic.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:04 PM   #7
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Pissed me off so much(getting layed off) in 1992 at age 49 - well I just ER'd.



heh heh heh - More complicated than that but you get the general idea.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:49 PM   #8
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That's why I want to be financially independent by the age of 50. I cannot imagine how it feels it have 20-30 years experience in a field and be told you have become irrelevant. Screw that. Actually, I have heard that people now reach the peak of their careers in their early 40's on average, so we are working hard to reach financial independence by the age of 45 and a decent amount of financial independence by the age of 40 so that we could weather a multi-year long bout of unemployment without damaging our finances long term.
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:41 PM   #9
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I cannot imagine how it feels it have 20-30 years experience in a field and be told you have become irrelevant.
Or as we used to say the old timers had 30 years seniority and 10 years of experiance.
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:43 PM   #10
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That's why I want to be financially independent by the age of 50. I cannot imagine how it feels it have 20-30 years experience in a field and be told you have become irrelevant. Screw that. Actually, I have heard that people now reach the peak of their careers in their early 40's on average, so we are working hard to reach financial independence by the age of 45 and a decent amount of financial independence by the age of 40 so that we could weather a multi-year long bout of unemployment without damaging our finances long term.
We live in a cliff economy. We start our careers at the bottom, and gradually work our way up to higher pay, but then when we least expect it, we step over the cliff and hit rock bottom. That is the way our society is structured.

I feel that I need to work every single angle to do what is in the best interest of me and screw the corporations. That is why I have absolutely no shame is hitting my creditors to which I owe $120K with Chapter 7 while walking away with my exempt assets. If a corporation determined it could do something similar to me, it would.
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:47 PM   #11
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Many sad tales for sure, but as I watched it, I kept thinking (I've been there before) that the importance of an emergency fund of a year or two, rather than the suggested 6 months, should be the new metric.
I totally agree with Mickey. We need 2 years of emergency fund. Many people are still unemployed after a year, some after 1+1/2 years. 6-8 months seems too short anymore.
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:56 PM   #12
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There were many things I thought of while watching this. I thought of the time I lived in SF and got caught in a bank merger and laid off. I moved to a place I could afford to live. I had a emergency fund. I knew what it took to live.

So there is no construction in New York, go to Texas, there certainly a bunch of people doing that. Get yourself a Flowby and do your own hair!

How about the lady that said 'I don't regret buying the Beemer if I didn't I would not have had to it sell and live off of'. Now there is a saver!
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:59 PM   #13
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Maybe it's just me, but I had to skip a lot of the show by fast-forwarding. Couldn't watch the whole segment on the HR guy. He sounded too whiny for my taste (complaining on and on about every company wanted a different style resume and he had to redo his resume each time, he hadto call them for a follow-up and all that takes a lot of time etc, etc), but maybe he was oozing with confidence when he first started looking for a job. He talked like someone who felt totally defeated. As a matter of fact, many of them sounded depressed and miserable. but I guess unplanned unemployment for a prolonged period of time does that to people.

I really felt for the dancer turning carpenter guy who lost his house and wife at the same time... He looked bewildered - I cannot even begin to imagine what he was going through.

Do you remember this guy who was supposedly weathly but then had some financial fallout and then a stroke? (He was renting a room from the hair dresser's sister in Florida). Maybe I pay for Long Term Disability insurance through work (I think it was like $30 every 2 weeks....) starting next year.. Does anybody have that? If I had something major like that, I would be ruined financially, for sure.
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:12 PM   #14
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...Couldn't watch the whole segment on the HR guy. He sounded too whiny for my taste (complaining on and on about every company wanted a different style resume and he had to redo his resume each time, he hadto call them for a follow-up and all that takes a lot of time etc, etc)....
Imagine that, looking for w*rk is w*rk! Shocker!

Pretty elegant hair salon for people concerned about money; why not get it cut in Chinatown? What’s with the gal who came in to get a blow dry because she’s going out, gimme a break. Dad always said, “never do business at a place with an awning.” Now I get it, he was giving LBYM advice, or was it to keep me away from [edited out] people who think their college degrees will continue to give them immunity. Best piece of advice comes from the Catholic Church which apparently doesn’t take in priests who owe $80,000.

From Frontline’s comment section, didn’t we have a thread about this guy:

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... if the clients were that bad off they'd ask a friend to cut their hair for free. that's what's goin on close to this home.
bo Oct 29, 2009 01:15
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:18 PM   #15
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The lesson the show taught me is, I better have my ducks in a row before age 50. Age descrimination is very real. Seems like when we get older, companines don't want to continue paying higher wages and increased medical insurance costs.
Absolutely. It's technically illegal to discriminate on the basis of age (between the ages of 40 and 70, I believe), but it is so hard to prove and there are plenty of ways around it.

What I'm thinking of a lot more is: if I lose my current j*b before I'm ready to FIRE, what do I do? I sort of want a career change and I won't need even half of my current salary (especially with my better half now employed and with full benefits available to her). There's a tendency to want to find something where I'm my own boss, in a manner of speaking, working my own hours based on how much money I'm motivated to pull in. But I don't really know what that would be, though I have a few ideas that are still nebulous.
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:19 PM   #16
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hey, DW has been cutting my hair since FIRE. Wouldn't let her touch it when I was in mega corp ... but if the only place I am going is a rental, golf course or ski resort - here's the scissors .... cut away!
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:37 PM   #17
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hey, DW has been cutting my hair since FIRE. Wouldn't let her touch it when I was in mega corp ... but if the only place I am going is a rental, golf course or ski resort - here's the scissors .... cut away!
I'm still w*rking but I've been trimming my hair myself between barber visits - originally to save time - but it also saves money.

It isn't "rocket science" - looks great - I can't believe the number of hair places around me all charging $20-25+ for a stinking hair cut.
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:40 PM   #18
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hey, DW has been cutting my hair since FIRE.
Yeah. As I said, once a year... whether I need it or not.
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:23 PM   #19
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I think the "peak earning years" concept is quickly becoming obsolete. You know, the given that one makes a bunch of money from their mid 40's to late 50's. Any more, the likelihood of going through a major lay off period or hitting widespread age discrimination just as you are entering your "peak earning years" is as likely a scenario these days as anything. So, even more reason to save and accumulate like mad before you hit the peak earni.... I mean lay off years. Probably a bit pessimistic, but I do think a permanent trend is in place.
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:26 PM   #20
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I wasn't kidding about the Flowbee! I have used one for about 10 years maybe more. It's even getting faster as my hair is disappearing anyway.
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