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Old 11-16-2014, 12:33 AM   #21
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Reminds me of a painting showing a toothless old cowboy, looking like he's been rode hard and put away wet too many times, smiling and saying, " If'n I'd have known I was gonna live so long, I'd have taken better care of myself."


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Old 11-16-2014, 02:38 AM   #22
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Anyway, what use is 6 dozen eggs to a single man?
Costco sells eggs in 18 packs and by my reckoning, that is a nutritious breakfast for 9 days at 30 cents per day.

I was left with mixed feelings reading the article. He certainly isn't poor by most measures and rich by some. Although he professes to accept his role in making his bed, there is an undertone there that gives me the feeling that he doesn't really believe it.
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Old 11-16-2014, 06:55 AM   #23
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I liked it. He is a talented writer and does a good job describing the drudgery of borderline life. It doesn't matter if he put himself in the position. True, there are plenty of LBYMers who have intentionally and knowingly organized a rewarding life with similar finances. But when they reach their 80s and catch a bad toss of the health dice they may find themselves in similar straights - bad teeth and a crashed hard drive and no money to deal with either. At that point they (we) too may face some of the drudgery he reports. His broader point is that the problems of old age and little money are also the problems of many of the younger working poor and most of us don't feel their pain.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:08 AM   #24
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I liked it. He is a talented writer and does a good job describing the drudgery of borderline life. It doesn't matter if he put himself in the position. True, there are plenty of LBYMers who have intentionally and knowingly organized a rewarding life with similar finances. But when they reach their 80s and catch a bad toss of the health dice they may find themselves in similar straights - bad teeth and a crashed hard drive and no money to deal with either. At that point they (we) too may face some of the drudgery he reports. His broader point is that the problems of old age and little money are also the problems of many of the younger working poor and most of us don't feel their pain.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:13 AM   #25
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What a great writer. I know I write well but I've never tried to make a living at it because I read work like this and know I'm not in that league and never will be.


This should be required reading for the "carpe diem" types who figure that all they'll need is SS and they'll start saving for retirement when they're "old"- like, age 50.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:23 AM   #26
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The guy's writing doesn't appeal to me - so it doesn't surprise me he couldn't make it as a freelance writer.

Sounds like he "followed his dreams" and had some great experiences in his 50's - more than he would have w*rking - so that was a great "reward" - and he gambled stable work for it - his choice - we just can't tell if it was a good choice.

We have no idea whether or not he was prepared for ER at 53 - he rambles about inflation, dilution of pension, escalation of medical costs, etc - but I didn't see anything about his savings/401K at retirement. We have no idea what % is pension was of his spending rate.

Maybe the intent of the article wasn't facts - instead the plight of the working poor - which is important - but I don't want read about it through his "upper crust" New Yorker Magazine style prose....
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:50 AM   #27
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I usually (okay, almost always) have a cynical reaction to these kinds of stories but I do feel a little for this man for some reason. As always there are things missing from the article--just what is his income, sort of a big one.

I think I would retitle it "Why I Am Not Rich." He is not in the situation of the other men he mentions, the one begging on the corner and the addict in dire straits that he helped get Medicaid. He is a gifted writer and won a Pulitzer at the Post on his own merits, not as part of a group. He probably had contacts in publishing many writers would kill for. And his income, whatever it is, is probably equal to or more than lots of 81-year-olds.

He also probably never "retired" in his mind until he was broke: he says "As the last leave rolled on, the Post suggested I come back to work or, alternatively, the company would allow me to take an early retirement. I was fifty-three at the time. I chose retirement because I was under the illusion—perhaps delusion is the more accurate word—that I could make a living as a writer...." Making a living as a writer is not the same as being retired imho, and he did continue to make a living as a writer. He explored and wrote about eastern Europe after the fall if the Wall, for example.
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:54 AM   #28
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Agree that I really miss some numbers here. Guess it goes with our personalities.

Also, giving others control of your investment account and the authority to use margin
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:48 AM   #29
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I think that he proved that you can be extremely articulate and a little nuts at the same time.
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:30 AM   #30
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Also, giving others control of your investment account and the authority to use margin
He should have hired me. I could have done better. I've seen people around me who are reckless with their money, and wealth. I've seen the opposite who have money/wealth and can't let go of it for any worthy cause or even to spend it on themselves. I don't know which is worse.
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:34 AM   #31
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If you are living on someone else, as he is, you really ought to go where you don't necessarily want to go.

My brother was once approached in Vegas by a hooker he figured was 70 if a day. Still, there are some things a self respecting person might want to think hard about. Like shopping in Costco. That may be beyond the pale. Anyway, what use is 6 dozen eggs to a single man?

Ha

Good grief! You can buy as little as two dozen eggs at Costco. And if one has money problems, eggs make an excellent, low cost food. The cholesterol nonsense has been debunked.
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:49 AM   #32
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Good grief! You can buy as little as two dozen eggs at Costco. And if one has money problems, eggs make an excellent, low cost food. The cholesterol nonsense has been debunked.
Very true! These free range eggs for yesterday's satisfying breakfast cost me about 30 cents each, the total cost of the meal was about $2, and I had no need of lunch.
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:51 AM   #33
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I happen to have a close relative in a similar situation. She's 70 years old, her income is around $15K a year, and she has almost nothing in savings. This is the result of a lifetime of bad financial decisions. Yet, despite the temptation for self-righteous finger-wagging, I take no pleasure to see her get socially isolated because she can't afford hearing aids or to see her suffer needlessly because she can't afford to go to the dentist. At some point, why she is in this situation is not really important anymore. What I can do to help her age with dignity is what matters.
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Old 11-16-2014, 11:56 AM   #34
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I think Ha's comment was partly tongue in cheek. But eggs do last pretty long in the fridge and can also be scrambled and frozen in make ahead breakfast burritos or scrambled in a breakfast hash with diced potatoes and onions, which I can buy for 20 cents a pound each.

Anyway I guess this gets back to the whole personality type and some being good with numbers and some not, maybe creative types more often on the not side, with some moving into the financially self destructive zone.
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:16 PM   #35
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The guy's writing doesn't appeal to me - so it doesn't surprise me he couldn't make it as a freelance writer.

...
Clearly.
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McPherson's first novel, Testing the Current, was published in 1984 to wide acclaim. Russell Banks wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "William McPherson's first novel is an extraordinarily intelligent, powerful and, I believe, permanent contribution to the literature of family, childhood and memory."[4] The New York Times named Testing the Current one of 1984's "Notable Books of the Year."[5] McPherson's second novel, To the Sargasso Sea, explores the adult life of the first novel's child protagonist.[6] New York Review Books Classics republished Testing the Current in January, 2013.[7]
McPherson moved to Romania shortly after the execution of communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu and spent most of the next seven years exploring and writing about Romania for Granta, the Wilson Quarterly, the Washington Post, and Slate. McPherson has also contributed to The New Republic, The Nation, The New Yorker, the International Herald Tribune, and Life, among other periodicals.
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:27 PM   #36
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Articles on the best credits cards for people with poor credit scores and pay day loans probably pay more these days, with no travel costs.
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:41 PM   #37
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Clearly.
I read about his two novels and actually thought they might appeal to many here.
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:53 PM   #38
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I have testing the current on hold now.
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:08 PM   #39
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Reading his story, it certainly gave me the impression he felt he deserved various lifestyle actions, even if his finances didn't agree.
That is why he is in trouble now, at tax-payer expense.
I have 2 relatives, both of whom inherited some $$$ , a small amount of 50K-150K, both over 4-6 yrs, blew this extra money on things, stuff they would not have bought had they not had this extra $$$, none of it necessary, and some extremely wasteful.
The most wasteful thing I know of is traveling to another city to go drinking at bars.
This behavior of spend-now, and hope something will turn up in the future is a real problem for some.
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Old 11-16-2014, 02:48 PM   #40
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He as sharp as a tack to have written what he did ... I think there are many who would pay a fortune to have that at his age.

At some age it's more about health than money.
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