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Old 06-10-2012, 03:07 PM   #21
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Altogether now, doesn't she really suck? How could anyone be so feckless? Isn't she morally bankrupt?
So, is she a sheet-burner or not?

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Old 06-10-2012, 03:08 PM   #22
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I think we as a society have lost our capacity to be compassionate toward those who have made "bad decisions" (defined as ones we don't agree with all too often). Just because I may think someone made poor decisions doesn't mean I think they "deserve" the fate they have. I sense society coming down more and more on the "they don't deserve our help or sympathy" side of the fence about more and more things.

Having said that, there's something to be said for "fool me twice, shame on me" if they are unable to learn from past mistakes.
I think maybe you are right about this. On the other hand, maybe there has always been a "law of the jungle" out there. All this sort of thinking plays out in our national politics. Come to think of it, this really plays out on the international stage too.

Here is an alternate hypothesis, we read these stories and look for things that we might have done differently. It may be we do this because (1) this stuff is scary and we feel threatened, (2) we don't want to feel vulnerable ourselves, (3) we don't want to feel like we owe the victim anything because it might take away from our self-esteem, or (4) it reminds us of unpleasant things in ourselves.

I'm sure I've turned a few people off just by saying this stuff. But what fun would life be if I were too tactful.
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:55 PM   #23
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Maybe we have grown cynical because we have read so much, or (in my case) encountered a real-life-case or two, of the people who game and bilk the social safety nets [e.g. having kids to get welfare and free medical, while the latest baby daddy lives free rent in the Section 8 house], at the expense of those who have no greater advantages, yet work hard and play by the rules.

I didn't get the sense (from just this short article) that this lady ever fell into the abuse-safety-net camp.

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I think we as a society have lost our capacity to be compassionate toward those who have made "bad decisions" (defined as ones we don't agree with all too often). Just because I may think someone made poor decisions doesn't mean I think they "deserve" the fate they have. I sense society coming down more and more on the "they don't deserve our help or sympathy" side of the fence about more and more things.

Having said that, there's something to be said for "fool me twice, shame on me" if they are unable to learn from past mistakes.
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:39 PM   #24
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I think we as a society have lost our capacity to be compassionate toward those who have made "bad decisions" (defined as ones we don't agree with all too often). Just because I may think someone made poor decisions doesn't mean I think they "deserve" the fate they have. I sense society coming down more and more on the "they don't deserve our help or sympathy" side of the fence about more and more things.

Having said that, there's something to be said for "fool me twice, shame on me" if they are unable to learn from past mistakes.
I am not particularly sympathetic towards her and we all should expect to suffer the consequences of our "bad decisions." I know I have repeatedly. Does she "deserve" her fate? Absolutely, she does deserve her fate but she can also change her fate. She may still do that.

My opinion and comments would be entirely different if she was disabled. She appears to be able-bodied and of reasonable intelligence.

So, given her current condition what do we do for her? She has a place to stay and is apparently eating regularly compliments of the SS system. She is not without creature comforts but they may not come up to her desires. There are a lot of people I'll help before her.

Do we guarantee all the retirement of their dreams without their planning and commitment to achieving them? Do we assure a paid position of their liking to everyone that wants one? Do they get to pick their "compensation?"
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:41 PM   #25
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I should probably say that my post above was a lame attempt at sarcasm. As others have pointed out, we have no idea what good or bad decisions, good or bad behaviors, or good or bad luck might be in this woman's past.

IMO we can refrain from getting too involved in the plights of unfortunate people, while still holding a basically compassionate outlook toward them.

Ha
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:48 PM   #26
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So, given her current condition what do we do for her? She has a place to stay and is apparently eating regularly compliments of the SS system. She is not without creature comforts but they may not come up to her desires. There are a lot of people I'll help before her.

Do we guarantee all the retirement of their dreams without their planning and commitment to achieving them? Do we assure a paid position of their liking to everyone that wants one? Do they get to pick their "compensation?"
Note that I never said that society should go "all in" to bail people out of their mistakes, especially with the number of people suffering it's not something we could really afford even if we were so inclined. I'm just saying that these days I see more people acting like they could never make the same kind of mistakes that others have made, and thus have no empathy whatsoever.

Having empathy doesn't mean draining your own wallet to prop them up. But a little human compassion is still not a bad thing. I don't think "piling on" to the unfortunate fate of others makes us a better society.
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:45 PM   #27
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As some of you said here, we can always turn things around with better choices.

She is rying to do just that.
http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view...file_name_link
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:48 PM   #28
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We can always turn things around with better choices.
She is doing just that.
http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view...file_name_link
Apparently this link does not work if you are not a LinkedIN customer.
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:32 PM   #29
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Apparently this link does not work if you are not a LinkedIN customer.
And after they just had six million accounts compromised, I'm not sure how many want to sign up now...
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:32 PM   #30
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I do feel sorry for her and what I suspect are insufficiently prepared choices she made. But I do not think that her plight is deserving of rescue or some special tax payer funded assistance. I think she is going to be forced to make hard choices to live within her limited means.
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:35 PM   #31
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I can empathize with the woman in the article as I'm British too and have worked in the US since the age of 25. Thankfully I'm working, but I'm not really enjoying my job and I've been looking for something new for a couple of years.....I'm 50 and have a PhD in physics and lots of experience in program management at NASA and on DOD contracts. The only thing I've been offered in that time is a contract job with zero benefits. The fact that I've received so little interest makes me think that the US economy is really in trouble.....or maybe I need a new deodorant.

But I'm in a pretty good situation as I have savings, own my house and take $1200/month in rent from a downstairs apartment and was sensible enough to pay into the UK social security system as well as the US so i will get SS from two countries at 66. But I'm seriously considering moving back to the UK because my money will go farther and I have contacts with a couple of companies who actually want to employ me.

The woman in the article should consider moving back to the UK. She wouldn't have to worry about paying for health insurance, would get more support and would still get paid her US SS. I also bet that her experience in the US might be attractive to many UK employers.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:32 PM   #32
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Even now, her budget apparently includes cellphone and satellite TV.
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I think we as a society have lost our capacity to be compassionate toward those who have made "bad decisions" (defined as ones we don't agree with all too often). Just because I may think someone made poor decisions doesn't mean I think they "deserve" the fate they have. I sense society coming down more and more on the "they don't deserve our help or sympathy" side of the fence about more and more things.
Having said that, there's something to be said for "fool me twice, shame on me" if they are unable to learn from past mistakes.
Paying $100/month on credit card debt implies a balance of what, $10K? I wonder how much faster that'd be paid down by cancelling the cell phone and the satellite TV.

But maybe the cell phone is her only phone line and part of her job search.

The NYT seems to be more voyeuristic than problem-solving on this one.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:52 PM   #33
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. . . But a little human compassion is still not a bad thing. I don't think "piling on" to the unfortunate fate of others makes us a better society.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

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Old 06-10-2012, 08:08 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by ziggy29
I think we as a society have lost our capacity to be compassionate toward those who have made "bad decisions" (defined as ones we don't agree with all too often). Just because I may think someone made poor decisions doesn't mean I think they "deserve" the fate they have. I sense society coming down more and more on the "they don't deserve our help or sympathy" side of the fence about more and more things.

Having said that, there's something to be said for "fool me twice, shame on me" if they are unable to learn from past mistakes.
I kind of split my opinion in 2 ways. I definitely have sympathy for her current plight and it makes me reflect on how fortunate I have been in the jobs I got hired for that someone else may have been just as qualified but fate went with me. However, no sympathy on refusing to slash expenses immediately and assuming the worst when first let go. As people have posted, it seems like people don't make changes in their budgets until its too late. If I was still in at an age where I needed to accumulate assets for retirement, I guard those monies until there was absolutely no option, and I am including working at fast food.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:35 PM   #35
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I do feel sorry for her and what I suspect are insufficiently prepared choices she made. But I do not think that her plight is deserving of rescue or some special tax payer funded assistance. I think she is going to be forced to make hard choices to live within her limited means.
+1

She made a number of poor choices that contributed to getting herself into this mess.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:59 PM   #36
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This story and the one about the homeless "divorcee" are really not fair to the people that are featured--I imagine the editor or writer gets this great idea for a story that proves something, and go out to find someone willing or naive enough to be featured in it. There are a lot of unanswered questions that might explain some things or make the subject more or less sympathetic, but if the answers don't align with the story's goal, the questions don't get asked. The stories are probably not very objective, and I wonder how happy the subjects are with how they are portrayed.

I hope there's some payback for this woman (and the homeless "divorcee" in the other thread) that results in a job--that's the only reason I can imagine for them letting their stories be told.

And I agree with the above poster who feel there but for the grace of God go I.
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:56 PM   #37
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It is a recurring spending pattern that I see. It is the result of thinking I could never retire on just XXXX per month and subsequently many will spend their last 100K maintaining a lifestyle that is going to end anyway. 100 thousand dollars with a withdrawal rate of 4% would have given her a 33% increase in her retirement income, equaling a 4 year deferral of social security. Even just 30K is a 10% increase in income.

I don't know how it is possible but people need to wake up to if you don't have much in savings YOU REALLY CANNOT AFFORD TO SPEND IT.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:22 PM   #38
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No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne
Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1624)
I love Donne.

The tenor of this thread reminds me that America has a very Old Testament sort of Christianity, for me I would not hold any of her previous actions against the lady in the article. Surely charity should not be judgmental and should be freely given. Being a methodist and socialist by upbringing I think society should provide for people who are having difficulties just out of concern for our fellow man.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:32 AM   #39
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Quite a few harsh and judgmental comments here on this thread. I sympathize with this woman. I am in the "compassion" camp, as we don't know much of about her except that she has not made the best financial decisons in the past. Does it mean that she sucks or she is a fool ? No.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:11 AM   #40
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I admire the women for being brave enough to go public about her plight. She is living in a trailer with a broken window covered with a tarp as she cannot afford the repair. Her story is a warning for others.
Continuing on with an overly optimistic expectation that "things will turn around" and a job similar in pay to the job lost will be offered.
It is just not that kind of economy anymore, and I agree with 2B, take ANYTHING. I would have accepted the 8 hour a week concierge job and looked for available work the other 6 days (waitress, clerk, whatever...I've done both in earlier years). My uncle retired and picked apples with the migrant workers at a local farm. He didn't have to financially, but he was a fit retiree (teacher) and wanted to be productive. He said he enjoyed it.
The reason I would have taken the concierge job is it looks better fills a gap in the resume, and part-time work often becomes full-time, or other opportunities avail themselves once you're employed and networking in a business.
Too often the phrase "can't find a job" is missing the comment "within my criteria". the other jobs available would not be as glamorous as chauffering a movie star, but they would postpone early SS drawdown. The article said the woman gave up her job search after dismissing the concierge opportuniity and now collects SS, that at a reduced amount.
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