Your Money ;
; She’s not living in her car anymore.
; He’s getting by on part-time jobs and Social Security.
; She’s unemployed but going for an MBA.
It’s been three years since Barbara Harvey turned in for the night in her Honda SUV, wedged between her golden retrievers and a
pile of blankets in a barren parking lot in Santa Barbara, Calif. She’d lost her income, then her home,
in the real estate crash that plunged the nation into
a deep recession.
Harvey, now 70, no longer lives in her
vehicle. She shares a tiny apartment, and
a bed, with her 22-year-old daughter, Victoria. Her work as a notary public for the
real estate industry is slowly returning,
providing a fairly steady paycheck for the
first time in years.
“It’s helped enormously to have some income coming in,” says Harvey, whose dogs
still sleep in her Honda each night. “I’m
being careful with whatever cash I have.”
For Harvey and tens of thousands of
Americans nearing retirement, the recession that walloped the nation in December
2007 has permanently altered their lives.
Many lost their jobs, their savings, their
homes or a chunk of their net worth that
they may never regain.
As December marks the fourth anniversary of the downturn,
the AARP Bulletin caught
up with a dozen workers
it had interviewed over
the years to find out how
they’ve managed. Several,
including Harvey, Steve
Stanislowsky and Veronica
McGill, pictured at right, are doing margin-
ally better but continue to struggle.
had to do on the threshold of retirement.”
Since the downturn hit, the unemployment rate for older adults has more than
doubled (from 3. 2 percent in December
2007 to 7 percent this October). Currently,
more than 2 million people 55-plus are out
of work. But it is the length of time they
have stayed that way (if they didn’t just
give up) that is astonishing—53 weeks as
Those who finally landed a job were
among the most fortunate.