Retired Madoff Victim Returns To Work
|February 24, 2009||Posted by Roshawn Watson under Uncategorized||
What can you do if you lose everything? This is a question that unfortunately many Madoff victims are being forced to answer. There is understandably a mixture of outrage, bitterness, self-pity amongst those who have been financially-violated by this scandal. Nonetheless, there is one story that distinguishes itself from the rest because of one man’s extraordinary resolve to succeed in the midst of his financial tragedy.
His name is Ian Thiermann.
He is 90-years old and previously ran a tree preservation and pest control business before retiring 25 years ago. He never thought that he would be forced to go back to work to make ends meet. He took a job at a local grocery store, working 30 hours a week for $10 an hour. He lost his entire life savings in the Maddoff scandal, and his story can be viewed in the video below.
He really is an inspiration
After watching the video, I too echo the sentiments of his boss: he is an inspiration to others going through difficult financial times. He has an undying will to succeed. Undoubtedly, there was a period where he had to come to grips with the reality that his financial foundation had been yanked from underneath him; however, rather than wasting time feeling sorry for himself, he is persevering.
Dangers of Debt
This story highlights the dangers of debt. Sadly, 25 years after retirement he still has home payments and his wife’s medical bills to pay. Like many other retirees, debt represents a major expenditure and can threaten one’s financial well-being and self-sufficiency. Debt is the primary reason that elderly individuals make up the fastest growing group filing for bankruptcy. Of course Thiermann’s extenuating circumstances caused the bulk of this mess, yet his story would likely be very different if debt was not in the picture. Remember, debt equals risks.
Also, His story also exemplifies why it is important to diversify asset classes and types of investments. Diversification decreases risks and is a great strategy to build long-term wealth because it generally protects your portfolio from huge fluctuations. This is especially important when particular investments go completely awry (i.e. funds invested with Bernard Madoff). Currently, several asset classes are down, but most know they will rise again, eventually. Diversifying your types of investments (i.e. real estate, stocks, bonds) is also a good idea.
My heart goes out to all of the Madoff victims. Although initially the Madoff victims have been painted as elitist, it is now known that there are many Ian Thiermanns (regular people who invested their life’s savings) in the bunch. Perhaps their collective resolve to thrive during adversity can serve as a symbol for us all that we all can rise above difficult financial storms.
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Copyright 2012, Roshawn Watson, Pharm.D., Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.