A reader writes:
I'm a technical writer, 58 years old. I was laid off December 31 from a tech writing contract because the startup I worked at couldn't afford me anymore. Though I can outwork and outthink and outperform most people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, the hiring people won't know that, and won't take a chance on me.
I may never work in a real job again, I realize, if the economy doesn't come back relatively quickly.
I'm getting unemployment for the first time ever in my 37 years of working. I still have the teeny-tiny feeling that unemployment is welfare (though I know it's not).
Fortunately, my condo is paid off, my car is paid off, I have no cell-phone plan, no cable TV, no expensive health-care problems, no credit-card debt (no debt of any kind). I've always lived below my means and have been financially conservative all my life. And since I expected some kind of crisis before the Bush years were over, I invested most of my retirement money in Treasuries, so I still have about 95% of my retirement money.
I realize I'm better off than most laid-off baby-boomers. But still, if things don't improve soon, I'll have to start dipping into my retirement money in February 2010, long before I had planned to.