Monday, July 31, 2006

Quit your job and live off the equity

From the NY Times:

Men Not Working, and Not Wanting Just Any Job

Alan Beggerow has stopped looking for work. Laid off as a steelworker at 48, he taught math for a while at a community college. But when that ended, he could not find a job that, in his view, was neither demeaning nor underpaid.

So instead of heading to work, Mr. Beggerow, now 53, fills his days with diversions: playing the piano, reading histories and biographies, writing unpublished Western potboilers in the Louis L’Amour style — all activities once relegated to spare time. He often stays up late and sleeps until 11 a.m.

“I have come to realize that my free time is worth a lot to me,” he said. To make ends meet, he has tapped the equity in his home through a $30,000 second mortgage, and he is drawing down the family’s savings, at the rate of $7,500 a year. About $60,000 is left. His wife’s income helps them scrape by. “If things really get tight,” Mr. Beggerow said, “I might have to take a low-wage job, but I don’t want to do that.”
...
“To be honest, I’m kind of looking for the home run,” said Christopher Priga, who is 54 and has not had steady work since he lost a job with a six-figure income as an electrical engineer at Xerox in 2002. “There’s no point in hitting for base hits,” he explained. “I’ve been down the road where I did all the things I was supposed to do, and the end result of that is nil.”

Instead, Mr. Priga supports himself by borrowing against the rising value of his Los Angeles home. Other men fall back on wives or family members.

27 Comments:

Blogger grim said...

What happened to the sense of pride and dignity that accompanied accomplishment? The shame associated with carrying debt?

7/31/2006 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No shame today.

Everyone is entitled to riches. This next economic contraction should punish many with this attitude.

Babababa

Bob

7/31/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grim.. . how depressing is that?

Be a net contributor or take your free loading "hippie-nonsense" somewhere else, my Depression-Era Dad would say.

About the blogging. When the time is right - maybe morph this into the new financial responsibility topic that people will be needing.

Warn them and then fix them? Are they redeemable?

Pat

7/31/2006 08:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in a service job in people's houses; I have two clients that are guys that are unemployed and have been for over a year. Every time I arrive they are watching tv or playing a video game (I myself love the video games), but still pay me a crazy amount to do the chore I am hired to do. They have nannies and lawn people, and a cleaning crew. I would start getting depressed at this point and just take a job to get out of the house.

They don't seem worried about the money tho! I keep saving my money thinking that sooner or later people will start doing their chores themselves.

7/31/2006 08:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or live off your trust fund at least for a majority of 20 somethign manhattanites downtown.

You see them on weekdays wearing shorts & flip flops, walking dogs, carrying shopping bags or hanging out at starbucks showing off $3,000 laptop computers.

And they have this inflated sense of entitlement because of their posessions. But they are the ones buying many of the condos going up downtown with parents who make mortgage payments.

7/31/2006 08:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember as I have said here and other site. 'Work' or a 'Real Job' was never & is never part of the equation on MTV or Sex in the City.

Just freeloading, going to parties, spending $3,000 on clothes every month, and having daddy or trust fund pay for it.

7/31/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Mr. Oliver said...

I read this on the train this morning. Unreal.

7/31/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger traineeinvestor said...

And these are the same people who will no doubt go whining to the press and the politicians about how they need handouts and how the "rich" (read people working) should be taxed more to pay for it.

If reality does not conform to the fantasy, it must be ignored.

7/31/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Beggerow, now 53, fills his days with diversions: playing the piano, reading histories and biographies, writing unpublished Western potboilers in the Louis L’Amour style — all activities once relegated to spare time. He often stays up late and sleeps until 11 a.m.
I notice he's not cleaning house, food shopping, or doing the laundry. Does his wife have to do that, too? I'd have no respect for those men if I were (unfortunately) married to one of them. Ugh.

7/31/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least he's not underfoot in the morning while she's trying to get the work done. He should stay in bed until noon, so she can do the chores at a more leisurely pace..not have to rush to get everything done before he wakes up at 11.

Pat

7/31/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more I think about it, the more I like the following idea being discussed here at work.

Anyone who goes under financially during the next five years, due to overextending AND using the home for a Mac machine, should have a choice. Either go through the standard available legal process, or obtain some level of redemption by donating 500 hours to Habitat for Humanity. Would Mr. Beggerow get off his *ss to build a house for poor kids?

Too communist?

http://www.buckscountymidweek.com/

7/31/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last comment fr

Pat

7/31/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

these guys are shameless and
just lazy. in a dream world.

7/31/2006 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know the feeling, the NYC area is pretty fscking harsh on folks doing 'cost center' jobs. If you're lucky, they move to another state. If not, they move to India or China.

I spent about 1.25 years since 9/11 unemployed, and another year as a 'consultant' with no benefits. I saw the writing on the wall most clearly after 9/11, when a lot of disaster-recovery sites kicked in and folks realized that a lot of the stuff I do can be done in areas with $15-20/sqft rents and $0.08/kwh utility costs. It's all a matter of time. I'm just glad I got the fsck out of NYC and have been able to cut my costs significantly.

7/31/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

Aren't they in the least bit embarrassed to be featured in a piece like this?

grim

7/31/2006 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grim,
Of course they're not embarrassed! They're soooooo smart. The rest of us must be lacking their intelligence not to be sleeping until 11 AM and playing video games.

Pat,
Good point. At least he's not underfoot, though the poor wife can't vacuum until she gets home from work.

D
*wink*

7/31/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger DL said...

What stunned me about this piece is the total lack of embarrassment these guys have. There is no shame in losing a job, however it is mind boggling that they feel entitled to the same level or better job.

The longer someone stays out of the job market, the less likely he is to get back into it. Who is going to hire someone with a 2 to 3 year gap on their resume.

7/31/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this article was about women of the same age who were supported by their husbands, would it have raised as many eyebrows? If the men want to stay at home, while the wives are earning the money, it should be their and their wives' decision and not anybody else's to mock. If the men come later back to the job market, they probably will find a job, but make less money in it - so what? Life shouldn't be a rat race about money. I do think, however, that living from home equity or not doing the housework while wife is working IS BAD and neither financially sound nor fair to their wives.

7/31/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

{{If the men come later back to the job market, they probably will find a job, but make less money in it - so what? }}

Either they will need to lie on their resume or will be in some low wage position making less than $100,000 a year.

Don't glamourize this. It is the height of responsibility and repugnant for an adult.

There comes a time in life where it is time to stop living the life of a college student, MTV & Reality TV. Those people don't work and get everything handed to them.

7/31/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3:31, I'm looking at these men as people who quit or lost jobs, and are not at home to care for the home, raise the children, or otherwise contribute. They are simple blobs. I didn't hear one guy mention clipping even one coupon to contribute to the house.

I would say the same about a women goofing off like these guys are.

Pat

7/31/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger lindsey said...

There's so many tragic factors about modern America at play in this story that it boggles the mind.

From one direction I look at these guys and think they are really wreckless, no-account lazy good-for-nothings.

When I try and get in their heads, I have to ask myself if maybe we have really devalued work (both in terms of pay and dignity) so much it doesn't make sense to do it.

I think there's some truth to both, but they're still lazy slobs.

BTW, I don't think these guys are taking their cues from MTV and Friends/Seinfeld

7/31/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another anonymos wrote:
> Either they will need to lie on their resume or will be in some low wage position making less than $100,000 a year.

How terrible, less than 100k. I thought more of 30-40k, which I consider still a living wage.

> Don't glamourize this. It is the height of responsibility and repugnant for an adult.

Why should I have glamorized this? It is the decision of husband and wife, and I don't find it repugnant at all, when they decide that they don't have to have both full-time jobs anymore, assuming that their decision is financially sound, too.

> There comes a time in life where it is time to stop living the life of a college student, MTV & Reality TV. Those people don't work and get everything handed to them.

There comes a time in life when you think about your priorities and what you want to do with the rest of your years. People looking back on their life hardly express regret that they haven't worked more hours.

Regards,

Peter

7/31/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, remember folks, these are the same people who dodged the draft, went to Canada or Mexico, and spat in my face when I came back from Vietnam. These were the same people who gave me the finger when I walked off the plane. They are just pieces of shit. I have seen alot of death and destruction in my life, so I know a piece of shit when I see it.

SAS

7/31/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot even say how disgusted I am by that kind of attitude. It is one thing to stay home and take care of the home, care for the children, a sick parent, etc. But to sit home and do nothing because one feels entitled is beyond words for me. How about taking an online class to get some training so they are stronger candidates for a job? MH lost a job had had for 9 years over 2 years ago. It wasn't fantastic money but it was steady work. Since then, he's bounced around to terribly demeaning jobs, hating them but knowing the importance of bringing home a check. Put on top of that a wife that makes more then twice what he does. Does he let his ego get in the way? No. He does what he has to and I couldn't be more proud of him. Show me one of these lazy bastards who would do what they have to in order to make ends meet and I'll buy their house. :)

7/31/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. 54-year old had six figure income. I would think he has been employed in a similar position for a long time.

Basically, he should already have a house (no mortgage) and >$1M in 401k/IRA/R-IRAs and in taxable retirement accounts and a generous emergency fund. If he does not have such, there has been something wrong in his life.

Mayhe he has been buying those $300 jeans and $3 Starbucks coffees.

7/31/2006 10:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldnt care less what this POS does w his own money. What I do care about is if he expects me to support him later in life after he has pissed it all away. The boomer mentality.

7/31/2006 10:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if there is one thing these kind of people do well, it is vote. They surely vote for politicians who promise to give your money to them. (See african-americans voting for dems..all those nice housing projects and crack houses paid by taxpayers..it is a pact).

There is nothing you can do (well, if you move from NJ you may avoid NJ taxes but federal tax hikes are still there).

7/31/2006 11:05:00 PM  

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