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Kristine DiGiovanni - Golden years turned to lead
Kristine DiGiovanni - Golden years turned to lead
Mike and Kristine DiGiovanni
Substitute teacher, 59
Tampa, Fla.

My husband and I come from blue-collar backgrounds and have worked hard to provide a good life for our 3 daughters. Now they are all out of the house, and we should be looking forward to retirement and enjoying life.

But in the past 18 months, my husband has lost his job, I've been unable to find full-time employment, and the two homes we own have lost nearly a third of their value. We haven't been able to sell either of them, even at hugely reduced prices.

So much for financing our retirement. We're eating up our savings to pay monthly living expenses (thank God we had some), and starting to dip into our retirement funds.

I have a Master's Degree in Business and recently became certified as a teacher in Elementary Ed K-6 and English 6-12. I've been unable to get a job teaching because I have little experience, and being over 50, no one in the business world will give me the time of day.

My husband has encountered the same issues. He can't find a job making even a third of what he was earning, because at 50 , he is seen as too old for the computer industry where he has worked all his life. We are at the lowest financially, emotionally, and spiritually that we've ever been in our lives. We feel like failures after all our hard work.

Where did we go wrong? We trusted in the economy, and in our own strong work ethic, but it was all for nothing. Now we may lose one of our homes - the other is paid for, thankfully, and we will probably have to work until we die. Two years ago, we were on top of the world. Now we are struggling to get through each day.

NEXT: Joseph Finelli - Life's pretty good

Last updated August 28 2008: 4:39 PM ET
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