{My Story} True satisfaction is priceless…

FOF Judy Resnick was 40 years old, “close to broke and with no way of making a living.” In her 50s, she’s turned her life around and became a financial advisor, helping other women, including her own daughter manage their lives and money. Read her inspiring story.

[Editor’s note: The essay below, by FOF Judy Resnick is part of a series of personal blogs from our readers. Have your own story to tell? Email your idea to sara@faboverfifty.com.]

A recent photo of Judy and her grandchildren.

Across the country, fathers walk away from their families, taking with them the standard of living their wives and kids used to know. The choices for those who have been abandoned?

Sometimes the wife–who gets paid 70% of what her husband would have earned in that same job–can support her family.

If there are no resources, the family can get modest assistance from the government. Or the grandparents can step up, using money saved for retirement.

I’m that grandparent.

My younger daughter–married, with three school-aged children–has long had a debilitating, incapacitating disease. One night, while she was in the hospital, her husband walked out the door and into another woman’s apartment. What he left behind, in addition to his family: a car that was ready to be repossessed and a house on which he owed three months rent. Unsurprisingly, he lost his job and hasn’t worked again.

What would you do?

Exactly: I helped my daughter find great doctors and moved her and her brood–the kids, the dogs and the cat–in with me. Just to make it a real zoo, I added some chickens. And now, I’m the financial rock that holds these lives together.

My daughter’s experience has seared me and changed me. In the ’90s, I focused on helping women, but I was happy to invest for men as well. That’s still true, but now I’m obsessed with helping women who are undergoing a major life change–like me.

Perhaps it’s all because, I myself, went through major life changes. Like a lot of women of my generation, I was raised to be a wife and mother. That worked for me until I realized my husband was a jerk and I divorced him, until my father–who spoiled and indulged me–died and left us only gambling debts, until my mother and sister were killed in a plane crash. So there I was, 40 years old, close to broke, with two children, and no way of making a living.

Fortunately, I was a natural as a financial adviser and broker. And as soon as I’d solved my own money problems, I turned my attention to helping other women become financially independent. Invest? Isn’t that…gambling? Not compared to betting everything you’ve got on one man!

Today, I’m back raising kids at 70.

Of all my changes, this is the biggest: I didn’t expect to be raising kids at this age. But watching the kids flourish in their new life is a satisfaction without price.

Enter to win Judy’s book, I’m On My Own and So Are You by answering this question in the comments below: What is your biggest financial worry or regret?

One FOF will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes April 17th, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.


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29 Responses to “{My Story} True satisfaction is priceless…”

  1. Sandi Bothum says:

    I am a 51 year old women who realized long ago that her husband was a verbally and emotionally abusive jerk. I’ve stuck around long enough to pay my daughter’s way through college. I was determined that she never feel stuck in a bad marriage because she was afraid that she couldn’t support her children alone. My daughter will graduate Magna Cum Laude next month. I am so very proud of her!

    I told my husband over a year ago that I will leave once she graduates. But I am worried about being able to support myself. I have a decent job, but no savings or retirement accounts. And in this economy, that is a big worry. I have no family that would be able to help me if I get in a bind. Since I was married at a very young age, at 51 years old, for the first time in my life…. I’m On My Own.

    I would love to have this book as a guideline as I begin this next chapter in my life.

  2. Sandra Davis says:

    My biggest worry is that my husband of 31 years is a diabetic. I am concerned that some day he will have real medical issues and be unable to support us. I also worry about health insurance if he does lose his job since he is the primary bread winner and our insurance is through his work.

  3. Terri B'Hymer says:

    Watching my mother foot the bills to keep my Alzheimer’s-afflicted father in a wander-proof care facility, I’m wondering how I would fare (emotionally and financially) if my husband needed long-term care.

  4. Ita Luehrsen says:

    My biggest financial worry? I’ll never be able to stop working. My divorce, back taxes, and all kinds of other debt leave me living paycheck to paycheck– in spite of working two jobs. My regret? Not paying closer attention…..

  5. Cynt says:

    I am currently working only part time while looking for full time job,at 56 years of age.I have gone through my savings,and currently trying to get my home refinanced.I was making great money b-4 the recession ,about 5 years ago ,then lost my job.I have had to make serious adjustments in my life regarding my finances.I need this book to help get me back on track.

  6. Denice Lewis says:


    My name is Denice, 52 years old and I have gone from earning insane amounts of money in the 80’s and early 90’s as a fashion model to become disabled with a cacophony of medical issues and now live on disability benefits of less than 900 dollars a month. I am trying to reinvent my career as a fine artist which is just about the only thing I can do given my list of conditions. Sadly when I was earning money before I had no one to teach me anything about saving and investing and intelligent money management. As well, I was very generous to family, friends, and charitable organizations as I was foolish enough to believe the work would never stop. I have two concerns. One is if my art business actually does take off and I make money I want to know how to keep it and have it work for me. The other is that if it doesn’t I would like as much information as I can access to see what other opportunities I may have before I become too old and sick to do anything about it as I am single with no children to help. My parents are deceased and I don’t have close relationships with my immediate family. I would very much like to read your book and learn from it. Thanks so much for the opportunity to try to win it in your contest. Have a beautiful and blessed day!

  7. Mary says:

    Getting married young(21) and not finishing college.

  8. Allyson says:

    I regret that I didn’t start investing in my company’s 401K when I began working in my 20’s. It would have been a sacrifice given the salary I was making at the time, but it would have put me so much farther ahead instead of me now playing catch up with my retirement savings.

  9. Noncents says:

    My biggest regret is giving into the pressure from my parents to get married. They were tired of helping me, and I was tired of begging from them. I was a single mom, going to school, and the car broke down. I couldn’t make it to classes on time with the bus route running hours after some of my classes, so I threw my hands up, and married a guy just to keep from struggling. Biggest mistake of my life! I am still paying for it and we have been divorced for over 10 years. I eventually did go back to school and did it on my own. I keep telling women that they don’t NEED a man, but no one listens. Unfortunately, everyone has to fight their own battles and learn their own lessons. I now have Fibromyalgia and am lucky enough at this time to have plenty of sick and vacation days. This is a new battle, but I am working two jobs and making it on my own.

  10. tracy_callaway@yahoo.com says:

    My biggest financial regret is that I lived for today and didn’t think that tomorrow would come. Tomorrow showed up yesterday. I need help Today. Tracy

  11. yyoerger says:

    Biggest worry is retirement. I’ve worked hard and saved all my life but as the mutual fund crash showed a few years ago, it could be wiped out in a few weeks. Likewise Social Security I’ve paid into all my life by signing of a single law. I believe in helping those who truly can’t help themselves — not an entitlement society, but people should be able to have confidence that what they’ve earned for themselves can not taken away by government, by a bank crash, or a catastrophic illness. Savings could be wiped clean by a car accident not even your fault, or a tornado, fire, etc.

  12. Barb says:

    Too much debt and not enough savings for retirement.

  13. Jennifer Rubick says:

    I am 51 years old and

  14. Paula says:

    My biggest regret is that my husband and I invested in a small commercial property just before the Great Recession. We were unable to lease or sell it, couldn’t make the mortgage payments, lost the building and went bankrupt. We prospered before the recession. Now, we struggle to make ends meet and miss those earlier days. Retire at age 67? Not likely!

  15. susan miller says:

    I will be turning a young 70 in 2 weeks and I am still working. I so want to stay home and kee4p house, walk the dogs, cook great meals again and just enjoy life again!! Please do not get me wrong I have a wonderful job, husband, 2 sons and 3 fantastic grandchildren but I feel I am missing so much of lifes precious moments. Im tried to get my hubby to save and work longer but he had other ideas so i keep working for insurance and to help my sons if needed. I work for a manager who is a young(32) African-American and who has differant ideas on the work ethics then I was taught but we do get along great. I have almost quit at times but with our present government leaders I feel Social Security and health care are in a mess so I get very nervous when approaching retirement thoughts. Luckly I work where age is not a issue but I do crave my life back as I imagined it would be at 70. Susan

  16. Kathy says:

    My biggest worry is how I’ll take care of myself as I age. My husband is sick and won’t be able to work much longer. I regret that I haven’t understood how to make wiser financial decisions.

  17. Laura says:

    I am 47 years old and in a similar situation as your daughter. I have chronic illnesses and although I get maintenance it won’t last forever. I am worried about being able to take care of myself. I can’t sleep nights thinking about it. You think it’s in sickness and in health but some spouses can’t deal with the illness part. I’m really scared.

  18. Marcia says:

    A wise woman once said,”when you are young you need looks, when you are middle aged you need a personality, when you are old you need money”. I flunked the last part …help.

  19. Elaine Campbell says:

    I regret allowing myself to get into so much charge card debt. Such a shame. I should have only bought what I could afford.

  20. Carol Berman says:

    My biggest regret is that I assumed that my parents, or my husband, or someone would take care of me financially. I assumed that everyone would know more than I did. I gave up taking control over my finances and now I deeply regret it. I can’t wait to read this book.

  21. Stephanie says:

    I have always helped others and now I need to help myself.

  22. Mel Roper says:

    Such a huge concern for all of us! I hope none of us have to face the situation but to have the knowledge in case would be fabulous.

  23. Martha says:

    I am in my late 50’s and dont know much about finance. My husband never included me even in paying bills – (he thought I couldnt manage) now I am on the verge of a divorce and have no idea what and how to handle the little money I have saved – secretly – only enough for maybe 2 months. Help me please!

  24. Melonie Pittman says:

    Riggest financial worry / regret? I never went to college. I never had the selfesteem to take the plunge and go to college. Today, at 50 I look back and realize this was the biggest mistake of my life.

  25. Brenda says:

    My husband takes care of all our financial matters. I have no desire or want to do it. My biggest worry is that something will happen to him and I won’t be able to handle the investment end.

  26. Tutubug says:

    My Biggest worry is that i won’t even have enough to bury myself and it will all fall on my son’s shoulders..Ialready am living on disability..check to check.

  27. GretchenH says:

    I am about to start over on my own. Still want to be home as much as possible with the kids when they are not in school but need to earn a living too. I won’t be starting out with much money available. Frightening but I will find a way.

  28. evans s says:

    My biggest worry is what will happen to our family finances if my husband cannot work or is laid off.

  29. Pam Bonfiglio says:

    I am a 66 year old whose youngest son is severly Autistic and has a seizure disorder….both my husband and I will have to work well into the next decade at least to help him and eventually find a place that he can live without us….we are always strapped because of medical bills and our 22 year old daughter is still on our insurance and needs help from us as well. My grandchildren are only 13 months and three months at this point…..so really could use this book!!


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