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Recession Survivors: Where Are They Now?

7 older Americans make a comeback — but barely

Geoff Hibner lost his  job when his company was bought out

— Photo by Joshua Kessler

Geoff Hibner, 62, Neenah, Wis.

  • Holding out for the old salary
  • Three years into a job search, executive remains hopeful

Geoff Hibner, 62, lost his job as a chief financial officer when his company was acquired by a larger firm in Wisconsin about three years ago. He's been job hunting ever since. But unlike other job seekers willing to take cuts in pay and stature, Hibner is holding out for a position that's comparable to his last job.

"I haven't found a lot of opportunities for a person of my background, or I should say I haven't found the right opportunity," he says.

Hibner worked for six months starting in late 2009 as a consultant for a company, hoping it would lead to a permanent position. It didn't.

Though Hibner says he's taken "a terrible beating in the stock market," his lifelong practice of living below his means has enabled him to stash away enough money to live comfortably. He is not yet taking Social Security, and because he's too young for Medicare, he's paying a high price for health care coverage, $877 a month. He says he's living off rental income and dividend income.

"We're much more careful with the money we spend," he says.

Hibner says he hasn't given up looking for work. "Sixty is the new 50," he says. "I can work easily for another 10 years or more."

Bonnie, 58, Santa Barbara, Calif

  • 'I've never given up'
  • California woman finds work

Life has gotten decidedly better over the last few years for 58-year-old Bonnie, who didn't want her last name published. She's no longer sleeping in the back seat of her Jeep, as she did for a stretch in 2008 after losing two expensive homes to foreclosure. She continues to work as a real estate agent, keeping her past hidden from her clients. She also works part time as a hospice nurse.

"I've had a hard time but I've never given up," says Bonnie, a grandmother. "I'm coming back up. I'm renting a place, my credit is getting better and I'm saving more. I'm thankful I've come this far and hope for a better future."

Next: Patsy Parker, retires and lives on a lot less. >>

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