Madoff Victim: How I Plan To Move On

The latest in an emerging literature of “How Bernie Madoff screwed me and what I plan to do now” comes from artist, author and former editor Alexandra Penney writing in the Daily Beast:

Last Thursday at around 5 p.m., I had just checked on a rising cheese soufflé in my oven when my best friend called.

Heard Madoff’s been arrested,” she said. “I hope it’s a rumour. Doesn’t he handle most of your money?”

Indeed, he did. More than a decade ago, when I was in my late 40s, I handed over my life savings to Madoff’s firm. It was money I’d been tucking away since I was 16-years-old, when I began working summers in Lord & Taylor, earning about $65 a week. Not a penny was inherited. Not one cent was from my divorce. I earned all of it myself, through a long string of jobs that included working as a cashier at Rosedale fish market in New York City in my twenties, and later, writing bestselling sex books.

When I hung up with my friend, I turned on the TV, and began to scour Google for news until the message became nauseatingly clear: 40 years of savings—the money I’d counted on to take me comfortably through the next 30 years—had likely evaporated in Madoff’s scheme.

THAT MOTHERFUCKER!! The soufflé fell.

I called Dennis, my consort of 16 years, and he canceled the dinner guests. I took half of a very strong tranquilizer that I’d been stashing for years in case of a death in the family.

So what’s next:

How will I make money?

The art market, as everyone pretty much knows, is dead. If I can’t sell my work, I am going to have to find some way to make money.

I’ve lived a great and interesting life. I love beautiful things: high thread count sheets, old china, watches, jewelry, Hermes purses and Louboutin shoes. I like expensive French milled soap, good wines and white truffles. I have given extravagant gifts like diamond earrings. I traveled a lot. In this last year, I’ve been Laos, Cambodia, India, Russia, and Berlin for my first solo art show. Will I ever be able to explore exotic places again?

Since this happened last Thursday, I have barely left my apartment, I haven’t been out for dinner; haven’t bought groceries. Can’t remember the last time I ate a full meal. Food, which is one of my most favourite things in the world, has become meaningless. But I look on that as an upside.

Yesterday, I took my first subway in 30 years. Dennis came with me to show me how to get a MetroCard. The world looks very different from a crowded Lexington Avenue number 6 train. Read the whole thing >

See Also:
How I Got Screwed By Bernie Madoff

 

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.