Last night and tonight I watched a repeat of the Richard Dreyfuss (playing Bernie) and Blythe Danner (playing his wife) two-part show. I am somewhat obsessed with this story as it really hits home about the security I feel about my nest egg. So hard to imagine its being gone.
At the time Madoff was exposed, I read a piece in Huffington Post from a woman who had lost all her money and she reminded me so much of myself, right down to having worked in the magazine publishing business. What struck me is that some highers up at Conde Nast "got her into" Bernie's funds because they liked her and thought they were doing her this big favor. She was so pleased that she had the same investment person as Si Newhouse, etc.
Well, that struck home because years ago, in my 20s, I needed a tax accountant for the first time and I was introduced to an accounting firm which specialized in working with people in publishing and advertising and I felt so good that I was using the same accountant as the bigwigs at the company I was working.
I remember at the time also calling my investment firm and asking straight out "how do I know you're not like Bernie Madoff?" and the company had this presentation ready, including the fact that there is insurance for the first $500,000 and after that the company bought "private insurance" for the rest. It's really not much of a reassuring thing... I remember thinking well, now what? Ask them to send me the insurance papers so I can see for myself? And those papers could easily be forged. I didn't really seriously believe that this firm was like Bernie, but then I'd think well, neither did the people scammed by him.
Two Sundays ago, I saw a woman on Oprah's Sunday show who had lost all her money with Madoff and she called her best friend who told her "Nothing of value has been lost." Hint: Don't say that to me. I get it that I would still be alive and kicking and even this woman said she said to her friend, "This is not the time to be spiritual" -- too early.
And now of course she thinks it was a great thing that happened to her, and I thought "Yeah, if you have a best-selling book and are on Oprah and have recouped most of your money." But most people weren't that lucky. And yes, I believe luck plays a big part there.