Hello; my name is Paul Hanlin, Not only was July 28 my 7th year of continuous unemployment, I am a mere quarter of a year from bankruptcy. This is my story.
I was employed by Pennsylvania Lumbermens Insurance company in 1981 and had a career there until July 2010. The company was going through the worst underwriting period, loss-wise, in its history that February. A purge of the department soon followed in which those with the most amount of experience were either let go by PLM or moved on (jumping before they were pushed). After all, the one thing you need to do to stem the bleeding of heavy financial losses is to cut the expense ratio. I plowed on with my work, thinking my loyalty to the company would overcome anything. It didn’t, and I was laid off in July 2010. I didn’t take it too well, as most people who worked their adult lifetime at a place only to be treated in such a way.
At that time, I had $115,000 in life savings at my bank, a $36,000 401k, almost $9,000 in life insurance dividends and 2 certificates of deposit equaling $17,000. I exhausted my unemployment, and embarked on sending out almost 1,100 copies of my resume which yielded exactly less than 10 face to face job interviews. I tried applying for other jobs; technical writer, bank teller, mortgage underwriters, and I’ve been turned down enough times without comment to the point where I now think my former employer is actively, still, trying to engage in blackballing me from earning a living. Thing is, I can’t prove that. All of that financial firewall I had is gone now.
It has come to the point where I am about to go under $2,000 in life savings and if I don’t get an injection of income from somewhere, I will lose my house and be homeless. I can’t allow that to happen. I need to appeal to the better nature of friends and strangers alike, knowing that I will not be able to repay any money I acquire via this GoFundMe campaign. It tears me apart to go down this road, but what else can I do? I can’t just let all the life savings run out.
On the GoFundMe page itself is a breakdown of why I need the $50,000 I’m shooting for. It will last me until the calendar end of 2017, and hopefully I will have found a job by then. I already have two strikes against me; I’m 54 and I never went to college because I didn’t want to be in debt for half my adult life. I know I still have a lot to offer an insurance company in Philadelphia and its immediate suburbs. But I also know that at this time, employers look at my resume and determine that my adult life-long experience as a commercial lines underwriting assistant doesn’t matter to them. I don’t know how to convince them otherwise.
The reason I am asking for 50,000 is broken down accordingly, and should last me until the end of next year, at which point I hopefully will be employed somewhere, somehow. These are estimated annual bills for 2017:
Medical insurance bill: $11,000
Gas bill: $990
Electric bill: $1000
Galaxy 7 bill $1400
FIOS TV bill: $2130
House tax appraisal $500
Home insurance $425
Auto insurance $1100
Life insurance (June 2017) $450
Other expenses (food, unexpected emergencies, gas) $30,500
That does not include the fees GFM itself takes off the top once the goal is achieved before I receive a cent of proceeds (roughly 10%).
I dread and am devastated that I have to go this route. But I’ve got no choice if I can’t even get in the door of employers who refuse to give me even the courtesy of a person to person interview. What’s worse? I have osteo-arthritic knees and a wrenched back. I’ve always been a commercial lines underwriting assistant. And if this fails, then I will be homeless. But if this goal is achieved, I will be forever in your debt. You will have saved an ordinary guy who has had almost 3/5ths of a decade of terrible luck. You will have sent me a lifeline for me to remain in the house I came home to after I was born 54 years ago. And the best thing that you will give me? Time. Time to turn things around.
Worse, I’ve been rejected for Pennsylvania cash assistance (welfare) as well as personal line of credit and personal loan from my bank. I sent three letters to the United Way of SE Pennsylvania asking for help and there was no reply. I can’t apply for a personal loan or a line of credit because I don’t have any job. I sent tweets to the Salvation Army and councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez for guidance and assistance. Neither has replied.
I feel most toxic right now. No one wants to employ me. Even the Platform to Employment that was featured on 60 Minutes a few years ago, which had a Philadelphia branch open up 2 years back, has no plans to have a second endeavor here. I hope and I ask for your help in getting me back on my feet until I can get a job. I am out of options. There is nothing left for me to do but pray that the kindness of others can sustain me.
Thank you for listening.