Alexandra Penney, one-time Self magazine editor-in-chief, found her worse nightmare came true in late 2008 when she was a victim of disgraced financier Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Penney, who had for a long time lived with a seemingly irrational fear of becoming a destitute bag lady, now found herself almost entirely without money. Based on her popular blog posts on The Daily Beast, her memoir, The Bag Lady Papers, details her experiences as a "Person of Reduced Circumstances" who was cheated out of her life savings.

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