U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-30-2016, 01:37 PM
 
6,223 posts, read 4,718,283 times
Reputation: 12740

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffD View Post
... Where I'm going with this is that half the world survives just fine on $10,000 per year. Someone in the United States who is "barely making it" has a huge pile of discretionary income. They choose to spend it rather than save it. They hit age 65 with no savings and it's somehow blamed on some politician.
OMG! Unbelievable. When did you try to get by on $10000/year? In most places in the country you cannot pay rent or even share an apartment for that amount. Discretionary income out of $10000/year? Sure if you live off the land in shack in the Ozarks and forgo healthcare and just shoot deer without a hunting license.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-30-2016, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,324,391 times
Reputation: 13779
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
Millions of Americans are struggling to get by. We cannot blame them all for bad choices and self indulgence, even if is makes us feel better.
I really don't see this article as being representative of the millions of older Americans who are struggling financially at all. These are really examples of people who determined that they were going to travel around the country by RV when they retired even though they didn't have the income to allow them to do that. So, yeah, I think they made bad, self-indulgent choices ... many of them, and that they continue to make them. Sorry, but RVs are not cheap to own or operate or even park in a campground. Reality says that you can't survive indefinitely indulging your champagne tastes when you only have a beer budget.

The Retirement Forum on C-D is full of threads/posts from seniors living modestly on modest incomes of about what the people in the article have -- or less. Those posters are much more representative of the millions of Americans who are surviving retirement on modest means than are the people in the article. Many of them also got slapped upside the head by the Fickle Finger of Fate in their lives, sometimes more than once. Many only have SS and survive because they have managed to get into subsidized housing or have a paid off house, get food stamps, and/or qualify for other assistance. These are people I have sympathy for. These are people who I admire for making the best they can out of what little they have. These are people for whom I would be willing to be taxed more in order to provide them with more services because I have more than enough for me all ready.

I'm not willing to sacrifice so that some people can maintain a life-style far above their means ... and mine. I've already looked into purchasing an RV and traveling around the country. I don't think it's financially prudent ... and my retirement income will be considerably more than the folks' in the article ... because I don't want to be "RV poor". I will just travel around the country in my trusty Subi Forester and sleep in motels, cabins, cottages, etc. when I'm not staying with friends and relatives.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-30-2016, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
21,159 posts, read 11,761,610 times
Reputation: 32142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelassie View Post
Not to mention her choices. Interesting that she chose to spend $100 to attend an art event rather than on the dental work she needed. Later in the article they mention her being blindsided by emergency dental work she needed to the tune of $13,000. Don't know if this was before or after her choice to forego the dental work for the art show, but in her shoes I'd sure take care of my health needs first and look for events I could attend for free.

I don't know, just from reading the article, I get the impression she is where she is today because of choices she has made throughout her life. Obviously the article is written for the purpose of engaging the readers' sympathy for these folks plights. But I see a lot of choice, perhaps at least some self-indulgence in lieu of practicality which got them where they are today, and it's hard for me to feel too sorry for them.
Yeah, unfortunately it did not make me feel terribly sympathetic, it just made me think that her financial situation is a result of one bad choice after another.

I don't like that our country seems to be fine with a 79 year old who has to travel the country trying to pick up one odd job after another, but I also think that she didn't take any responsibility for not being in that situation, based on the examples they gave. I would have to give very, very serious thought as to whether I could afford $100 for a treat, and I consider myself financially stable. But as I tell my son, that means we have enough money for everything we need and for some of what we want. There are many things we want that we skip because it's not in the budget. This woman seems to think that her wants matter more than her needs, and she's fine with racking up $50,000 in credit card debt to meet her wants. I could never sleep at night with that much credit card debt and I can't imagine how on earth some credit card company would increase her limit - good money after bad because that 50K is never going to be paid even if they are making short term money collecting interest payments from her.

The other stories weren't quite as frustrating although they were less detailed, but who knows. There are things that I think society is responsible for - such as the recurring theme of not being able to afford healthcare. Universal healthcare - whether it's single payer or not, should be something that our country provides to its citizens and it's shameful that we don't. But these stories were not about people whose situations were due to overwhelming medical expenses.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-30-2016, 02:37 PM
 
806 posts, read 1,266,913 times
Reputation: 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
OMG! Unbelievable. When did you try to get by on $10000/year? In most places in the country you cannot pay rent or even share an apartment for that amount. Discretionary income out of $10000/year? Sure if you live off the land in shack in the Ozarks and forgo healthcare and just shoot deer without a hunting license.
I read the article yesterday and it was just really sad. I think it's all just poor choices that they made...the husband redoing the fireplace and expanding the closet for his wife only to fall behind on the payments and lose the house. I see this all the time from people I know. Loaded with debt, yet they go skiing, vacation in Hawaii, remodel the house...

I help a gentleman from time to time who lives off on less than $1000/month. Yep. Social security earnings. A senior on $900+/month in LA. He lives in the ghetto and shares a large craftsman house with other seniors. Of course, his landlord is an amazing guy with a huge heart. I know my friend's income, but I don't know how much his share of the rent is. I helped him get a basic cheapie cell phone that's free for low-income individuals. He lives comfortably, believe it or not. No debt.

How do you get out of debt? I did it through Genus Credit Counseling Service--now out of biz, but there are many others out there. They charge a fee (Genus only charged $8/month), but they work with your creditors to lower the debt. I was in my 30s, single, no kids, so I worked 2 full-time jobs for about 2 or 3 yrs to pay it off. These seniors can't do what I did, but I couldn't have done it without a debt consolidation company. Today, I'm debt-free, except for the mortgage.

It breaks my heart to hear and read about ppl struggling with debt. I share my story and give advice when I can, but for many, they just refuse to change their spending and lifestyle.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-30-2016, 03:17 PM
 
628 posts, read 402,322 times
Reputation: 3541
I do believe that luck is a huge factor. I am not great with numbers, but I think it was 9 years ago that my husband and I were preparing for an early retirement. We did not have a million dollars saved, but according to our plan we did have enough, and that was apart from the money that we hoped to make working part-time. We were getting ready, and then my son got sick.


My youngest son [like myself] is Autistic. We tend to have sensory issues. My sons seemed to be worse than most. Then they got much worse. Literally overnight. He was screaming in pain and passing out from the pain hundreds of times a day. He called them "the burns." We took him everywhere. THey put him on all sorts of drugs for seizures and nothing helped at all. They found that BOTH sides of his hypothalamus has deep scarring, most likely from a prenatal stroke[ and since on both sides, most likely from physical trauma, and, yeah, but let's not go there now] EVERY day he begged me to help him die.


The neurologists gave him no hope, so we went all over the world, Asian medicine, shamen, faith healers, acupuncture [which sometimes helped] france and cubas best doctors, every lotion and potion [and no, we knew we were probably dealing with quacks, but, you know, just in case]


During all of this time the economy fell apart. We reached a point where we had a net worth of NEGATIVE $300,000. It felt as though we were sliding into a financial abys that we could never recover from. I couldn't even work, because I was attending to my son.


LJ finally [not through modern medicine, other than a little help from nortrypteline] started doing well enough that I could go to work, but then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. We could not afford to stay in our home which was way upside down. We did not want to be a part of making the economy worse by walking away, so we rented out our house and moved into a little camper trailer parked in a nudist club [we had been members there for years, still are, we run the ice cream shop and I also sell jewelry there. that is also where I coordinate AutHaven, the only by and for Autistic retreats that no one is turned away for lack of money [ naked people are pretty generous with sponsorship]


Our busuiness and house were both so upside down. life was a nightmare [ mostly because of an issue with my precious daughter] and my son still doing pretty bad. I found out that our "friends" did not like poor people, or maybe they did not like that the person they found so refreshing was actually Autistic, or people who lose their looks when they become ill, or all three, but, it sucked.


So we kept plodding along. Bobby ended up with heart failure. We were not aware that our busness was no longer upside down, but we had been told by friends in the business that because of stricter EPA guidelines that a loan could not be made on an auto repair shop without hundreds of thousands of dollars of work on it. So, someone walks into the shop and tells Bobby he wants to buy our shop. Bobby tells hin that we cannot sell and why. Best [ the name of the guy who bought the business. He is from Afghanistan] told Bobby that he was prepared to pay cash.


things got a bit complicated, but we wound up with 4 houses [3 of them rentals] totally paid off, and a couple nice little side hustles. Life is good. LJ , Bobby, and I are all doing okay healthwise at the moment. Bills are paid. Cruises are booked, and there is extra.


So, are we lucky, or did we do things right? Luck ALWAYS plays a big part.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-30-2016, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,967,079 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by brava4 View Post
Really not news. This has happened to many and not just recently.
That's the problem with "features" on the boomers. The media highlight retiree profiles that have existed for eons and take them out of context, blow them up to make it look like these situations reflect many or most boomers. There are probably at least several dozen profiles of retirees that most of us could fit into, if we were to be categorized.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-30-2016, 03:39 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,744 posts, read 7,025,154 times
Reputation: 14219
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
Millions of Americans are struggling to get by. We cannot blame them all for bad choices and self indulgence, even if is makes us feel better.
When those choices and self-indulgence are obvious by their own admission ( as in this article), it's hard to feel sorry for them. If the articles are meant to engage the readers to wallow in pity for these folks, they're an epic fail, IMO. Especially to those of us who were also in situations similar or worse than those described in the articles, but made better choices, and did without so we could climb out of holes we found ourselves in. Or who still do without, make choices to live within our means and avoid debt where we can, no matter how modest our means.

I'm aware there are those who have fallen on hard times, or who are treading water trying to survive, due to circumstances really beyond their control, to those folks I would offer any help and support I can. Especially if they are trying to make it out of their situations.

But these articles about how rough some Americans have it, at least the ones I have read, typically have made choices they could have avoided in the past, and continue to make choices that keep them where they are, including living beyond their means. One of the couples in this article brings in at least $2700/month from a pension and that isn't enough? I mean really? I know lots of folks doing ok on a lot less than that.

And just for the record, I feel just fine about things ( and living simply and within our means so I make it in retirement), whether or not I read about these other folks experiences.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-30-2016, 03:47 PM
 
12,291 posts, read 15,184,803 times
Reputation: 8108
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
What do we expect? We elect congressional representatives and Presidents who continue the idea of being the world's policeman. We give huge sums of money to corrupt governments, waste hundreds of billions building "infrastructure" in the Afghani wasteland. We fight endless wars and then those we support turn against us. We build schools and hospitals around the world when our own citizens cannot afford their taxes, day care and healthcare.


This is supposed to be a forum about retirement, but sadly our economy and taxes don't work well enough for the majority of people to reach a reasonable degree of financial comfort in retirement. It seems fashionable to blame the individual for not being frugal and for not working hard enough. News flash. Life is a lot easier in most other first and second world countries. Workers have better access to healthcare and day care. They get way more time for vacations and often substantially shorter and easier workweeks. Ted Cruz can make jokes about Sweden being overly socialistic. Maybe but he seems to want to cut every benefit including healthcare and just beef up the military. I certainly don't mean to single out Ted Cruz. The rest of them, Democrats and Republicans, just don't seem to get it either. The politicians argue about Benghazi. No one asks the obvious. Why were we even in Libya at that time? I guess it was to help distribute all of the money we were spending in that country. Great return on investment for the American taxpayers!
There are things that could be done if the political will existed. For example the 401k is about the best retirement plan in the country - but most workers do not have access to it. Politicians could pass a law requiring all employers to offer it, and provide a refundable tax credit to cover alleged paperwork. Providing more housing for seniors would help at least a little bit. Perhaps an incentive program for seniors to move into depressed areas, which tend to have cheaper rents.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-30-2016, 03:55 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,744 posts, read 7,025,154 times
Reputation: 14219
Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky3vicky View Post
I do believe that luck is a huge factor. I am not great with numbers, but I think it was 9 years ago that my husband and I were preparing for an early retirement. We did not have a million dollars saved, but according to our plan we did have enough, and that was apart from the money that we hoped to make working part-time. We were getting ready, and then my son got sick.


My youngest son [like myself] is Autistic. We tend to have sensory issues. My sons seemed to be worse than most. Then they got much worse. Literally overnight. He was screaming in pain and passing out from the pain hundreds of times a day. He called them "the burns." We took him everywhere. THey put him on all sorts of drugs for seizures and nothing helped at all. They found that BOTH sides of his hypothalamus has deep scarring, most likely from a prenatal stroke[ and since on both sides, most likely from physical trauma, and, yeah, but let's not go there now] EVERY day he begged me to help him die.


The neurologists gave him no hope, so we went all over the world, Asian medicine, shamen, faith healers, acupuncture [which sometimes helped] france and cubas best doctors, every lotion and potion [and no, we knew we were probably dealing with quacks, but, you know, just in case]


During all of this time the economy fell apart. We reached a point where we had a net worth of NEGATIVE $300,000. It felt as though we were sliding into a financial abys that we could never recover from. I couldn't even work, because I was attending to my son.


LJ finally [not through modern medicine, other than a little help from nortrypteline] started doing well enough that I could go to work, but then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. We could not afford to stay in our home which was way upside down. We did not want to be a part of making the economy worse by walking away, so we rented out our house and moved into a little camper trailer parked in a nudist club [we had been members there for years, still are, we run the ice cream shop and I also sell jewelry there. that is also where I coordinate AutHaven, the only by and for Autistic retreats that no one is turned away for lack of money [ naked people are pretty generous with sponsorship]


Our busuiness and house were both so upside down. life was a nightmare [ mostly because of an issue with my precious daughter] and my son still doing pretty bad. I found out that our "friends" did not like poor people, or maybe they did not like that the person they found so refreshing was actually Autistic, or people who lose their looks when they become ill, or all three, but, it sucked.


So we kept plodding along. Bobby ended up with heart failure. We were not aware that our busness was no longer upside down, but we had been told by friends in the business that because of stricter EPA guidelines that a loan could not be made on an auto repair shop without hundreds of thousands of dollars of work on it. So, someone walks into the shop and tells Bobby he wants to buy our shop. Bobby tells hin that we cannot sell and why. Best [ the name of the guy who bought the business. He is from Afghanistan] told Bobby that he was prepared to pay cash.


things got a bit complicated, but we wound up with 4 houses [3 of them rentals] totally paid off, and a couple nice little side hustles. Life is good. LJ , Bobby, and I are all doing okay healthwise at the moment. Bills are paid. Cruises are booked, and there is extra.


So, are we lucky, or did we do things right? Luck ALWAYS plays a big part.
You surely got handed a run of tragedies in your life, compounded by lousy circumstances that could have taken you all the way down. But from all you've indicated, you kept on going, did what you needed to do despite the obstacles, and I bet there were many times you wanted to just chuck it all and bail out, but you didn't. And eventually you prevailed.

Maybe it was luck that brought you the cash buyer for your automotive business, in a time you thought it was impossible to sell. But I'd bet anything you and your husband made good choices as to how to use that money- I don't see your current successes as luck, but consequences of your own good choices and wise investments. Maybe some luck, but IMO it's more like you make your own luck. And I say kudoes to you for that.

And I don't see you complaining about your earlier problems, when life had to be so hard for you.
I'm happy to see you and yours are healthy and doing well at this point. May it continue to be so for a long long time.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-30-2016, 03:59 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,744 posts, read 7,025,154 times
Reputation: 14219
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vision67 View Post
Most people I know who are too poor to retire but can no longer work end up depending on their children.

Prior to implementation of Social Security, a majority of elderly Americans were in that situation.
I think prior to Social Security most folks didn't live very long after they retired.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top