Retirement Anxiety Despite Multiple Sources of Income

For rent
Can a couple in their mid-60s fully retire on social security income, pension money, and rental income? I would hope so! But this is the question that’s being asked in this week’s Money Makeover column in the L.A. Times.

Susan Ramsey and Linda Garcia are 68 and 65, respectively, and want to move to Portland, Ore. from Los Angeles to cut down on their cost of living. Here’s how the L.A. Times describes their complicated financial situation:

Garcia was an administrator at NBCUniversal, most recently as an employee transportation coordinator. That temporary job, which paid $3,100 a month, ended in June, reducing her income to $1,700 a month from her NBC pension. She’s wondering when to apply for Social Security benefits.

Garcia also is a certified hypnotherapist, helping people with issues such as fear of flying and habit control, although she currently doesn’t practice.

Ramsey is a massage therapist who works at a chiropractor’s office and takes private clients. For extra cash, she sews elaborate quilts that have sold for more than $3,000. Ramsey has been bringing in about $1,700 a month through a combination of Social Security, her former husband’s pension and the massage sessions.

Ramsey and Garcia also control four rental properties — one in Southern California and three in Oregon — giving them some flexibility in retirement through the ability to raise rents.

Their property income ranges from $18,000 to $20,000. The pair aren’t sure they’re getting the most from the properties, with Garcia describing them as “kind of a soft touch” on rent.

The couple meet with a financial planner who tells them they’ve done a good job with their money and will be okay. But we kind of get that sense after hearing about all their sources of income, including the four (four!) rental properties they maintain. As their financial planner says plainly, “They can raise rents if they need to.” As is often the case with this column, there isn’t much to takeaway here except, perhaps, that’s it’s really nice to have access to passive income.

Photo: Colin and Sarah Northway

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