Retiring Without Money

Golden Girls
One of our readers, Laura, sent us this L.A. Times article with cautionary tales of seniors struggling to get by because they don’t have enough for retirement. Here’s one:

Her husband died young and she became a single working mother, bringing in just enough to get by. But in retirement, her Social Security income won’t even cover the cost of her $1,600-a-month one-bedroom apartment, and her other basic living expenses will wipe out her savings in about four years.

“I’m thrashing about. I don’t know what to do or how to decide,” said the client, who wanted to tell her story as a warning to others, but asked me not to use her name.

Geffen said that if the client had come to her 10 years earlier, she would have advised her to find an $800 apartment and put away $800 a month for retirement. That’s not easy for working-class people to do in this economy, with wages flat and costs rising.

The woman, who is in her eighties, is considering moving to a more affordable location (which is what I think I would do in this situation), or continuing to work as a hotel receptionist into her mid-eighties. Another option that isn’t mentioned in this article is for her to consider an entirely different kind of living situation, for example, a shared housing space like the kind Golden Girl Homes, Inc. provides for older women.

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