Seniors: Facing Personal Financial Struggles

Mar 28th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Finances

Many senior citizens are being forced to deal with economic issues on a very personal level.  With rising health care costs, 401K’s dwindling due to the economy crash of the past 18 months, no increase in Social Security benefits in 2010, value of homes declining drastically, seniors are finding their nest eggs depleted and are faced with very difficult decisions about how to respond.

Retirement was supposed to be a time of relaxation and fun after a career that spanned 40 years or more.  Anxiety over financial resources throws the proverbial monkey wrench into a retirement of leisure.

There are options for those of us who find ourselves in this situation.  SCJ offers some now:

  • Make a list of all your income, assets, expenses and then take the list to a trusted financial advisor.  He/she has the expertise and knowledge to discuss options with you and to make recommendations about possible courses of action you have available.
  • Look at your expense list on your own.  What expenses can you eliminate that do not impair your health and safety?  If you have significant credit card debt, find a reputable advisor who can help you consolidate and create a plan to eliminate that debt.
  • Check web sites such as http://www.craigslist.com to determine if part time employment is available that would provide additional income; some one-time jobs are frequently advertised on these kinds of sites, such as someone needing a pet-sitter or sitter for a home-bound family member for an upcoming out of town trip.
  • If you have no mortgage on your home, talk with a financial advisor about a reverse mortgage that would allow you to stay in your home and provide additional income until your death.  There are a variety of such plans available, especially in response to the economic issues senior citizens face today.
  • If you are alone, consider sharing living accommodations with another person, or other people with whom you find compatibility.  Creating a ‘family’ unit can solve financial issues faced by several seniors.
  • Talk with your physician about home health care if you qualify for these Medicare funded services.  Continuing to struggle financially to maintain good health is unnecessary if you qualify for health care in your home.
  • Don’t be too proud to talk with adult children, grandchildren or extended family members about your financial struggle.  Generation X and the Millennia Generation have a profound sense of acting out their care and concern for others versus talking about that value.

SCJ does not suggest this is an exhaustive list of options.  Rather, it is a beginning to which other possibilities will be added as they surface.



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