Retired on Social Security and not much savings

by AV

I retired last year at age 74 from government service, as a computer programmer, a work that I had enjoyed for almost 25 years. Ever since retirement, almost one year now, I have been going through frequent spells of depression, and anxiety.

I read quite a few books on retirement, the best one I thought was "How to retire Happy Wild and Free" by Ernie Zelinski.

Unfortunately, I could not pick on any satisfactory solution to my own problem, which are more due to my fears of financial problems in the future. I

realized that to take up activities I really enjoy, such as traveling, going out to lunch with friends, entertaining friends at home which I love, it needs some level of surplus finances.

My wife of 48 years and myself are living happily on social security and a small pension, which is quite adequate with our frugal lifestyle, and we even generate a small surplus every month.

We are afraid that if we spend a little beyond what we have as surplus, we might deplete our small savings of 50K, which we have reserved for medical emergencies as we really get old.

About two years before my retirement, my best friend at work, who was also a programmer, retired with a good pension, other sources of side income, and substantial inheritance!

He travels a lot, which he loves just as I do, but something I am unable to. He and I do get together once in a way when the discussion turns to post retirement activities. He is unable to appreciate my predicament, and does not encourage me whenever I show interest in getting back into paid employment again. And that only adds to my depression.

I am still in good health, by the grace of God, and quite capable of going back to work. But I am confused whether I really should work again, or not. Any help is welcome!

Comments for Retired on Social Security and not much savings

Click here to add your own comments

by: Loyce!

Have you gone shopping for the perfect this or that and finally given up and gone home and found exactly what you need in your very own closet and all you had to do was root around.

I live a staycation and am always rooting around for new sites to visit and the latest is the bowling alley where I'm learning to play pool and engaging with colorful peeps.

Others CHOOSE to endure the indignities of airline travel and that is a choice many regret because TRAVEL IS WORK and demands money, effort and much planning and then there are all those uncertainties on the airplane, at the airport and what about the amenities at the hotel? No thanks.

Home Sweet Home for this Staycationer.

by: Loyce!

Live within your means but spend $ on what you need first and then what you enjoy.

I pay for a health club membership and use it for exercise, swimming and socializing so the $ is reasonably spent and justified and I enjoyed a massage recently and same loosened me up and affords me more flexibility so I can be fit.

I dislike cooking and cleaning up so I have a friend who cooks for me and I have very little cleanup for the week and my friend and I are both happy.

"Afraid"? People regret what they do not do so treat yourself well within reason and spend only what you can afford.

You can "travel" in your own backyard by discovering restaurants and boutiques. I use my time and $ wisely as I choose a staycation and satisfy my needs by traveling 10 miles maximum to shopping/dining/recreation/medical.

Time is more precious $ as time spent is truly spent.

by: Loyce!

Make a list of your talents and hire yourself out or go on line and sell to make $. Talk to others who are bringing in side money.

retired on Soc. Sec.
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA


What can you lose by keeping your eye out for a job or part time situation whereby you can work and save up for some great vacations later.

Eventually if you find you don't want the job, give the employer plenty of notice and leave , looking forward to at least that one vacation you are going to enjoy.

Best to you and your wife.

Travel, Finances, and Health
by: Ricardo

Over the last few years of my retirement, I have been doing extensive traveling with my wife.

We have been blessed with reasonable health as well as a stable income source. These two subjects are really imperative, IF one enjoys travel. The long flights can be brutal on the body.

I keep saying to myself, I do not know what tomorrow will bring, and traveling in a wheel chair or a walker would be close to impossible.

So, as long as we can, or if we run out of places on God's green earth that we want to visit, we will continue to explore the "wonders of the world" around us.

Many retirees are not as fortunate as we.... I count our blessings everyday. Remember no one is given tomorrow. Try to find something positive in everyday that you are blessed with....others may not be so blessed....just look around!

by: Sue

I truly understand your quandary as we are just about in the same boat.

We did take the leap and bought a small small place in an Arizona Senior Park to get out of the cold Colorado winters where we have a small townhome.

Yes, our savings went down a bit, but we're so enjoying our first time Snowbird experience. Our rent is comparable to a car pymt.

We decided to do it for ourselves. Right or wrong, I guess we'll find out in the future. Right now, it's a lot of fun.

We're not guaranteed any tomorrows.

The Catch 22 Question....
by: Wendy

To spend or not to spend, that IS the question!

  • Do you give yourself one frugal vacation a year and find yourself needing cash later (and it's gone)?

  • Do one of you get ill and you must spend the $50K on medical care before the govt. kicks in?

  • Do you both die and someone else inherits and spends your hard-earned savings quite quickly?

    There is no answer. There really is no right or wrong. The answer lies with the person who owns the savings account and their own preferences in life.

    One perspective... at 74, you might want to take a few vacations now. You can be cautious about your vacation spending -- there are lots of ways to vacation on less, right? Vacation in the off seasons, get cheaper hotels or inside cruise cabins, rent an RV and travel the nation spending on only gas and food... lots of ideas if you choose to look into this.

    My folks, at about 80, refused to go to their Vegas condo any more. I didn't believe them when they wanted to sell it... but just a few years later, I did. Travel is too hard on them, even by air... 2 hour waits at the airport, long fly times, it's just too much. This may or may not be true for you two... but just something to consider.

    Best Wishes!

  • Click here to add your own comments

    Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Anxiety and Depression.