Retirement Income: My Life Adjustments with Retirement

by Mary Lou

The struggle to work as a home based social worker with a modest income became even more stressful when I began to consider the changes I

I made close to $80,000 briefly at the peak of my career, but attempts to save, invest and build a retirement nest egg just did not succeed.

I had medical emergencies, periods of unemployment and underemployment (when I made less than $20,000 a year). Therefore, I was living paycheck to paycheck and my bills took everything I earned. I also spent two long-term periods on social security disability due to injuries at work mostly.

But, the biggest blow to a small retirement fund I had cultivated was the year my sister had a major stroke and I had to help her with everything from moving, to recovery services to living with me. It really took all the money I had, her disability income and Medicaid to survive.

The result was that I am now living with my daughter, have a modest social security pension of $18,000 a year and it is difficult to manage. We use coupons, plan everything we do, buy and often have garage sales.

We work voter polls every year, I do part time jobs for temporary services, get honorariums from social services seminars, do some grant writing and we both do some home based computer work to make ends meet. It can be fun sometimes, but always a struggle to pay bills and deal with creditors. This is not the retirement that I wanted and I am still trying to resolve the financial crisis that plagues my family.

The solution may include a return to school in order to resume working and earning a salary. My daughter and I are looking seriously at our second careers for the next chapter in both our lives.

We are smart, strong and energetic, I know we can do it.

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by: Tom Leitch

Your financial dilemma is something that millions of us retirees echo. Life throws us curve balls now and then and the result can be frightful. We sway to the economic pendulum.

Some years ago my wife and I started bringing home $8000. a month compared to the three or four thousand we had been making. We bought a gorgeous, gorgeous home on a lake along with a boat and new furniture. Less than six weeks later, Sadam Hussein invaded Kuwait and gas prices shot up 50% and the U.S. economy fell into the toilet and we fell into despair because we lost 75% of our income. We cried when we moved into a condo one third the size of our dream home.

I didn't prepare for old age and consequently we don't have a high standard of living. BUT we live comfortably, have plenty of food to eat, shelter from summer and winter storms. And although we've both had serious bouts with cancer we are in good health, my being 74 and my wife 71.

Married in '59, I can honestly say we have never been happier. We thoroughly enjoy each other to no end. Money can't buy what we have which is a love that continues to flame.

Life's so-called crucible made us malleable and transformed us. Our marriage suffered greatly from my journey through alcoholism, the death of our oldest son at 18, infidelities and other ugly assorted details.

I felt compelled to write a book extolling the life of our late son and also chartering the perils of our marriage. The book is title "Shamrocks, Trolls, Angels and Drunks". (One can Google it.) In the book I state that few marriages we've heard of ever suffered so many, many broadsides and still stayed afloat.

So my advice is: Keep on trucking. Hang tough.

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