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.