6 Replies Latest reply on Jun 22, 2012 11:36 AM by JustMe

    A different kind of issue

    JustMe
      I'm 60, female, orphaned and divorced. What's left of my extended family is either gone or older than I, for the most part (so all I have to depend on is my own resources). Long story, but no children, either. No pension, and my 30-year old 401(k) took a major hit in this economic mess--it's a little over a tenth of a million. No equity in my home (that took a beating, too, and is about $50K "under water." Other than winning the lottery, I don't see how I will ever be able to retire. A reduced lifestyle doesn't bother me--but the prospects of becoming a bag lady do. Anyone out there got a magic wand I can borrow?
        • Re: A different kind of issue
          Carlos
          I did not notice that you mentioned any health related issues. If you have good health, then you have a great deal. Be very thankful for that!
          • Re: A different kind of issue
            jocee
            Your username may describe your lack of relatives but you are actually part of a large, and growing, group of single women who are approaching retirement and living alone.  You are smart to be thinking about your finances now.  My sister's answer to her post-retirement financial problems is to stop balancing her checkbook! 
             
            Have you given any thought to renting out a room in your house to get a little more income?  If you don't know anyone who is looking, a senior center or other agency might do referrals. 
             
            Also check to see if low-moderate income apartments are available in your area that you could move to after you retire.  By then your home may have risen in value and you could have some equity by selling it. 
             
            Review your investments that are left in your 401K and see if they are too risky for someone as close to retirement as you are who has no other savings.  It is tempting to ramp up the risk trying to recoup the loses but that doesn't work in Vegas or in retirement investing.  
             
            Sorry no lottery winning advice.     
             
             
              • Re: A different kind of issue
                JustMe
                Jocee (my Mum's nickname, God rest her soul), I'm like you: I invest conservatively, or I'd have lost my brassiere as well as my shirt in 2008. I've been working my whole life--never did the exotic vacations, go out to eat or for a night on the town once in a blue moon, don't own a designer wardrobe or have bling that would tempt anyone to larceny . . . I've never even owned a car newer than five years old. Fiscally conservative to the core. Sometimes I wonder who was the bigger idiot--my sister the grasshopper who owed everyone under the sun, but did the trips to Disneyland and ran up the big charge account bills (then declared bankruptcy) and generally lived like a hedonist, or me, the ant, toiling away at two jobs most of my life, owing nobody anything that I didn't pay back, and defined "fun" as landscaping a variety of homes and keeping a clean house and doing research in my academic field when I could afford the time and money (most of what I'm interested in requires trips to various places in England)? What's done is done; now I'm just worried about being able to continue taking care of myself, if I'm unable to work into my twilight years (as it looks as though I will have to do, just to survive).
                 
                I know there are a lot of women in my situation. I wish I could find a couple of "Golden Girls" with whom to share the adventure . . . but for now, I work and sleep and commute (and worry). I hope to change all that very soon . . .
                 
                 
                  • Re: A different kind of issue
                    teach666
                    What about looking for a teaching job in somewhere you'd like to live? Even if you don't find a position right away, looking into a change can be uplifting in itself.
                      • Re: A different kind of issue
                        JustMe
                        That's a good idea, Teach--but it would be a pipe-dream at the moment, because my house is too deeply "under water" for me to be able to sell it, so I am anchored to it like Prometheus to the cliff. I've tried to make that transition in the past, even borrowing money to go the the MLA Convention for interviews that turned out to be farcical: in one, they sent a single adjunct faculty member to do the "interview" for a job that apparently didn't exist (they wanted him to get the experience!), and in the other, the chair was unable to attend because of a death in the family, and the two remaining members of the panel did nothing but argue with one another about what they were looking for. It was a horrible experience, needless to say, but not as rare as it should be. One colleague's interview panel was obviously drunk when she arrived--another was stood up altogether. I'm not anxious to go through that again until there's a real possibility of my being selected--or accepting such an offer.
                         
                        Why "Teach666," by the way? Please tell me you don't teach Satanism?Insert theecstaticemoticon.
                         
                  • Re: A different kind of issue
                    JustMe
                    Thanks, everyone! I do have health issues (primarily, Type II diabetes), which is the primary source of my concern, and apologies if the "JustMe" was misleading--it's not self-pitying . . . more like "It's only me." I don't want to retire where I am (heaven forbid!--I'd need millions!) and other than in England, where what's left of my family is, I have no idea where I do want to be. I live in a townhome, and my commute is typically too long to allow for me to continue teaching (which I'd like to get back to doing, once I leave the work that pays the mortgage). To make matters worse, the company for which I was working--principals two women in their 40s, staff mostly 20- and 30-somethings--just "retired" me and eleven other 50+s upon their merger with another little company (to maximize their take-away, I suppose). Sometimes I feel like a boxer, struggling to my knees from one blow, only to be knocked flat on my back again by the next. I wish I had a plan . . . so far, all I've been able to do is save as much as I can, and hope for the best. Like everyone else, I can only do what I can do. But I will say this: neither of our Presidential candidates "get it." I asked the Obama administration at a variety of levels (OCC, CFPB, FTC, Secretary of the Treasury, and POTUS himself) for assistance dealing with Bank of America when I could prove that they'd continually violated at least three federal statutes--and got no help (and more often than not, no response) at all. We're in this on our own, and we have to help one another. There are no magic wands. That makes me appreciate your kind responses even more.