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Re: Half of seniors can not afford the basics; don’t have enough money to get by, cover basic needs

@novamc  I know, it's really hard trying to decide about taking social security early.

 

My little sister and my brother both did that.  Then they were locked in as to how much they could earn extra.

 

But my little sister was much younger than my brother, so she eventually went back to work.  I don't know the ins and outs about how she was able to do that without getting penalized.

 

Here's something that I found that describes it better than I could.

https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/01/17/heres-how-much-money-the-average-senior-can-make-w...

 

This article was updated on April 13, 2018, and originally published on Jan. 17, 2016.

Because the average American's income has made little headway over the past decade and employers have shifted away from pensions, many Americans have fallen behind on their retirement savings goals.

As a result, more people are choosing to supplement their Social Security income by continuing to work than ever before. Working later in life can be a good income-boosting strategy, but there's a hitch. Social Security can withhold some of your Social Security income if you earn more than $17,040 in 2018.

 

I just think it's astounding that a person cannot  make as much money as they need to take.

 

Here's how I found out about this rule.  So my oldest daughter (who's normally up on everything and honestly doesn't make mistakes) pestered me to death to go to social security and start collecting my late husband's benefits.

 

So, I finally did.  I remember the day like it was yesterday.  It was actually the same day Prince the singer died.  I was sitting in this huge room for hours waiting to be called.  

 

I normally don't mind waiting.  I always say, "I'm a mom of 3 girls who danced for 13 years.  I've sat waiting for them through so many different dance practices....well..I'm used to waiting".

 

However, on this day and time there was absolutely no one and I mean no one in the place to talk to because they all spoke another language other than English.  I moved seats as people would be called and tried to strike up conversations, but no one could understand me...so I sat, and sat, and sat.

 

This is the honest to goodness truth.  I sat there for over (yes over 4 hours).  Finally, I got called to go in the back.  But before I did I found one wonderful lady to talk to.  She had her youngest son with her and she was there about her 'assistance program' or something like that.  

 

In other words I found out not everyone was there because specifically about social security...which I didn't know.  This lady had (are you ready) she had 11 children.  Ages 20 something to this little 5 year old.

 

She was so dear, well educated and explained her entire situation to me.  I won't go into it here but by the time I finally got called I pretty much knew her life story.  I didn't mind it at all.  She just needed someone to talk to and so did I.

 

So, (are you still with me...if not ... I understand).

 

OK, so I go in and pulled out all of my husband's papers (i.e. death certificate, etc).

 

The clerk started writing everything down.  She said, "Do you have any other income".  I said, "Well, I have a lot of investments and they're all being handled by (and I told her the name of the investment company).

 

She stopped writing and she said, "You shouldn't be here."

 

I said, "Well, my daughter said I should get social security now".  

 

She said, "I'll explain it this way.  For every two dollars we pay you, you'll have to pay one dollar back".  (I think that's what she said).

 

I said, "Why?  I don't understand how that works."

 

She said, "With the interest from the investments it will far exceed the limit of what you're supposed to earn.  The social security administration would "  (and she started laughing) "giveth and taketh away".

 

She said, "Here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to put in paperwork that shows you are withdrawing your request for early social security benefits.  It will be as if you were never here".

 

As I walked out the room was entirely empty.  The only person was a guard standing at the door waiting for me to leave so he could lock the doors". 

 

It was a very weird feeling seeing a room with so many people cleared out so quickly.

 

So, a few days later I received a letter telling me that my application had been rescinded and there was nothing more for me to do.

 

A few years went by and I turned 70 one or two (whatever the age is) and I could make as much money as I wanted and not get penalized.

 

I just live off of the interest the investments make.  So when you see the stock market going up...up and away...that's me smiling.

 

Every time I complain about the cost of health care and medicine to my broker he says..."that's money you're earning so stop complaining".

 

Hummm??  The good old American way.  But you know what?  When you grew up like I did, struggling to eat, etc.  it never leaves you.

 

I've never forgotten the other side of things.

 

I remember telling the clerk that it's too bad those who don't need the social security money to live on couldn't donate it to something where you'd know absolutely it would be going to specifically help elderly who needed it to live.

 

OK, so I know that's not possible.  The government would find a way to pee it away stupidly.

 

My daughter says, "Daddy paid into it Mom, you DESERVE it".  I hate that word deserve anyway.

 

But you know what people?  No matter how you cut it.  The amount of money paid into social security isn't anywhere near the amount of money people actually get from social security.  Especially if you have a person who lives for a very long time.

 

So, in some ways it's something the government does for people.

 

I feel that way about Medicare.  I think if you can afford to pay your own health insurance you should have to pay it (if you have the money).

 

But unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.  I asked if I could forgo Medicare when I first HAD TO SIGN up for it.  And I was told, no, you have to sign up for it.

 

I was then a widow and paying $1,000 a month (way back) for health care.  But I could afford it and would have kept it.  

 

I just signed my middle daughter up for Obamacare in Florida.  I'm paying for it every month.  We had to get right under the wire of 2019 because my oldest said rules were changing and not for the good.  (She has Crohns disease).

 

It's a lot of money but she needs health insurance.

 

I can't imagine other people trying to pay that.  

 

Here we are all trying to deal with health care and just living a life worth living and there's so much "STUFF" going on that doesn't mean anything.

 

Sometimes I think even I could run the @#$% government better than it's being run....

 

And believe me...that's a really scary thought because half of the time (as grandma used to say)..."I don't know my ($ss from a hole in the ground).

 

Phew I'm exhausted and mentally depleted...I think I'll go get me a Tootsie Roll Pop.  (my 'drug' of choice presently).

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Re: Half of seniors can not afford the basics; don’t have enough money to get by, cover basic needs

I wish I had the answer to what needs to be done to help those citizens that live in need.  What can the government , private sector, and citizens themselves do to ease poverty?

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Re: Half of seniors can not afford the basics; don’t have enough money to get by, cover basic needs


@SahmIam wrote:

@suzyQ3 wrote:

@ZoeTheCat wrote:

@tansy wrote:

The world just isn't the same as it was for those of us 60 and older.  I'm not sure why people refuse to acknowledge that.  


It pains me to say this, but for many over 60 who have been fortunate enough to enjoy financial security, there is little compassion for those who struggle.  The presiding wisdom among this group seems to be that those less fortunate simply didn’t do enough.  No matter that these people worked hard, often two jobs, just to make ends meet.  

 

I think most of us can agree that those making a great deal of money should save for retirement.  I’m sure we all know folks who squandered money that should have been directed toward retirement on McMansions, lavish vacations, etc.  But that’s not really what’s at issue here.  We’re talking about people with average or below average income who understably find that their paychecks can barely cover the essentials, let alone retirement savings.

 

I think for many it’s just easier to believe they are comfortable because they did everything the “right” way.  It’s easier to ignore the suffering of others if you can convince yourself that another’s problems are based on their own inadequacies.  I find this mindset to be cynical and profoundly sad.


@ZoeTheCat, unfortunately it is this mindset that seems to be the hallmark not just of an idealogy but now as a driving force in almost all aspects of our society through both open and more backdoor policies.


Trust me, it isn't just in the US. This thread has mentioned the basics which include housing and medical care; this, among other things,is part of a very large and needed discussion in the UK. Like everything else, talk to the people at the shoppes, around the villages, over a pint at the pub....what you read in the papers is NOT a true view of how things are going when it comes to housing, being able to pay for the basics and medical care (especially medical care). There are some serious problems and the same mind set many are disgusted by in this thread are very alive and strong in the UK. I hear similar rumblings from friends and family from all over the world. It's NOT good. 


May be, @SahmIam , but I live here in the US. I can't say any more than I did in my post to which you responded. I'm sure that you understand. :-)


~Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
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Re: Half of seniors can not afford the basics; don’t have enough money to get by, cover basic needs


@at home wrote:
Health really can be the deciding factor. I married early (at 17) and we both worked until our first of four kids was born then I was blessed to stay home with them. Our youngest has disabilities and still lives with us but we were ok until DH got leukemia (ALL) at 57 (his peak earning years) and it all came crumbling down. We’d planned and he’d taken risks to advance in his career but the treatments to save his life completely disabled him. He’s 3 1/2 years out from incredible radiation and chemo for the stem cell transplant that saved his life but it also destroyed his health. It took two years for him to qualify for Medicare (during which time we paid $1500/month for COBRA) and now we pay through the nose for the best supplement available because we know he’ll need it. Our income is half what it was when he got sick but we’re lucky it’s even that. He needs full time care from me and today we found out he’ll be needing hip replacements. All this to say, you just never know. We did what we could, we’re normal, decent, hard working people but here we are. God has been good to us and I’m thankful that we still have our house and are ok so far but really, no matter how well you plan, it can all be gone very quickly.

@at home, I rarely choke up when reading here. But you story really got to me. I wish your family all the best. You certainly deserve that.


~Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
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Re: Half of seniors can not afford the basics; don’t have enough money to get by, cover basic needs


@deepwaterdotter wrote:

I wish I had the answer to what needs to be done to help those citizens that live in need.  What can the government , private sector, and citizens themselves do to ease poverty?


Where there's a will, there's a way, @deepwaterdotter, or so they say. I would make several suggestions, but you know that I can't do that here.


~Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
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Re: Half of seniors can not afford the basics; don’t have enough money to get by, cover basic needs

@suzyQ3. How sweet of you. Thank you so much and all the best to you and yours tooSmiley Happy
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Re: Half of seniors can not afford the basics; don’t have enough money to get by, cover basic needs

Rent vs owning in retirement....

We sold our house in 1989 when we left CA and moved back to NYC... I swore I’d never own another house. Too much work and unplanned expenses.

Proceeds went into savings and I rent. I live in a residential section of Manhattan. Rent is reasonable and includes heat, hot water, gas and electricity.

If something breaks or stops working I simply call the office to have it fixed. There is a maintenance crew that takes care of everything in public areas, and grounds outside. We have security, amenities (for an additional membership fee) and onsite cafe.

Apartments is small with minimal housework. Completely repainted every two years at no cost.

I know exactly what my monthly expense will be. I have good health insurance and Medicare, and saved for lots of years to be financially comfortable. I have doctors that charge $400 per visit ... but my potion is a tiny fraction of that. My recent hospitalization was over $23,000. ... my portion was just $100. Months of physical therapy covered by insurance.

I do feel sorry for the less fortunate but don’t criticize me for my planning/ saving. I just happen to be among the 50% that lived frugally so we could eventually live comfortably.
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Re: Half of seniors can not afford the basics; don’t have enough money to get by, cover basic needs

Some of what is listed in this thread is wrong or stated incorrectly.  You can start collecting as early as 62 (depending on your situation this can be the best option).  You can earn as much as you want once you reach full retirement age.  You can collect on your husband's SS if you take 1/2 once you reach minimum retirement age or all of his benefit if he dies and his is higher than yours ( usually, I can't -- we made very similar salaries and in that case I don't get half of his or vice versa ).   We are all better off with SS than in the 1960s (my Mother had SS thru her teaching career, my Dad had no SS as he was a Civil Servant (and at that time he couldn't get half my Mom's as the system was set up assuming the primary wage earner was always a man!!  Later that rule was changed and made retroactive so my Dad got $180,000 retroactively and put it in a separate account so he'd have the money ready when Government discovered their error!!He had that money plus all that interest when he passed in 1998).  I suggest that all of us could benefit from a book on Ssn-- there are several on Amazon.

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Re: Half of seniors can not afford the basics; don’t have enough money to get by, cover basic needs

@suzyQ3 I did Smiley Happy. I mentioned other parts of the world because many think other countries have it all figured out (they don't) and the attitude of "you didn't plan well so don't look at me to feel for you" is everywhere as well. 

 

What happened to society as a whole to dislike the young, the old and those who need help in order to help themself? *heavy sigh*

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Re: Half of seniors can not afford the basics; don’t have enough money to get by, cover basic needs


@at home wrote:
Health really can be the deciding factor. I married early (at 17) and we both worked until our first of four kids was born then I was blessed to stay home with them. Our youngest has disabilities and still lives with us but we were ok until DH got leukemia (ALL) at 57 (his peak earning years) and it all came crumbling down. We’d planned and he’d taken risks to advance in his career but the treatments to save his life completely disabled him. He’s 3 1/2 years out from incredible radiation and chemo for the stem cell transplant that saved his life but it also destroyed his health. It took two years for him to qualify for Medicare (during which time we paid $1500/month for COBRA) and now we pay through the nose for the best supplement available because we know he’ll need it. Our income is half what it was when he got sick but we’re lucky it’s even that. He needs full time care from me and today we found out he’ll be needing hip replacements. All this to say, you just never know. We did what we could, we’re normal, decent, hard working people but here we are. God has been good to us and I’m thankful that we still have our house and are ok so far but really, no matter how well you plan, it can all be gone very quickly.

I could've written your post.

 

My husband and I both worked hard, saved, lived frugally and both of us planned to work until age 70 and then retire.

 

This all came to an end when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at age 66, a rare and quickly lethal form of leukemia.  The only "cure" is a bone marrow transplant (from a donor) and even then, the 5 year survival rate is only 30-50% if the transplant is successful.

 

My husband had a bone marrow transplant, to the tune of $1.2 million, but it failed after nine months.  He was a dead-man-walking when he was first diagnosed, we just didn't know it at the time.

 

He never was able to work again after he was diagnosed and neither could I as I was his full-time caregiver.  With all the chemo treatments and doctor's visits, it was impossible to leave him alone for any length of time, such as working a job.  Luckily, his employer had disability insurance so he was on disability for 18 months (at 50% of his pay).  When that ran out, he went on retirement Social Security (at 40% of his pay).  

 

Even though he had Medicare Part A and decent health insurance through work, his treatments drained our savings to nothing.  Even with good insurance, it doesn't pay for everything, especially if the insurance company deems some treatments as 'experimental'.  When I turned 62 last year, I retired early because we desperately needed the money to pay bills and I wasn't able to leave him and work.

 

My husband was a 'miracle man' in that he survived almost a year after the bone marrow transplant failed, although he became weaker and weaker with each monthly chemo treatment.  The chemo treatments work until they don't.  The leukemia came back full force and he was deemed terminal by his doctors.  I lost him in October.

 

So even though we did everything "right", our savings are depleted and I will have to find a job and work until I drop dead.  I'll never be able to actually retire.  Fortunately, the house is paid for but there is still the upkeep.

 

I'm now 63 with no recent work experience.  Who's going to hire me at a decent wage?  Nobody, that's who.  Oh, I'll probably be able to get a job cashiering at Walmart or Target.  Oh joy.  I'll be that little old lady cashier that you wonder why hasn't retired yet.  I fear that by the time I'm 80, I'll be the homeless lady living in my car.

 

My point of this little saga is that Social Security is not kind to a person in my situation.  My husband died after he reached retirement age but before I reached my full retirement age.  This means that I qualify for survivor's benefits.  If I take them now, before my full retirement age, I'll get 85% of his primary insurance benefit (the amount he would've received had he retired at age 66).  If I wait until I'm 66 to get survivor's benefits, I'll receive 100%. 

 

Everyone will say "wait until you're 66!"  But, I have no income other than my social security benefit, woefully less than I need to pay the bills.  And, I have no guarantee that I'll be able to find a job with a liveable wage (ageism is alive and well).  Plus, since I retired early, I can only make $18,000 a year until I turn 66 if I don't want Social Security to take $1 away for every $2 I earn over $18,000.  Even if I get survivor's benefits now, it's not enough for me to live on and pay the bills.  I still have to get a job and work until I drop dead. 

 

So, even though we saved and saved, medical treatment for a catastrophic terminal  illness drained it all away.  His illness wasn't his fault and it wasn't my fault.  Nobody knows why a person gets AML other than it's a genetic defect in the bone marrow, something nobody has control over.  You just get it.

 

I'm so sad for my husband because he worked so hard all his life and he never got the chance to retire and enjoy life.  It just isn't fair.  And I'm sad for me because I won't get to retire, ever.  We had a nice retirement "plan" and it all went down the drain.

 

To add insult to injury, the life insurance policy he had through his employer won't pay because of the fine print in the contract that says they don't have to pay if he dies after one year of his last active day of work.  He died two years after his last day of work.  So, as far as the insurance company is concerned, he didn't die fast enough.  As far as Social Security is concerned with the survivor's benefits, he died too soon (before I reached my full retirement age).

 

So, I feel like I'm being farquared six ways from Sunday between the life insurance company and Social Security.  Our savings are gone, no life insurance payout,  I have no pension or investment income to live off of, I've lost his love and companionship, I've lost his Social Security benefit to help pay the bills, I can only earn $18,000/year if I don't want Social Security to take away from what little survivor's benefit I'll get.  And people wonder why there are so many folks lining up at the food banks.

 

Your health is everything, folks.  Do not take it for granted.  My husband was the last person on earth that I thought would get cancer.