Sunday, March 27, 2011

There is an alternative Grandmother!

As I read this article, I felt like I was reading about my mother in some ways.
A Homeowner With No Savings, but Some Options
IF you’re worried that you haven’t saved enough for retirement, you’re probably right. Most of us haven’t. In fact, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found the majority of American workers had put away less than $25,000 for their golden years.

But even those people are in better financial shape than Susanna Wilson, 70, who saved nothing.

Her only dependable income is a Social Security check of about $900 a month.
In her 40s, Ms. Wilson moved to California and became a publicist. At her peak, she made around $65,000 a year, she said, and not a penny of that made its way into a retirement fund. “One thing kind of led to another,” Ms. Wilson said. “I’ve always put all my money into my businesses. And I always thought the business I was in was going to be a great success.” She also raised a daughter, Corie, 36, who lives in Los Angeles with her two children and is not in a position to help her mother financially.

Now twice divorced and living alone with her Shetland Sheepdog, Rooney, Ms. Wilson subsists on those government checks, plus a one-day-a-week job at a local jewelry store that pays $12.50 an hour. She received no alimony from either divorce. Ms. Wilson also makes little girls’ dresses under her O’Susanna label, at a vintage Singer Featherweight sewing machine in her dining room. But she sells only about six a month for around $200.

OK, so, she has little income now, she pissed away what she had before and she's got $150K in equity in her house. ONLY the NYT would see this as a bad thing!!! And Ms. Wilson is among that generation, like MY mother, who got the idea that they would ALWAYS live alone in their own house. Why do they think that and where did it originate?

These are people who grew up in The Depression. Extended family was often the only place to bed down then. Before that, and often into the 50's and 60's, many people had a Grandparent or Maiden Aunt or Crazy Old Uncle Dave who lived with the family. But for some reason, the same generation that housed those older family members, NEVER thought it would happen to them.
We've come full circle though. More 20 somethings are living with mom and dad, more of Ms. Wilson's generation are being forced to move in with sons and daughters, and I think it's a good thing. But that's just me, I guess. I hope these people don't need each other in the future, it's always too late when that type NEED out weighs WANT in a family.


blue said...

if she thinks she is that bad off, there is nothing for her to do except visit the Soylent Green plant

blue said...

actually this is what I have against means testing SS

I saved all my life & I am now comfortable in retirement, I will fail any SS means test they devise, so, if they implement means testing, I will get nothing for my almost 50 years of SS payments with the last 35 being the maximum payment.

this "old" lady who never saved a dime in her life will continue to have the gov't take care of her because "she earned it"

bah humbug

BOW said...

She could move to Panama or Ecuador where the money would go a lot further and lifestyle greatly enhanced. I am now looking every day at properties down in CR. As the years grow closer to my own retirement, and the potential for much lower true return on my retirement saving and property equity values here, the likely decrease in the standard of living in the US, and being a ground 0 target, it only makes sense.

Schteveo said...

she could move to friggin' TEXAS and be OK!! She's living in one the most expensive places in the country and bitching about it to boot.

But WHY can't she move in with her daughter? That was the gist of my post. Before HER generation ALL older people lived with family when they retired. But for some unfathomable reason, those who grew up with Gramps or Aunt Suzie or Crazy Uncle Dave, in their parents house, ASS-U-MED they'd always have a home of their own.


Hell, given the current economy, I don't think anyone is considering that a done deal for parents OR kids. When my younger son got out of the Corps, he moved back in with us. With a WIFE and TWO KIDS.

My 19 y/o neice is lioving here now, getting ready to go to college.

I was taught that you're supposed to help family in need. To quote Manny the Mammoth,

"'s what you do in the herd".

Spider said...

I also come from that same way of thinking. Family first. And you do whatever it takes to help when they're in need. Most young people today can't even take care of themselves, let alone anyone else.

As for Ms. Wilsons story, maybe it's just me, but i'm thinking she could have been a bit more responsible in her choices. And the 36 year old daughter is in no shape to help? Did she perhaps learn from mom?

Schteveo said...

So you see it just like I do. She PISSED away good money when she was younger, and she either won't ask her daughter for help, or the daughter hasn't said yes.

I expect, Ms. Wilson raised the typical, liberal, SoCal, ME, ME, ME daughter. And it just doesn't occur to her that Mom NEEDS help!! STUPID SLUG.

alan said...

Ahhhhh,, we are now back in our Dixie (Southern Utah) home. Have I mentioned how much I hate moving? I picked out a spot in the back yard to be buried, I don't plan on ever moving again....and if I do, the only thing I am taking with me is the clothes the undertaker puts on me. The best part is that the house in Flagstaff is already rented, that is like a $2,000 per month raise!

That being said, over the last 3 years we have booted 3 kids. well, not really....but our 6 bedroom house now includes an office (with a hide a bed) and 2 guest rooms.

The point I am making is that Sweety and I have always planned that eventually her or my, or both of our parents would eventually wind up living with us. Thus we purchased a home where they could have "their" space and we would have ours.

I might not ever draw SS, since I doubt it will exist when I am old enough, but at least my home will be paid for and I will only be paying my annual rent to the government.

and, best of all, if need be we still have room for the kids if they need a temporary place to stay if they fall off their feet for a while.

Even with those who are/were never as blessed as I have been, it still comes down to piss poor planning to have nothing when retirement comes.