“Then suddenly I found myself at retirement age, and my lack of retirement preparation is hanging over my head like a black cloud. Not good, my friends.” –Bernadette
~A ‘Writing the Digital Page: Notes from Bernadette’ Installment ~
Part 5 of “How to Invest – Safely and Smartly – During the Retirement Years”
There’s that dreaded phrase again: finances and retirement. How many times have we heard it and pooh-poohed it with a dismissive wave of our thirty-something hand? Granted, during much of my time in the workforce, I didn’t have access to a pension plan or 401k. But still, I confess I was guilty of not taking retirement seriously in my youth. Then suddenly I found myself at retirement age, and my lack of retirement preparation is hanging over my head like a black cloud. Not good, my friends.
Low-Income Senior Housing
However, I’m not here to spread gloom and doom (another over-used phrase, if you ask me). I’m a woman of action, so I got busy very quickly searching for resources available for seniors.
As you may already know, the only regular income I have for my retirement years comes from my Social Security benefits. No IRA or pension to augment my monthly Social Security check. After doing my research, I found out that I qualified for low-income senior housing in a very nice apartment complex in a safe neighborhood in my hometown. The rent is very affordable, and very importantly it’s pet friendly (thank goodness, or my precious kitty, Emilie, would be living in a tent in the parking lot!).
I also discovered that I qualify for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as “food stamps.” Always remember that you paid into programs like this during your decades in the workforce, so don’t ever feel bad for using these benefits when you need them. And don’t forget that sometimes it might not be much, but every little bit helps.
If you start your much-deserved retirement a few years early (before 65), you won’t be eligible for Medicare benefits (editor: if you live in the U.S.). However, if you are a low-income senior, then you may be eligible for Medicaid, which can help bridge the health-coverage gap between when you retire and when you turn 65. Also, in my state, my Medicaid is accepted as a supplement to my Medicare benefits (now that I’m 65). I’m sure it’s the same in other states as well, but be sure to check.
Yes, it’s tough out there financially for a lot of us retirees. I can certainly attest to that! But thanks to assistance programs available to low-income folks, including seniors, we can get by.
One last FYI: Contact your state or local Aging Services office for additional aid that you may be eligible for. I did a lot of real world running around to find various resources, but if you are technically savvy, make good use of the internet (good advice from my daughter! [editor: thanks, Mom!]).
I’ll close for now, and I hope all of our new friends stay positive!
–Together, let’s age boldly, Bernadette
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Feature Photo Credit: Free-Photos