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58 and lost & scared...
Old 06-23-2008, 02:12 PM   #1
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58 and lost & scared...

Hello, I am new here, and am in a very scary situation.
I live in the high Desert of Calif. I had only been working at my last employer for 7 months, when the "worst possible" thing happened, my car blew up! I am now having to rely on public transportation, which is limited to three times a day, where I live. I lost my job, because the employer refused to 'work' with a M-F, 9:30-3:30pm type of schedule.
Like many, I was a 'procrastinator' about becoming older, and I never even tried to save for my future. I am also widowed from a 13 yr. live-in relationship, which there was no insurance.
I do not have much Social Security in my account either, and am basically "ignorant" of any options available to me. I am 58 and female, with no children.
I had just come out of a two yr period of very bad things happening to me. I found out that I had Cataracts, then was laid off a job, then got in a car accident three days after this, and my boyfriend passed away, all within a three month time period. It took eight months before I was able to have my eyes operated on, and I was off work from the car accident, for almost a year. I was not paid off well, from the insurance claim, and still owe the hospital and ambulance bills
Where I live, it is 10 mies from the nearest town, through open desert, and 21 miles of same terrain, to Palm Springs, which has more employment, but I am still faced with the problem of Public Transportation.
I am trying to struggle with a way to pay my rent, and I have 5 pet Cats, who range from ages of 15yrs (2 of them) down to 4 yrs. Getting rid of them is NOT an option.
I don't suppose maybe anyone has any suggestions as to how to tap into my Social Security, and still be able to find a car and employment. I have been turned-down by so many employers, because of the transportation/scheduling issue, and am getting very depressed and frustrated.
I am trying to keep 'upbeat' about my situation, and am trying to live by the "SECRET" (By Rhonda Byrne) and change my way of thinking, but it is not so easy to do., like "one step forward and four steps backwards".
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:30 PM   #2
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Hi, Carol --

Wow, you do have your plate full. I don't have any specific advice to offer you right this moment, but wanted to welcome you to this forum. There are a lot of very insightful people here, and likely you will get some good suggestions.

Hang in there.

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Old 06-23-2008, 02:45 PM   #3
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Carol,
Sorry for your troubles and Welcome .
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:53 PM   #4
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I was going to recomend checking for age controlled government subsidized housing, whether Section 8 or other programs.

I think 5 cats might be a stopper though, even if one cat might be ok. This might exist in Palm Springs.

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Old 06-23-2008, 02:54 PM   #5
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Carol,

Welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear that things have been rough for you lately. I can relate to your troubles with public transport. As a young man I spent about a year in Southern California relying on public transportation to and from work. It was only about 10 miles, but it took well over an hour each way, with a couple of transfers. Definitely not "convenient", and it made it tough to get ahead at work when my schedule was fixed. I had a couple of leads on better paying jobs, but the transportation issue torpedoes those. I eventually bootstrapped my way out of the situation, but it was painful at the time.

What type of work do you do? Do you have friends or family that are keeping you in your current location? Is a move to somewhere with better job prospects & transportation possible?

Best of luck...
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:10 PM   #6
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This may sound harsh, but you must make some serious changes to your life if you want to get back on your feet. Your first step is to relocate to somewhere that public transportation is more reliable. Since you are renting and have no job, you should be able to get your landlord to release you from your rental contract. Not to be harsh, but he may be overjoyed to have someone with 5 cats and no job leave voluntarily. If you don't want to relocate, then you must find some type of job that allows you to work around your public transportation woes. There are some work from home jobs, such as medical transcription (or more general transcription), data entry, etc... but I don't know how well they pay. The key is to start earning some money.

Related to what PB asked, do you have any friends or family that can help?
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:16 PM   #7
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Carol,
...Welcome to the forum. From here it looks like what you are doing is not working. When faced with that situation it is usually time to consider BIG changes. Try thinking "outside the box". Where do you want to be and what do you need to do to get there. IMO you should not let keeping the cats prevent you from having a better life.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:21 PM   #8
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Everyone's worst fears, I'm sorry to hear this. I, too, always give my cat the highest priority. But.... you may have to ask someone to watch them while you get your life together. HaHa's suggestion for housing sounds like something to look into. I have a friend in a section 8 apt. in Phoenix who keeps four cats (which in some places is the legal limit for four-legged animals). Best of luck to you, I'll try to think of something else.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:26 PM   #9
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Do you have a local outreach center? In my city, we have one that is able to help people in times of need. If a certain type of assistance is needed by someone that they are unable to provide, they have referral numbers to give them.

Many times churches are a good resource for help.
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Old 06-23-2008, 04:09 PM   #10
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Hello and welcome, I'm sorry to hear you're in rough times.

I would say your first step is to get some income going again. You need to do whatever it takes to make that happen, be it move to a new location, buy a very cheap used vehicle or what have you.

What type of work did you do?
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Old 06-23-2008, 04:13 PM   #11
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First of all - welcome! I am a cat lover too and understand why you don't want to give them up. Pets are such a comfort, particularly when times are difficult. If you do have to give them up, or reduce the number you have, a rescue group may be able to help you. Check petfinder.com for groups in your area. Otherwise, if you have family or friends willing to help, they may be able to take them in until you get situated.

Like others have suggested, find out what kind of assistance is available in your community. In addition, it sounds as if you will need to consider a move given you are in such a remote area with no public transportation.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:34 PM   #12
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Very sorry about the hand you've been dealt. As everyone has said, you have to generate some income which will take (preferably full time) employment. It appears transportation is your biggest barrier so you have to secure transportation or move to where there's work. Securing transportation will take a car, motorcycle, scooter, bicycle or a friend nearby you can carpool (you buy gas?) with to get you on your feet. I can't think of any easy way out, to paraphrase 'you can't do the same thing you've always done and expect different results.' Best of luck...
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:15 PM   #13
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Well, since you are asking advice - I'll give it - just don't anybody get mad at me because Carol asked - I can get a little cold & hard saying what I perceive to be the truth, so don't hold it against me & I don't mean it in a "mean" way..

Carol, this is an Early Retirement Forum - I hate to inform, but that is probably not in the cards for you in the near future (unless you can tap into some form of govt check via having a "disabled" status

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
Hello, I am new here, and am in a very scary situation.
I live in the high Desert of Calif. I had only been working at my last employer for 7 months, when the "worst possible" thing happened, my car blew up! I am now having to rely on public transportation, which is limited to three times a day, where I live.
I suggest that you need to move to a low cost of living area in town & close to work - where there is work for you - the pay is not as important as Health Insurance - you need a steady job, with health insurance, that pays enough to buy the basics of food, housing, & transport if necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
I lost my job, because the employer refused to 'work' with a M-F, 9:30-3:30pm type of schedule.
In your situation as you describe it - I would suggest that any job is better than no job IMHO - you may need to adapt your life to an employer's schedule - (beggars can't be choosers, as my mother used to say)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
Like many, I was a 'procrastinator' about becoming older, and I never even tried to save for my future. I am also widowed from a 13 yr. live-in relationship, which there was no insurance.
Lesson learned there I suppose - albeit a little too late - if you weren't legally married, then you're not really "widowed" - as much as you might feel that you are

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
I do not have much Social Security in my account either, and am basically "ignorant" of any options available to me. I am 58 and female, with no children.
I'm no expert on SS - but how many quarters do you have now? Do you know - if not you should find out - then perhaps some on here could help you figure out where you stand re: how much SS you will get & when (or your local SS office can probably enlighten you - you should have time to go down there one day since you are now not working)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
I had just come out of a two yr period of very bad things happening to me. I found out that I had Cataracts,
why you need a job with health benefits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
then was laid off a job,
laid off due to what? cutbacks? your personal schedule? or other things?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
then got in a car accident three days after this, and my boyfriend passed away, all within a three month time period.
I'm just guessing here, but was this boyfreind contributing to your income/household expenses? - providing your financial support? Unless you are married - you should not be counting on any boyfreinds to be in financial-bed with you. You should reslove to be sure you can always take care of yourself financially.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
It took eight months before I was able to have my eyes operated on, and I was off work from the car accident, for almost a year. I was not paid off well, from the insurance claim, and still owe the hospital and ambulance bills
At this point - perhaps you should call the medical folks & tell them you just don't have it - offer to pay them what you can, when you can - sending them as little $10 a month may buy you some time to figure out that situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
Where I live, it is 10 mies from the nearest town, through open desert, and 21 miles of same terrain, to Palm Springs, which has more employment, but I am still faced with the problem of Public Transportation.
Move to a town where you can get a job - & close enough to walk to work if necessary - plan not to rely on any kind of public transport, unless you are in a city that has a very good public transport system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
I am trying to struggle with a way to pay my rent, and I have 5 pet Cats, who range from ages of 15yrs (2 of them) down to 4 yrs. Getting rid of them is NOT an option.
You say getting rid of the cats is "NOT an option" - well I say yes it IS an option - you cannot take that option off the table like that considering your situation - take them to a no-kill shelter or humane society. They are a big problem to your securing/maintaining employment, housing, and managing a relocation if necessary.

We have two cats ourselves and have always had cats - I like cats, but I'd give them up in a minute (regretfully, of course) if it was important to my personal & financial future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
I don't suppose maybe anyone has any suggestions as to how to tap into my Social Security, and still be able to find a car and employment. I have been turned-down by so many employers, because of the transportation/scheduling issue, and am getting very depressed and frustrated.
As another poster said - you need BIG changes in your life- move to town, close to an employer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
I am trying to keep 'upbeat' about my situation, and am trying to live by the "SECRET" (By Rhonda Byrne) and change my way of thinking, but it is not so easy to do., like "one step forward and four steps backwards".
This last bit is very telling to me & the perhaps the biggest problem you may have in your life - This is just my personal opinion/viewpoint now, so nobody get mad at me but..... I've read "The Secret" & seen the video (a person close to me bought it) - it's really nothing more than what I call "MAGICAL THINKING!" A bunch of Hooey.

And from the limited information you've provided about yourself & your life thus far, I am suspecting you have been engaging in this type of thought process for quite some time - Magical Thinking, that is - that as long as you are a good person & hope & pray hard enough then god, karma, the cosmos, whatever, will provide for you & "every little thing, gonna be alright" (in the words of the late Bob Marley)

You need to throw this book & video away (and all others you have like it) IMHO and commit to living in REALITY & seeing things for how they really are - the good, bad, & ugly - not how you might hope & pray for them to be.

Making a decision to live your financial life by the pure truths of MATH, logic, and rational thinking will help more than anything else - (Math never lies) to offset the setbacks of misfortune & happenstance that we all experience from time to time & to one degree or another lives.

I don't have a god belief myself, or any other kind of superstition - but I respect the beliefs of those who do, and for those who do I can only offer the old adage of "God helps those who help themselves" - don't wait for someone or something to come to your rescue (including Social Security) - take the bull by the horns & matters into your own hands.

Good luck to you - and I hope some of my thoughts on the matter are of help to you. (and that I haven't offended you or anyone else on here)
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:46 PM   #14
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One thought -- is your apt. big enough to get a housemate in, or can you move in with someone else? This would greatly reduce your housing costs, for a start.

Yes, the cats might have to go somewhere else for a while / forever. But you've got to look at this realistically. You are one more illness / piece of bad luck from the street. How well will you be able to take care of your cats when you're living rough or in and out of shelters?

If you have to find good homes for them in order to take care of yourself, then that's what's best for all of you.

Good luck to you.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:49 PM   #15
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Carol,
You have skills, ability, and intelligence, shown by your ability to post with excellent English skills in a lucid manner on this forum.
Where is the nearest women's or homeless shelter near you? Hopefully counseling will be available there.
You know you need help. Gather your courage and seek it in person. Don't be afraid to accept the charity of others. You can pay it back when you get back on your feet. It will take time.
If you don't do it for you, do it for your cats.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toofrugalformycat View Post
Carol,
You have skills, ability, and intelligence, shown by your ability to post with excellent English skills in a lucid manner on this forum.
Where is the nearest women's or homeless shelter near you? Hopefully counseling will be available there.
You know you need help. Gather your courage and seek it in person. Don't be afraid to accept the charity of others. You can pay it back when you get back on your feet. It will take time.
If you don't do it for you, do it for your cats.
Agreed - perhaps some of what I posted earlier tended to focus too much on the negatives/hard realities/etc - "toofrugalformycat" has some very good points also - be realistic, but don't forget to look for & focus upon your positives - I too believe everyone has it within themselves to turn things around
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:23 AM   #17
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Welcome to the board Carol....lot of great people and advice.
I am sorry for the hard few months that you have had.....the worst thing you can do is to have these events paralyze you.
There are a lot of state funded options for you: woman's shelter, local church, angel food ministries, career counseling, section 8,.....just call your local municipal center and ask for help.
As women, the WORST thing we can do is expect that a guy will take care of us. A few of friends are still in that mentality and I just hope and pray that they will not have to hit bottom to realize that their financial life needs to be in their hands, not their husbands/boyfriends.
You can and will get through this....it will take a lot of work, but it is doable.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:35 AM   #18
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I agree with Texarkandy.....

Move to a place where you can find a job... tap your friends for a help up (that is if you have not tapped them out already... talking from experience here with someone I know that has many of the same problems you do)...

BUT, another harsh comment.... You would rather keep your cats and go down the drain even more than get rid of them? This does not sound like good thinking to me... your FIRST priority is YOU.... not your animals....
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:18 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol Heartburg View Post
and I have 5 pet Cats, who range from ages of 15yrs (2 of them) down to 4 yrs. Getting rid of them is NOT an option.
So who put you in charge? If you are so all-powerful, why didn't you make all the earlier negative events "NOT an option"? Or is this a skill found too late for that?

(In any event, IMHO, you need to go forward with your eyes wide open and without any idealogical preconceived ideas of how things are supposed to be. Do what has to be done... you know better than me what that might be.)
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:42 AM   #20
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Just to focus on the plus side a bit here, you had a job and you can get another. Your obstacles are significant, and should be treated that way, but can certainly be overcome. You'll be ok Carol We just have to get you on the right track here.

So we're going to focus on getting income and healthcare via a full time job. Then once the basics are covered (rent, food, healthcare, utilities etc) we'll re-assess and see where to go from there. If your income is too low, we're going to take a class or read a book to grow. Check out different careers or look for new jobs and get the income up.

Soon enough you'll have things under control and we can talk saving and wise investing for the longer term. You'll be ok.
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