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Plight of older people
Old 11-21-2019, 02:14 PM   #1
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Plight of older people

I keep reading stories of the plight of older people with taxes/rent/food/transportation/health care, etc. I grew up in a lower middle class family in a lower middle class neighborhood and never saw any of this. None of my parents friends are in this boat and none of my relatives are.


Who are these people? And why are they in such bad situations? Is it bad planning? Bad judgement? Poor life styles?


And why is society responsible for any of this? I guess I'm perplexed.
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Old 11-21-2019, 02:38 PM   #2
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I know a lady who is divorced, husband had job "off the books". So no regular Social Security, only SSI, which is very low. She has no job skills, relies on her son for survival and doing odd jobs. Very precarious situation for her that doesn't get better with time.
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Old 11-21-2019, 02:46 PM   #3
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I keep reading stories of the plight of older people with taxes/rent/food/transportation/health care, etc. I grew up in a lower middle class family in a lower middle class neighborhood and never saw any of this. None of my parents friends are in this boat and none of my relatives are.


Who are these people? And why are they in such bad situations? Is it bad planning? Bad judgement? Poor life styles?


And why is society responsible for any of this? I guess I'm perplexed.
Not responsible for, but maybe "society" should care a little and want to help?
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Old 11-21-2019, 02:50 PM   #4
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I know of some elderly relatives who would be in a tough spot if they did not have any offsprings who took them in.
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Old 11-21-2019, 02:56 PM   #5
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I keep reading stories of the plight of older people with taxes/rent/food/transportation/health care, etc. I grew up in a lower middle class family in a lower middle class neighborhood and never saw any of this. None of my parents friends are in this boat and none of my relatives are.

Who are these people? And why are they in such bad situations? Is it bad planning? Bad judgement? Poor life styles?

The Boston Globe had an article just this week where it stated that in Mass, 62% of people over the age of 65 are living with "elder economic insecurity".

Excerpt: "Massachusetts tops all states in the share of single people over 65 whose income doesn’t cover living expenses such as food, housing, health care, and transportation....The state ranks third, after Vermont and New York, in economic insecurity for seniors in two-person households....“The perception of seniors in Massachusetts is they’re comfortable economically, they’re well-off, and they’re looking for leisure activities,” “The reality is the vast majority of seniors here are focused on meeting basic needs.”."

I know I live in an Ivory Tower but I find this hard to believe. Like you, I'm asking 'who are these people'? Especially here in Mass where, while we have a high COL, we also have some of the most progressive and generous social programs.

Yes, I know that there are always people out there with problems/hard luck/poor life choices, but the vast majority!?
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:00 PM   #6
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Many people simply never made enough money to pay basic living expenses and still save enough for their retired years. I know some of these people that have as much as $25K in their 401K--and social security--to get by on in retirement.

And why did they not make enough money? Many chose to not graduate high school, or get job skills where they'd be worth something in the job market. Many had parents and grandparents that were also underskilled people. It runs in families, and is a product of bad personal decisions.

And it's this group of people that may not have enough food on the table, but they find the money to buy cigarettes and beer. First things first.

Now the children and grandchildren live the same lifestyle. And they like the escape that marijuana, pills, meth and heroin give from street drugs. And it's this generation that the government won't admit that are dying of opioid overdoses.

It's not just their bad decisions that's sad, but the bad decisions they've taught to their children who taught their grandchildren how not to live.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:00 PM   #7
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I can think of many reasons:
Children take advantage of parents, who can least afford it.
Spouses die.
People lose everything due to medical expenses.
Predatory lending is rampant.
Lack of education.
What family or neighborhood you were born into.

I could go on and on. It isn't always anything they did directly. Yes it would be lovely if everyone could pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but some people don't even have boots or know where to get them.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:30 PM   #8
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I know that I am looking at this from a small data point, but my Dad was a dairy delivery man (who remembers that!), a clerk at a hardware store and a school janitor. My mom was a part time school lunch cook and stay at home mom. They did just fine as pretty much all of the other people in the neighborhood who had similar jobs. So is this a "new" situation? And if so what happened??
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:39 PM   #9
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My dad was a worker in a textile mill (a loomfixer) and my mom .... a weaver, in the same mill. After I graduated from college in 1958, my first job paid $100/week. It was the same pay as my dad was receiving @ age 52.

We think of progress being steady.

Our family income was probably at the median, and my brother and I never felt poor.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:40 PM   #10
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The linked AARP article below is a few years old (2014 data) but probably not too far off from today. It lists by state the percentage of people that rely on SS for 90% or more of their income. The average percentage for all the US states is 23% with an average SS income of $1308/mo ($15696/year). Not exactly a livable income.

https://www.aarp.org/ppi/info-2015/p...-by-state.html
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:40 PM   #11
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............
And why is society responsible for any of this? I guess I'm perplexed.
There is a best selling book that deals with this. No author listed, generally comes in black.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:43 PM   #12
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My sister in Connecticut with a HS education (Husband also) live in a lower class neighborhood for 40 years now. That area has turned into a crime-ridden slum and they have no means to move since their 100 year old 3 story house is now worth nothing (it's paid for). They have never been able to save much and my Sis's company left CT and let everybody go years ago. Husband is handicapped and gets a small amount of SSDI ($800/mo?).

Both are mid-70's with filing health and just getting by with some help from their son, who has a family and is struggling too. They are literally broke and the town has raised the taxes on their old house to a point where it's either medical stuff or pay the taxes. When I go back there for a visit I am just perplexed as to how bad things have gotten in that town when it was a haven for manufacturing.

The community has gone to hell and those old folks stuck in it are pretty much screwed.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:46 PM   #13
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Iíve remained friendly with a couple of former neighbors. One called me earlier today and mentioned that the other neighbor (82) that he helps out with small chores and transportation to the store, bank and cleaners had to put back a bunch of groceries she had put in her cart because she didnít have enough money to pay for them. I know she was forced to sell her house and move to where she is now for health reasons and battled, successfully, cancer. Her only child has passed as has her husband. She doesnít have any family within a thousand miles and her mobility is so limited she can really only go outside to let her dog out without help. And the poor dog is really old too. A local friend she is estranged from now got her into an assisted living facility 2 years ago that even accepted her dog but she broke herself out and returned to her apartment because she didnít like it there. So, bad decisions, and health issues for her with no close loved ones nearby. As a lone wolf myself I hope Iím not witnessing my own future.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:47 PM   #14
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I know that I am looking at this from a small data point, but my Dad was a dairy delivery man (who remembers that!), a clerk at a hardware store and a school janitor. My mom was a part time school lunch cook and stay at home mom. They did just fine as pretty much all of the other people in the neighborhood who had similar jobs. So is this a "new" situation? And if so what happened??
I believe what happened is that many of this type of job have disappeared and those that still exist no longer pay enough to support a household.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:50 PM   #15
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I can think of many reasons:
Children take advantage of parents, who can least afford it.
Spouses die.
People lose everything due to medical expenses.
Predatory lending is rampant.
Lack of education.
What family or neighborhood you were born into.

I could go on and on. It isn't always anything they did directly. Yes it would be lovely if everyone could pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but some people don't even have boots or know where to get them.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:51 PM   #16
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Predatory lending is rampant.
Roger that.

Consider the small, flag-draped, used-car lots that sell low-end vehicles for zero $$ up front, because the buyers haven't got squat to put anything down. The seller knows he'll be repossessing 90% of those cars within a couple of months and selling them again. The "Rule of 78" means the dealer is simply collecting interest on his capital.

I have never driven past a payday loan outfit without also seeing a check cashing storefront or car title lender within 300 yards. Different names, but the same industry: charging interest that makes credit card rates feel like a bargain.

Need an instant $600? Just fill out the form, promise to pay it back in two weeks with only a $25 service charge, and the money's yours.

Of course, in 2 weeks the borrower won't have the $625, so he goes to the next one down the road, borrows again so he can pay off the first loan, and the Venus flytrap closes on another hapless victim.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:57 PM   #17
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Roger that.

Consider the small, flag-draped, used-car lots that sell low-end vehicles for zero $$ up front, because the buyers haven't got squat to put anything down. The seller knows he'll be repossessing 90% of those cars within a couple of months and selling them again. The "Rule of 78" means the dealer is simply collecting interest on his capital.

I have never driven past a payday loan outfit without also seeing a check cashing storefront or car title lender within 300 yards. Different names, but the same industry: charging interest that makes credit card rates feel like a bargain.

Need an instant $600? Just fill out the form, promise to pay it back in two weeks with only a $25 service charge, and the money's yours.

Of course, in 2 weeks the borrower won't have the $625, so he goes to the next one down the road, borrows again so he can pay off the first loan, and the Venus flytrap closes on another hapless victim.

But how do you get yourself into that situation in the first place?
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:59 PM   #18
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I have never driven past a payday loan outfit without also seeing a check cashing storefront or car title lender within 300 yards. Different names, but the same industry: charging interest that makes credit card rates feel like a bargain.

Yep, and there's usually a pawn shop close by. Many military towns have them just outside the front gate of the installation. In AZ they banned payday loan businesses but one of our elite state representatives is trying to reverse the ban, probably not to hard to guess who is contributing to his campaign.
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:02 PM   #19
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Some people can live on very little. Some just can't do it, regardless of age. When an elderly can't do it, it's really sad. My aunt (in her mid 80's) gives money to grandkids for their birthdays, graduations, etc. She came to borrow money from my mom recently because she couldn't keep up. My aunt was fine when her husband was still alive. Now having less money coming in with him dead, all the savings are gone because she was still spending money the same way. My mom had to show my aunt (my mom's sister) how to budget and had her cut her credit card. Her children don't know. She's too embarrassed to admit to her children that there's no money to give for their kids' celebrations, etc. It's sad.

My aunt's government pension is about $1,500/mo. She lives in an in-law unit of the house that she built with her daughter's family and her daughter pays all the utility bills. The house is paid for. The only thing my aunt is responsible for is to pay for the property taxes (which is very small), so the rest of the money is all hers - to spend on food, hobbies, and whatever she wants to do with it. Obviously, $1,500/mo isn't much money, but I think it's enough to feed yourself, plus som. e. She would have enough money if she didn't keep on gifting money to her grandkids, and buying shoes on credit...
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:04 PM   #20
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Not everything is under people’s control. Have enough bad luck and it takes it’s toll. Plus poor people can’t afford to make any mistakes. People with money can recover.
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