I was talking with my Mom the other day. The conversation went something like this:
“I talked with my financial planner, and I am going to be able to retire by 66,” she said. “And when I asked him, how long I could live, taking the amount I need to survive, he said ‘forever.’”
That may seem pretty rad, but like a whole lot of people, she is one dramatic health event away from ZERO retirement dollars. ONE! Well, she’d have social security, but that wouldn’t be enough to live on.
My sweet 74-year old Dad’s an artist and is collecting Social Security now. His income is super fixed—obviously, people don’t typically become artists for the money, even though he has work in museums and is a super star. Death makes artists rich, not life.
The good news is that their house will be paid off in three years. The bad news is that they have a three-story house on a whole lot of acres that require a whole lot of maintenance and it’s out in the middle of Nowheresville. All I can think about is one of them falling down the steps with no one to hear their screams except wildlife that have no opposable thumbs or 911 dialing capabilities.
America? You could learn a thing or two.
I think a lot of people are in a similar boat. You know, the boat that is one petite iceberg away from busting in half and sinking to the bottom of the ocean? Americans could learn a lot from other cultures. For instance, how they live in multigenerational households and support one another.
Welcome to the Debt Girl Retirement Community. Now accepting Mom(s) and Dad(s).
So, when it comes down to it, I am not putting my parents in a retirement home. I am making them come live with me. Why? They did it for me! Plus, elderly people live longer when they are surrounded by things or people or pets that engage them and LOVE them.
I can be that loving thing/people/pet! And of course they are going to piss me off (and vice-versa), and likely on a frequent basis, but that’s what family is about, right? And the America we live in now is not one of huge wealth, pension plans, and lavish, resort-style assisted-living (unless you have one gazillion dollars.) And if you do, I doubt you are reading this blog.
How do you feel about the multigenerational household? What are you going to do differently, given the current (and sad) economic outlook?
Stay classy, America.
Sylvia aka Debt Girl