Thanks to Boston Gal for linking to this story on public radio: Putting a New Value on the Golden Years.
I have very mixed feelings as I read it.
Pretty much, any story about a single (in Meredith McKenzie's case, widowed) older woman coping with today's economic environment captures my interest. I think it is cool that she gave up real estate (or, it gave her up) to take a lesser-paying but more emotionally fruitful position helping to protect the environment. She was able to turn volunteer work into a second career, which is also admirable, though funding for her position is now in question. And she is able to adapt from renting a large home on the beach, to a one room, converted garage--again, making do with what she (no longer) has.
But what about her lack of savings?
My God! She's 56 years old, and has apparently been a widow for more than a decade. Not to mention, she was earning six figures! How could she NOT have saved anything?
I don't have a lot of room to talk--I didn't start serious savings until I was in my late 40's. I have my excuses: my child-rearing didn't end until last year; I wasn't earning anywhere near six figures; I--oh, never mind! The truth is, I just wasn't paying attention.
Then again, what about Meredith's lack of real estate? I mean, she was in the business. You'd think she might have saved toward a down payment, if not for retirement.
Meredith scares me because I can see how easily I might be her! And yet, she seems like the kind of person who would be great to be friends with, or to have to dinner.
I guess I just wouldn't take financial advice from her!