Teresa Law

How will we pay the bills when we retire?  We’re barely paying the bills now.  The truth is, I don’t see how I’m ever going to be able to stop working. 

We don’t make enough to save and have no pension coming.  What about 401(k)s?  We did have one while my husband worked at a foundry.  But then he was injured and we spent all of our 401(k) on groceries and our mortgage while I looked for work and he applied for disability. 

I’m now a home care worker who helps elderly patients do everything they can’t do themselves—that includes moving them in and out of beds, baths, and cars.  It’s a strenuous job that I can’t do forever.  I don’t know a single home care worker over age 70 and that’s not because they retire.  I’ll have to do what they do and start a new job at a dollar store. 

When I hear politicians say that 401(k)s are the answer to retirement security, I know it’s because they’ve never walked a step in my shoes or the shoes of other working Americans.   Do they know what happens when Americans can’t afford to save or have to spend their 401(k) because of an emergency? 

Keep working and working.  I’d like to see these politicians try and dig ditches or carry patients when they’re 70 years old.  Could they live off $14,000 a year, the average Social Security benefit?  That’s all I’d have to live on if ever I stopped working in my 70s.

Retirement’s supposed to be a time when you cherish your family and tell your grandchildren the stories your grandparents had time to tell you. For me, retirement will be the time to pick up a second, low-paying career.