In three month’s time I’ll have lived in my own modest house for two years. It’s so hard to believe. And I still love it here even while I am nervous about expenses and can’t do nearly as much as I’d like to to make this home special.
The problem is that I have zero disposable income. I’m not sure if I’m considered “working poor” but so far, I cannot save a penny. It’s all I can do to not borrow from my little savings to get by each month. If I could even get to a point where I could save $100 a month, I’d feel pretty proud of myself.
At this point I’m learning that I will have to wait for next year’s tax refund to take care of more expensive issues, like yard projects. And with the tax change this year, I’m not sure I’ll get as much back as I did this year.
I received a six percent raise on July 1st and honestly can’t say that its made any difference. Not sure if it’s simply because I put a little more money aside into pre-tax deductions for medical costs through work. I haven’t sat down to figure out why I haven’t felt my financial load easing due to my raise.
I suppose in some ways I am saving — I just can’t access it. I have read, and confirmed with my mortgage lender that if you make one extra house payment per year, you can reduce your home loan by seven years. Each month I pay $100 extra toward my loan balance, which adds up to more than one extra payment a year. So with any luck the extra $1,200 paid each year will take my 30 year loan and turns it into a 23 year loan, or maybe less.
But I turned 61 in June so it’s not likely I’ll be able to continue to work to pay off this house. And paying off this house is the only way I’ll be able to scrape by in retirement. In short, I’m fucked.
But I knew that before I bought the home, of course.
I knew that when my ex dumped me and left me alone, broke, and bankrupt.
My very elderly parents are in fragile health. I stop by to see them on my way home about 4-5 days a week. Dad has COPD and it is running it’s ugly course. Mom fell and got a concussion several months back and has lost her sense of smell/taste and is losing weight like crazy. My childhood trauma from being their kid is taking a backseat to the fact that I’m really all they have and I plan to do all I can for them.
I spend time pondering what I will do when dad goes (he’ll probably be first to go) and figure I will probably have to move in w/ my mom to help her. But in helping her, can I manage to also help myself a little? Like renting this place out and paying the loan down some more? Maybe, but I will also have to give to her to help her. It will still be very tight.
I’ll be so sad to leave this home, and something may happen where it may not come to that, but mom has said that neither of them will be able to manage when one of them goes. They made mistakes, too. They have earned a lot of money in their lives and have very little to show for it. They’ve borrowed so much off their home, that they only have a little more equity in their home than I do!
But I can’t judge them. I’ve fucked up my own life too much to do that.
I wish I could take good care of my health so that I can be as healthy as possible and live a long life and keep working, but I am as heavy as ever and I seem to get sick a lot.
Many people my age are slowing down. I guess I hope I can keep working and then just die suddenly. That’s about all that would work for me.
I also hope that when my parents do go, and I’ve settled their little estate, that my own daughter and her husband will consider inviting me to live in their home. I don’t know if they will. I know I’ll never ask. Of course my plan B is always suicide.
But it would be nice to meet someone who finds me interesting and funny and loving and enjoys spending time with me and share my financial load. After four husbands I simply can’t fathom who that would be, especially with my embarrassment about being fat.
I don’t even want to go look up the stats about single women over 60 verses single men. What’s the point? We outnumber single men by about 6,000 to one, I believe. Add to that that I’m pretty picky and well, there’s no point.
So I do not go out seeking men. I don’t sign up on dating sites and I don’t go to bars. I’ve never been a good flirt. And yet I’m fairly resentful about women my age who have partners.
The sad part is that I think I’m a fairly interesting person and I that’s what I wish I could share with someone. My sense of humor. My odd interests. And I want to laugh at someone else’s jokes and learn about things they like.
In the meantime I have done something amazing in the last couple of months. I bought a four year old cat from the “shy” room at my local humane society. It’s been pretty great learning how to share my home with this wild creature.
I’m not at all happy having to deal with cat hair on my new furniture and stinky kitty litter, but she’s worth it. We talk to one another, sleep with one another, and I put on videos of kitties, birds, and bears for her when I leave the house. She had been at the shelter for six weeks and I was sure she’d be there for another six, so I picked her.
I thought about starting this blog up again and writing on a more consistent basis as I used to, but I’m going to take it a day at a time. I don’t really know how this post comes across, but I’m not feeling particularly depressed tonight — I’m just calling it like it is. It’s the hand I was dealt and dealt for myself.
If I were a real writer and could better express the challenges of being a single, sixty (one) year old woman, and living in today’s world on a tight budget with an uncertain future, I’d do it. I figure there must be more women like me out there.
If you’re out there, please let me know!