Shirley, an early reader of The Difference


Occupation: Retired, formally an artist and in sales

Personal life: 70 years old, widowed

Biggest financial concerns:
To survive on my own, both in health and financially. When I turned 69 in the fall of 2007, I thought things were going to get rough. I knew my beloved husband was getting to a place where he was not going to be alive much longer. Because of negative financial investments 10 years before, we were already financially strapped, living on a very limited income from his years in sales. Living in a rental, we were already living close to the bone, even with the minimal income he was able to work for. So, we had planned what to do and how I should proceed. Well, was I surprised when I thought it was outlined and would be difficult at best—but it was even worse than I had ever imagined. 

The day after he died, the reality began. All of his income stopped and I was left with a very small savings account and an outgo twice as much as what the social security I was going to receive would handle. So I had to move very fast. I searched out housing for myself. Even a small rental was way out of my reach, and then I remembered that mobile housing could be a choice. Being very blessed, I was so fortunate to find a needy fixer-upper in a nice mobile home park for seniors. It took every bit of money I had, plus I had to borrow to get moved into this new home. I left everything I knew in our happy home and neighborhood, moving while still numb from my losses—both of my dear partner and all income.