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Invest in knowledge: Senior citizens need money management skills

Register • Feb 13, 2014 at 6:10 AM

The December 2013 AARP Bulletin published an interesting table that showed how older Americans, ages 65 and older, are living on significantly less income compared to those who are ages 45-64. In Ohio, the median income of ages 45-64 was reported to be $57,396 per year. For Ohioans older than 65, that changes to $33,901 per year.


This means half of older Ohioans are living on more than $33,901 per year, and the other half is living on less than $33,901 per year.

If you are feeling trapped and financially stressed, you are not alone. According to “Serving Our Seniors 2012 Older Adult Needs Study” one-third of Erie County’s older adults live on their credit cards. The majority of them are paying only the minimum required payment each month on the credit card balance owed.

Despite the need for money management skills, Serving Our Seniors study showed only 5 percent of those surveyed had an interest in learning how to manage money. In other words, out of a population of more than 18,600 people older than 60, who live in Erie County, there appears to be 6,138 who are spending more than they make; and 930 who are interested in learning how to live within their means.

Living on a budget is difficult. It means coming to terms with having to do without things that are wanted. This could mean selling the house that is no longer in the budget to maintain and repair. Or having to give up a luxury apartment for a more modest unit, in order to have enough money to live on — and not rely on the credit card.

In six years 29.4 percent of Erie County will be age 60 and older. The best way to assure successful aging is to address those issues that make an older person vulnerable. Spending more than what one makes does make a person vulnerable. Serving Our Seniors would like to offer a course to teach Erie County’s senior population how to manage money. However, we are unsure how to offer this learning opportunity so people are comfortable attending and learning.

Should the teaching be offered one-on-one?

In small group of people who are in similar financial circumstances?

And how many people do you consider a “small” group?

Should the class be large made up of people with a broad array of financial stressors?

What learning environment would you prefer?

We’d like to know what you think.

If this topic is of interest to you, call and let us know at 419-624-1856 or 800-564-1856. Or drop us a note at Serving Our Seniors, 310 E. Boalt St., Sandusky, 44870 or by email to mail@servingourseniors.org.  

I’ll close with a quote from Benjamin Franklin with hopes it will motivate you to reply. “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”

Ask Serving our Seniors

Q: I think my memory is changing, and I want to know what kind of games I can use to keep my memory from worsening. And is it true that food can improve brain health?

A: The person best suited to answer memory change questions is Brenda Hendricks, gerontologist with the Alzheimer’s Association of NW Ohio. Each month Serving Our Seniors hosts “Chat with Brenda” 1-2 p.m. at Sandusky Community Church of the Nazarene. She also takes private appointments 2:15-3 p.m. and 3:15-4 p.m. at Serving Our Seniors office. You do not have to attend “Chat with Brenda” to make a private appointment.

Call Serving Our Seniors for information at 419-624-1856.

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