Invest in knowledge: Senior citizens need money management skills

Feb 13, 2014


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  

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.



Re: " significantly less income"

Not surprised.

The Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) of the Fed. Resv. has helped to destroy the savings of seniors.


I find it interesting that AARP, a branch of the Democrat party, is trying to tell todays senior citizens that they need better money management skills.

Instead of telling the seniors that how about going to the fed gov't and telling them to tighten their belts. Once again the debt ceiling has been raised by Pres. Obama and his spend thrift ways have caused many of todays seniors to become poorer each and every day. My parents did a good saving for retirement but the decrease in benefits they are receiving from the fed gov't means they must spend more of their savings. Instead of giving more money and creating more "freebie" programs for the lazy, healthy young slobs of today maybe they are the ones that should be getting "down sized".


It's ironic that in the same paragraph you say you want the federal government to tighten their belt and you complain about the "freebies" but you also complain about the decrease in federal government benefits to your parents. So which do you want? We have been living on retirement money for a number of years. There has been very little change in our income. The squeese is on from higher food prices, utilities, cable, doctor bills, medication, clothing, and every other cost associated with normal living. You sound like you are afraid your parents are going to have to live off their retirement leaving less for you to inherit.


Re: "The squeese is on from higher food prices, utilities, cable, doctor bills, medication, clothing, and every other cost associated with normal living."

And yet 'officially' there is little-to-no inflation.


Exactly Contango. Increased costs for their medicare supplement premium along with decreased co-pay on some of their medication contributes as well. As far as what I receive when my parents pass on is not a concern of mine. They are the ones that worked for that money and they can spend it on whatever the heck they want.


I quit membership in AARP years ago when their agenda turned more liberal and they began supporting candidates whose views I did not share. They don't speak for me.


Re: "AARP"

Why does this wealthy special interest group receive tens of millions of dollars ($83M - 2007) annually in taxpayer dollars?

Mostly just a slush fund to help support economically ruinous progressive-socialist policies.

Not a member.


I agree. I thought the AARP was a good thing so I joined. Now it's just another scam. I also dropped my membership.