SAN ANTONIO – Inflation is putting a strain on everyone, but those living their Golden Years on a fixed income are struggling to decide what bills to pay.
Robert Highland, now in his 70s, retired after working many odd jobs and some short careers in law enforcement and prisons. When he retired at 67, he thought he was set.
“I thought I could live on Social Security, plus, you know, whatever small side job I can pick up,” he said.
But after a series of unfortunate events that took Highland’s safety net away, such as his home and vehicle, he finds himself stretched thin.
“If I’ve got, you know, $25, $30 in the bank before my next paycheck comes in, I’m doing pretty good,” he said.
Highland said he wishes he could have made a better financial plan. He’s urging young people to save while they can.
“Don’t blow it just because you got it,” he said. “Get a good house, make sure your kids got food and stuff, but don’t go out and buy a bunch of stuff you don’t actually have to have.”
Joseph Warren with Financial Planning HQ says clients close to retirement or newly retired are usually on edge when the market goes down. He tells them to be frugal where they can be.
“Ask yourself on each expense: Does it bring you joy? And if it doesn’t, look to cut it out so you can just weather this because it’s temporary. The market runs in cycles. It’s not going to last forever,” Warren explained.
How much you need to live on depends on the type of lifestyle you’d like to have, he says.
“Some people can live off of a very low amount of money and be very happy. And then some people need a certain baseline -- kind of ‘keeping up with the Joneses,’ to be happy,” Warren said.
He encourages those in the workforce to set aside funds from each paycheck to make investments. Also, build up your savings to have something to live on for one to two years if something goes south.
And very importantly, find an objective person to give you financial advice.
“You’re living all the emotional rollercoaster of it, but someone else can be like, ‘Hey, this is a good move. This is why,’” Warren said.