I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a woman who invested a majority of her money in the housing market, suffered the results of the 2008 market crash, and now has moved and reduced her expenses to live a decent retirement.
This certainly isn’t the only story of baby boomers trying to sort out a comfortable retirement. The article cites that in 2012 about 43% of people age 65 and older are in debt. I personally know one of those people.
I am very close with my grandma. She has lived next door to me my whole life. She has been at every barbeque, class recital, and even came to my senior thesis presentation. Now, I live with her to keep an eye on her.
Her home as been in our family since it was built. Our family, Herman and Wilhelmina came from Germany and bought a large parcel of land. They built a cabin on the land and then sold other pieces off to other good Germans. The family continued to build on the cabin and turned it into a two-story home that now is about 100 years old.
This house is more than just a place to live. It is our family and our history. My grandma inherited the home from her “Pa” when she was in her early 20s. She’s always had a mortgage. They needed to take out a loan to build the second story, and since then it’s always stuck around. It’s been there through refinancing and new roofs.
Now, my sentimental grandma is 72 with a $60,000 mortgage. She has a tough time with money in general, so it’s not surprising - just sad considering the home has been in our family for so long.
It’s my mission to help her in any way I can. I’ve already started to pay the water bills for her and helped her buy a new dryer last month. My game plan and motivation for paying off my own debt is to then take on the house and get it finished up. I hope my granny is around for a long time, but getting it paid off early for her would be a big relief.