Yahoo News is publishing first-person perspectives from Americans 65 or older who have returned to the workforce after retiring or who have picked up a second job to bolster their income. These personal stories come on the heels of an Associated Press poll that says 82 percent of workers 50 and older say it’s at least somewhat likely they will work during their retirement years. Forty-seven percent, meanwhile, said they’ll retire later than planned. Here’s one account.
FIRST PERSON | Our house was almost in foreclosure. My husband had been a successful mortgage broker and because of the recession his job literally evaporated. I had been a caterer, but had stopped catering years before. Our savings was gone. Our Social Security wasn’t close to covering our expenses; and I was entering a deep depression. I didn’t know where the next dollar would come from.
I couldn’t believe that at age 66, I would be in this predicament, but I remembered the mantra my husband has lived by: “If you keep the door open, somebody will come in!” What this principle meant now was, we must keep thinking, searching and talking to people and we would find our way again.
In the ’70s my husband was in his 20s. For years the price of gold was valued at $300 an ounce and it jumped to $800. The smart fellow I am married to opened kiosks in grocery stores buying gold with a bank of $500 and a card table. In a matter of months, he had made a small fortune; and because it was not his main job, he decided to invest this money to make him very rich. He invested in oil wells and gold futures and anything else that tickled his fancy. It was not a smart decision after all; because he lost it all. A life lesson learned; but the whole experience always stayed in the back of his mind.
One day a year and a half ago, he told me he had decided what we were going to do. I said, “What do you mean, we?” You my lovely wife are going to work with me; and we are going to buy gold! We borrowed a few thousand from a very kind and generous friend and leased a store. Yes, I now drive to work 20 miles and another 20 heading home on a big highway with big scary trucks; but in the past year and a half we have been able to save our house, put food on the table and even save for a daughter’s wedding. We have now opened a second store: I run one and hubby the other.
There are three reasons people sell their gold jewelry. Unworn jewelry has been sitting in their drawer for twenty years and they know they can get a lot of money for it, or they are getting a divorce and they can’t wait to get those gifts out of their site, or they really need the money. This third reason pulls on my heartstrings, because not too long ago I was where they are. I talk with these people about my story and tell them that life is cyclical and some parts of life are up and some are down. I wish them luck and send them on their way…sometimes with more money then I should have paid out. Don’t tell my husband!
Honestly, if I were asked if I like my job, I would have to say no. My life had been full of creative choices, and I now feel like a prisoner, locked behind a wall and my bullet-proof glass!
I had always dreamed I would be living a leisurely life at this age: traveling, spending time with grandchildren or doing absolutely nothing. Don’t think that I am not grateful for what I now have, because I am. The bottom line is that we do what we have to do and until we can do better. This is where I am. I have not lost my dreams.