Poverty can befall anyone in any walk of life. But seniors in this state can face some stiffer challenges. An elderly person with health problems is less likely to be able to improve their financial situation.
And those health issues can consume an already meager income rapidly.
Lest we give in to the temptation to dismiss this scenario as being something a senior citizen must have brought on themselves ... it can also happen to older people who have saved and managed their money wisely, but who encountered negative circumstances that were beyond their control.
A Feb. 15, 2011 article on Msn.com said that forty years ago, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security were instituted by the federal government as protection for seniors from poverty.
Things looked up markedly in the lives of the average senior citizen after that. But these programs are not so secure now that the federal government has been considering cutting back on them.
Illness demanding extensive medical care can empty the coffers for an elderly person who lacks medical coverage. Investments can plummet, gutting retirement coffers.
Being out of work can erase an essential element from the retirement picture. Spiraling mortgages and interest rates can leave seniors without a roof over their heads. The havoc of the housing market left many dazed and some, no longer homeowners.
Nobody wants to concede that it is possible for someone to work and save all their lives and nevertheless end up losing it all. If it can happen to them, it can happen to us.
The truth is it can and does happen. It's not only older people who didn't look ahead who can end up with meager funds to work with.
This can also happen to seniors whose plans were well-intended but flawed, whose interest rates changed, and whose investments did not reap the hoped-for returns.
Financial advisors more interested in their own wallets than their clients' have gutted the retirements and dreams for many. For the young people who have been victimized, at least they know they have time to rebuild.