There is a Tragic Trend on the Streets, Homeless Baby Boomer Women.
I don’t get “uptown” much anymore, but recently my work had taken me there daily for a couple months. I was stunned by the number of gray-haired homeless Baby Boomer women panhandlers. Whether homeless or just can’t make it on Social Security I don’t know. This is a truly tragic situation. I hope to shine some light on how we can keep from ending up there. As well as suggest we have some compassion toward these people.
In 2014 there were 306,000 people over the age of 50 living on the streets. That’s 31% of the homeless population. Many are part of the leading edge of Baby Boomers born between 1955 and 1965. (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) Tragically, the number of homeless Baby Boomer women is rising. There are much more vulnerable and have health challenges that are hard to tend to while living on the street.
Sylvia Welker, 70, in her wheelchair, was evicted about five years ago from her home.
Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Why is this happening?
Surviving homelessness is a struggle at any age, but for a graying generation, it can be brutal. Realities such as fewer job opportunities, diminished income, rising medical costs, and infirmity can make homelessness both easier to fall into and harder to escape.
There are many reasons why a person may end up living on the streets. Some have been forced to homelessness after losing a job in the last downturn in 2008. Finding a job after age 55 can be near impossible. In fact, most of us are just one paycheck away from being a homeless Baby Boomer women.
Kathlene Fox and Pork Chop.(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
Nearly 2.9 million women live in poverty in retirement.
The reason? They rely solely on Social Security. The average Social Security payment for women age 62 is around $1096 per month or $13,150 per year. That is if a woman works consistently for 40 years making at least $40,000 each year.
Among people over age 65, 47% are single women. It seems that those of us who have been single for a very long time are not at as much risk as women who have more recently become single either by divorce or death of their spouse.
The suddenly single Baby Boomer women difference.
We ‘Ever Singles’, either never married or became single long ago, have worked to care for ourselves so we at least have paid into our Social Security accounts for upwards of 45 years. Some may even have a pension or retirement account of some sort.
But ‘Suddenly Singles’ have been homemakers and Stay at Home Moms married and dependent on their husbands’ income. Some may have worked part-time through the years but not grown much of a Social Security account. If they are lucky, their husband may have carried a life insurance policy that would allow them to pay off their house. Still, there are horror stories of women who have lost their homes to a tax lien because they couldn’t pay their property taxes.
Wanda Clark said she never saw it coming. “It was devastating. I’m 60-something years old. I should not be homeless.” But when her husband died of complications from multiple heart attacks, she could no longer afford her mortgage on a single income cashiering at a grocery store.
Wanda Clark at NOHO Senior Villas
Sadly, homeless Baby Boomer women are not just a problem here in the US. The same can be seen in Europe and Australia. The reasons are the same. Loss of job, husband dies, now she finds she can’t pay the mortgage or rents go up to where it’s not affordable on a fixed income.
What steps can we take to ensure we don’t end up this way?
Do not depend on one income. The rich have multiple streams of income. If one dries up for some reason, there is still money coming in. Plus with skills learned you can build another stream to replace it.
A homeless woman in Perth, Australia
How do we create income streams?
Stocks? Take many years and are RISKY. Remember the 2008 crash? People lost their entire retirement savings.
Saving? Only paying around 1.5%
Money Market? Around 1.5%
So, what DO we do?
Create residual income. You do the work up front to get it set up and then the money keeps rolling in with as much work as you choose to put in.
How does one create residual income?
- Sell an eBook online
- Selling stock photos
- Affiliate marketing
- Network marketing
- Selling on eBay
- Drop shipping
- Vending machines
- Book reviews
Be sure to get blog updates as we will be discussing just how to go about starting multiple streams of income.