Only a year and a half after Howard, 81, retired as a mail carrier with the postal service, his wife passed away — shattering dreams of an uncomplicated retirement. More than 11 years later, the single father of five adult children is slowly moving on, but must deal with serious financial challenges. He lives with two adult sons and is a caretaker to his youngest son, Shawn, a 42-year-old with mental and physical disabilities. His 52-year-old son is unemployed and also lives at the home.
While the home in suburban Chicago is paid for, increasing taxes and an additional life insurance policy that will help his son when he’s gone, means Howard has little leftover from his pension each month. A rare splurge: taking Shawn out for steak sandwiches at their favorite neighborhood spot.
Howard is unable to save in retirement, and recently had to borrow $2,000 from a zero interest credit card as a down payment on a new car. Borrowing from credit cards is risky, but Howard feels he has no choice. Even as financial challenges remain, he’s moving on when it comes to companionship. Three years ago, him and his current girlfriend were set up on a first date by their respective children. It’s working out. Most nights, he helps Shawn into the car, and drives to her home for dinner.
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