Author Topic: What happens to these people?  (Read 16928 times)

Cheryl

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What happens to these people?
« on: August 12, 2015, 02:20:49 PM »
This forum is FULL of people making terrible financial decisions.  I read them with this feeling that the people are doomed and stupid, unable to plan for the future.  But what actually happens when someone gets to retirement age and has massive debt instead of savings?

Personally, I won't live like that because I like a simple life, own too much shit already, and think materialism is the way to unhappiness.  But what horrible penalties befall these people?

Typical subject of this forum: Generic Flash.  Buys a brand new SUV every year, has a giant house he/she makes minimum payments on, eats out, drinks out, buys all the flashy new gadgets, has a six figure salary and still lives paycheck to paycheck, doesn't know how they could possibly make ends meet on less and thinks this is all the correct way to live.  What happens to them, other than people on this forum sighing and palming their faces?

Or typical subject number two: Generic Trash.  This person's a single parent with four kids, constantly in and out of employment, complains about money and how hard it is to get by while posting pictures of their exciting shopping trip online.  Thinks God Will Provide if they just pray enough.  Do things EVER get bad enough that that person to start saving some money?

Are there ever any actual consequences for living like that, on an individual level?  What happens when you get too old to work and you're in debt?

zephyr911

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2015, 02:40:58 PM »
They get Social Security and Medicare, and they vote for the Tea Party "so the socialists won't take away my check"....

wenchsenior

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2015, 03:49:01 PM »
Depending on family support, I think they might or might not fall off an eventual cliff. My mother, who has only SS and Medicare and zero assets, has two sisters and three daughters. None of the them are in poverty, but only we have the extra money to help support her. [ETA: technically her sisters have enough money to help, but they just have decided not to and expect me to do it all because I'm the daughter, which I guess is understandable]. And she's agreed to give up a lot of financial privacy and control to get that support. So we do, to the tune of 7-10K/year. I resent that no one else is ever going to help us with this, but it is what it is.

My husband's mother is even poorer, but qualifies for Medicaid and more state support (due to living in a state that has much more support for the poor). She's also got one well off sibling (who I assume helps occasionally) and 4 other low-income kids (mulitgenerational poverty that my husband escaped). She has, for the past few years, lived in a succession of trailers and tents (she's in her 70s) sometimes without power, often without a phone or vehicle. But she also won't give up her independence or be transparent with us, so we don't help except to send several thousand $ per year, doled out to deal with extreme emergencies like putting a roof over her head.

So, I think people like this live very poor and depend on the most stable of their friends and family. Not third world level poor, but very unpleasantly by American standards.

Potterquilter

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2015, 04:23:02 PM »
The poverty level for a person over 65 is less than $1000 per month. For two seniors it is less than $1300 per month. Here in Florida there are many many trailer parks 55+.
Others live in subsidized housing, rely on food stamps and so on. They rely on food banks or family help. I cannot imagine you are at the top of the life expectancy charts in this situation.

I agree the future is bleak for these individuals. Especially since the politicians are talking about fiddling with social security.  But we also know many people who continue to spend spend spend and have no retirement plans until they drop or get disability. They just can't see it like most people here can. And some people are just going to be victims of their own poor habits.

Jack

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2015, 04:51:10 PM »
The tallest building in my neighborhood is a high-rise apartment tower built by the United Methodist Church to provide subsidized housing to the elderly poor (most of whom had lived in the neighborhood their whole lives, but couldn't afford their houses anymore). As far as I can tell the folks living there are comfortable enough, but it's certainly not an exciting life (except maybe for bingo night).

Josiecat

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2015, 04:59:42 PM »
Housing assistance, Medicaid, and Food Stamps.  We all pay for these people's decision to no bother to fund their retirements.

Andrew928

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2015, 06:09:57 PM »
In my business as a bail bondsman typically what happens if someone fails to pay us it goes to collection, if uncollectible it gets written off, then there is a judgment put on them. So after their already worthless credit is destroyed and 10 years later they decide to grow up and stop gang banging and get a job to try and be contributing members of society they get that first paycheck and see their wage is garnished. That is usually what happens to these people :)

regulator

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2015, 08:25:30 PM »
Put it another way: suppose you end up at retirement age without a pot to piss in.  How would you make it?  I would be on Medicare, HEAP, Food stamps, hit every food pantry and charity group I could find, frequent thrift shops and live in a used trailer or an older RV. I suspect I would have a reasonably good material life.  Obamaphone, anyone?

mozar

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2015, 08:56:02 PM »
I've never seen any one gone over a metaphorical "cliff" People like that just accept lower and lower living standards as they get older. People make bad financial decisions at all income levels. My dad who is 58 had his house foreclosed on, he just totaled his car, and he has a 4 year old. He's doing alright I guess.

Cassie

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2015, 10:13:15 PM »
Wench senior I would not help either if I were her sisters. That is the life she chose. As her child it is up to you if you want to help. If you don't want to then don't.  I certainly don't see it as her siblings problem.   

MrsPotts

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2015, 10:41:19 PM »
My BIL, age 70+, and his 2 daughters, both under age of 10, live on his SS, Medicaid, food stamps, food banks, and what he can scrounge from unsuspecting neighbors.  He gets evicted from his cheap rental houses every year for trashing the places.  I buy the girls tons of books, but don't give him a dime.

wenchsenior

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2015, 05:31:40 AM »
Wench senior I would not help either if I were her sisters. That is the life she chose. As her child it is up to you if you want to help. If you don't want to then don't.  I certainly don't see it as her siblings problem.

Right, that's what I said in my post. I can't really blame them.

I should point out that my mother doesn't fall into either of the OP's original categories either. There is a whole huge group of people that don't make many decisions at all about finance, and just sort of drift gradually into trouble over time, through combos of passivity, underemployment, lack of health insurance, etc. I suspect that group is a lot bigger than the other two.

JR

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2015, 11:19:14 AM »
Obamaphone Bushphone, anyone?

Just a minor correction.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2015, 11:54:08 AM »
wow.

Andrew928

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2015, 12:09:06 PM »
Bogleheads for Investing...MMM for a good time.

zephyr911

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2015, 12:11:52 PM »

EricP

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2015, 02:20:18 PM »
A lot of them die before they retire.

People living paycheck to paycheck tend to have shorter lifespans than those who are set financially.  Also, I wouldn't underestimate the value in a paid off house.  That happens to even those who live paycheck to paycheck. (Unless they are extra special stupid and keep ReFIing to pull the equity out)  Especially when it's a house that was built to house their 3 children and they can downgrade to get a bunch of equity out of it.

nobodyspecial

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2015, 03:00:33 PM »
They get Social Security and Medicare, and they vote for the Tea Party "so the socialists won't take away my check"....

Have you thought of running for president ?

Cpa Cat

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2015, 03:16:47 PM »
As an accountant, I encounter people at all phases of life - including people who are retirement age who have a lifetime of poor financial decisions behind them.

Usually, the men work until they die. If they can't, they generally live on Social Security.

The women are more likely to go on Social Security (often early via disability) than work forever.

Some will have a paid off home - but a lot of people end up lifetime renters or cash out the equity in their homes fairly early in retirement.

There's usually a financial emergency each year, often more than once a year.

If they come close to recovering (ie: through an inheritance, or great promotion), they will self-sabotage by spending the money instead of saving. More often than not, they will compound their problems by supporting relatives.

It's not a great life. But most people don't recover and "see the light." Even when they receive a windfall that could change their lives.

marty998

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2015, 04:07:54 PM »
This forum is FULL of people making terrible financial decisions.  I read them with this feeling that the people are doomed and stupid, unable to plan for the future.  But what actually happens when someone gets to retirement age and has massive debt instead of savings?

Personally, I won't live like that because I like a simple life, own too much shit already, and think materialism is the way to unhappiness.  But what horrible penalties befall these people?

Typical subject of this forum: Generic Flash.  Buys a brand new SUV every year, has a giant house he/she makes minimum payments on, eats out, drinks out, buys all the flashy new gadgets, has a six figure salary and still lives paycheck to paycheck, doesn't know how they could possibly make ends meet on less and thinks this is all the correct way to live.  What happens to them, other than people on this forum sighing and palming their faces?

Or typical subject number two: Generic Trash.  This person's a single parent with four kids, constantly in and out of employment, complains about money and how hard it is to get by while posting pictures of their exciting shopping trip online.  Thinks God Will Provide if they just pray enough.  Do things EVER get bad enough that that person to start saving some money?

Are there ever any actual consequences for living like that, on an individual level?  What happens when you get too old to work and you're in debt?

Don't disagree with you on #1 but I've been here for 3 years and have not seen any of #2. All of the single parents on the forum seem to be responsible, frugal, have the best interests of their kids at heart and are trying to take action to better the circumstances of their family. Go have a conversation with scrubbyfish for example and you will quickly change your tune.

mm1970

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2015, 04:11:21 PM »
I've never seen any one gone over a metaphorical "cliff" People like that just accept lower and lower living standards as they get older. People make bad financial decisions at all income levels. My dad who is 58 had his house foreclosed on, he just totaled his car, and he has a 4 year old. He's doing alright I guess.
And of course some people choose this life.

My dad generally didn't make much money.  He was an auto mechanic, and when the trucking industry deregulated in the early 80's, he got laid off. In his 50's.  He was able to stay employed, but his income was cut by 2/3.  So my mom had to go back to work.

But he was the ultimate mustachian.  (His last gift to me: his copy of Walden).  He had 2 wives (one died) and 9 kids (two he had to give up for adoption).  The house was paid for, he never borrowed money for a car.  We had a big garden.  Everything was bought used.

The last years of his life were about fishing with his friends really.  The house was never updated, but he did finally buy a car that worked (he was always tinkering with junkers, then he goes and gets a Camry!)

His needs were very small and his SS was only a few hundred bucks a month.  Still, when he died, each of the 7 children got about $10k, mostly from the house, but he'd also had about $10 to 20k in savings, amassed entirely on social security.

I don't see his life as any different than many of these, except for it's how he preferred it.

Wow 58 with a 4 year old, and some others are 70+ with 2 kids under 10??  I thought I was an old parent.  I guess I am for a woman.

mm1970

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2015, 04:12:32 PM »
This forum is FULL of people making terrible financial decisions.  I read them with this feeling that the people are doomed and stupid, unable to plan for the future.  But what actually happens when someone gets to retirement age and has massive debt instead of savings?

Personally, I won't live like that because I like a simple life, own too much shit already, and think materialism is the way to unhappiness.  But what horrible penalties befall these people?

Typical subject of this forum: Generic Flash.  Buys a brand new SUV every year, has a giant house he/she makes minimum payments on, eats out, drinks out, buys all the flashy new gadgets, has a six figure salary and still lives paycheck to paycheck, doesn't know how they could possibly make ends meet on less and thinks this is all the correct way to live.  What happens to them, other than people on this forum sighing and palming their faces?

Or typical subject number two: Generic Trash.  This person's a single parent with four kids, constantly in and out of employment, complains about money and how hard it is to get by while posting pictures of their exciting shopping trip online.  Thinks God Will Provide if they just pray enough.  Do things EVER get bad enough that that person to start saving some money?

Are there ever any actual consequences for living like that, on an individual level?  What happens when you get too old to work and you're in debt?

Don't disagree with you on #1 but I've been here for 3 years and have not seen any of #2. All of the single parents on the forum seem to be responsible, frugal, have the best interests of their kids at heart and are trying to take action to better the circumstances of their family. Go have a conversation with scrubbyfish for example and you will quickly change your tune.
I'm not sure (it was hard for me to figure out), but I think their point wasn't that the MEMBERS of the forum are like this, just that we have STORIES of people like this.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2015, 03:10:31 AM »
This forum is FULL of people making terrible financial decisions.  I read them with this feeling that the people are doomed and stupid, unable to plan for the future.  But what actually happens when someone gets to retirement age and has massive debt instead of savings?

Personally, I won't live like that because I like a simple life, own too much shit already, and think materialism is the way to unhappiness.  But what horrible penalties befall these people?

Typical subject of this forum: Generic Flash.  Buys a brand new SUV every year, has a giant house he/she makes minimum payments on, eats out, drinks out, buys all the flashy new gadgets, has a six figure salary and still lives paycheck to paycheck, doesn't know how they could possibly make ends meet on less and thinks this is all the correct way to live.  What happens to them, other than people on this forum sighing and palming their faces?

Or typical subject number two: Generic Trash.  This person's a single parent with four kids, constantly in and out of employment, complains about money and how hard it is to get by while posting pictures of their exciting shopping trip online.  Thinks God Will Provide if they just pray enough.  Do things EVER get bad enough that that person to start saving some money?

Are there ever any actual consequences for living like that, on an individual level?  What happens when you get too old to work and you're in debt?

Don't disagree with you on #1 but I've been here for 3 years and have not seen any of #2. All of the single parents on the forum seem to be responsible, frugal, have the best interests of their kids at heart and are trying to take action to better the circumstances of their family. Go have a conversation with scrubbyfish for example and you will quickly change your tune.
I'm not sure (it was hard for me to figure out), but I think their point wasn't that the MEMBERS of the forum are like this, just that we have STORIES of people like this.

I agree, I think it is refering specifically to the Antimustachian wall.

Us2bCool

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2015, 08:12:41 AM »
I've never seen any one gone over a metaphorical "cliff" People like that just accept lower and lower living standards as they get older. People make bad financial decisions at all income levels. My dad who is 58 had his house foreclosed on, he just totaled his car, and he has a 4 year old. He's doing alright I guess.

I have an uncle who lived this, but before I tell his story I have to say that he is a sweet guy, now in his late 70s, who is probably on the autism spectrum. lets just say that he is smart enough, but has just never been able to put 2 and 2 together.

He did great as a youth, went to college, 2 years in the military, graduate school and a great job with a great corporation. He worked there for 20 years, living in a downtown apartment, never saving, buying all the nicest and latest of everything. And then he got laid off.

Within 5 years his extremely generous severance was gone, and he got a job working behind the counter at a u-haul place, living in the caretakers apartment. He worked there until he retired. In the meantime my grandparents passed, and my father basically took over the job of making sure he had a roof over his head. Uncle lived in his late parents' mobile home but couldn't afford upkeep and rent.

Finally, my dad found out that he qualified to live at the state veterans home. For Uncle, it's perfect, but it's basically a dorm room. Roommate, bathroom down the hall. Uncle loves it, but it's not quite my idea of a great retirement.

mm1970

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2015, 09:25:23 AM »
Quote
Finally, my dad found out that he qualified to live at the state veterans home. For Uncle, it's perfect, but it's basically a dorm room. Roommate, bathroom down the hall. Uncle loves it, but it's not quite my idea of a great retirement.
I agree that it doesn't sound awesome, but it doesn't sound bad either.

Companionship, a roof, food, entertainment.  What needs do people really have when they are old? 

Some really want to be a place familiar, some don't care much.
Some like people, and some don't.
What works varies. 

My dad lived alone after the divorce, until he died.  I suppose that was...30 years or so.

I've had relatives who were very social, and ended up in very nice nursing home facilities with their own apartments - lots of activities and friends.

Of course on the other side of the scale, was my spouse's one grandmother, in a very depressing retirement home for poor people, paid for by the state.  Oh, her memory was gone by then, so I don't think she minded much.  But man, that place was sad.

It's not like she was poor and planned badly.  I think that she and her second husband had retirement, and some money, but they were conservative and "didn't want the government to get it".  So when they were alive they signed over the house to the kids (most of the money was in the house).  In order to get into that type of home, you have to "spend down" your assets.  It seems like two big extremes to me - the nice places are for the wealthy and cost a crap ton.  The poor end up in depressing places.  I haven't seen a middle ground really.

zephyr911

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2015, 09:59:14 AM »
They get Social Security and Medicare, and they vote for the Tea Party "so the socialists won't take away my check"....

Have you thought of running for president ?
Hahahahaha... NO.
I would never want to be a politician. I do have a friend who talks (seriously) about doing it someday and I've said I'd be on his policy team if he wanted me. But that's a long way off, as he's only mid-career (mil officer) and appears destined for general rank.

DTaggart

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2015, 11:33:48 AM »
I think my husband's parents are a good example of what happens when you don't plan.

Both of them came from somewhat well-off families and had certain ideas of what you were supposed to do and own to be considered successful - nice clothes, nice car, nice house, pretty things, jewelry.... Unfortunately, their career and life choices didn't mesh real well with their expectations of life.

FIL studied art in college, and went on to a life of sales and retail jobs (car salesman, appliance salesman, etc). He was competent at what he did, and I guess back in the 60's and 70's those may have been legitimate career choices, but as the world evolved, his skills and education did not. Before he retired he was assistant manager at the shoe store in the local strip mall. At one point he'd been offered the store manager position, but declined because he didn't want the added headaches and responsibility.

MIL went to college and got her MLS and a teaching degree in one state, but they ended up moving to another state for FIL's job and she didn't want to go through the hassle/work of qualifying to teach in the new state. She ended up getting a job as a secretary with the city and stayed there for pretty much ever. The pay and benefits were decent enough, and thank god she got a real pension, because they would have ended up destitute without that.

They lived in a relatively LCOL area, so even with their unexceptional career choices they made a comfortable enough living. Not rich, but comfortable. Unfortunately, having grown up in well-to-do families, their expectations were larger than their paychecks. They liked stuff. There was never any one single crazy large thing they bought that sent them over the edge, it was just a general lifestyle that was beyond their means.

They were always buying new clothes, because you have to look nice. Grocery shopping - buy whatever you feel like eating, don't worry about sales, coupons are for poor people, the expensive one tastes sooo much better than the store brand, etc. They replaced their cars (of course they needed 2) regularly, because you can't drive "an old junker" like the "Mexican dishwashers" who lived in the next building over. Something broke? Call the repairman because you can't possibly fix it yourself, or better yet just buy a new one.

They always managed to spend all their money and lived paycheck to paycheck. If they had money leftover after paying the bills, they would find crap to spend it on. Of course this meant that if there was ever any snag or hiccup, it was a crisis. But that's what credit cards are for, and as long as you make the minimum payments you're doing fine. My husband once told me with pride (before I dragged him kicking and screaming into Mustachianism) "No matter how bad off my parents were, they always managed to take us out to eat at a restaurant once a week." It was pretty eye-opening for him when I pointed out that maybe that's partly why things were bad in the first place.

Somewhere along the line, after hubby had moved out and was in the Navy, FIL lost his job and things got pretty bad for them. They almost lost their house, and only kept it because hubby gave them several thousand dollars from his re-enlistment bonus. They managed to hang on long enough to sell it and not get foreclosed on, and moved into an apartment.

FIL eventually got a job and things stabilized. So since they had spare money they took up the new hobby of "antique collecting," or as I like to call it - buying stupid ceramic figurines. They spent weekends driving all over the state, buying collectible plates and ceramic dogs and other stupid shit to fill up their apartment. And I do mean FILL IT. Every wall and corner had an expensive display case (with lights!) to hold the stupid shit they bought. When they ran out of space to display crap, it just sat in boxes in the closet, under beds, in the guest room, etc. FIL reveled in showing you each of his latest "pieces" and explaining that he only paid $200 for it, but "the book" says its worth $300! According to MIL, this was our inheritance! yay

As the years went on MIL had a series of medical problems, and ended up in a wheel chair. I guess they told her she should be able to regain her ability to walk with enough physical therapy, but it was hard so she didn't want to do it. Somewhere around here, they decided to buy a condo so they'd have a fixed payment. (This also gave them more room to store stupid ceramic shit. yay)

So they moved into the condo. And after a few years, FIL decided he should retire so he'd have more time to take care of MIL - who still had to get up and go to work everyday. I think it was more he was finally old enough to collect SS and taking care of MIL was just an excuse. Mom made it another year or so working and she finally retired with her city pension.

At that point though, MIL's health started deteriorating - she was showing signs of dementia. FIL cared for her at home. For the first few years it wasn't too bad, she was just forgetful and couldn't be left alone for too long, but she was mostly mobile and could stand to get in/out of bed or the shower and such. Unfortunately, it was apparently MIL who had managed all the finances for most of their lives. Left to his own devices, FIL managed to get himself in deep trouble. He ended up declaring bankruptcy somewhere in his early 70's. He was able to keep the condo and his car, and after the bankruptcy payments he had enough to get by on, but it wasn't much fun for him. His life was pretty much driving MIL around to doctor's appointments and sitting home watching tv. Although, except for the shopping this was pretty much his life before bankruptcy, so I guess it wasn't that big of a deal. The only good thing was that after much encouragement from my hubby and his sister, he started selling off some of his "antiques." (All of the kids greatest fear is having to deal with thousands of antique ceramic dog figurines when he dies). He started renting a couple of cases at the local antique mall to unload some of his collection. Unfortunately, he would often take the proceeds and buy something else instead ("But the book says its worth 2x as much as what they're selling it for!")

One winter hubby was talking to him and FIL mentioned that his furnace died. Fortunately, he had one of those home warranty deals and they would cover the cost of the repair. The problem was that he had to front the money for the repair and would get reimbursed at the end of the month, so he only had like $75 to last him a couple of weeks. He had just gone shopping so had a house full of food and expected to be ok, but there wouldn't be much fun for a while. I told hubby that if something came up and FIL needed the money we would loan/give it to him. But hubby was concerned that simply the stress of not having money on hand was a problem. I was more than willing to help, I'm not going to let anyone starve, but I didn't want to enable FIL's bad behaviors. I suggested we could do an "early Christmas present," and maybe send him a grocery store gift card so we know he wouldn't blow it on something stupid. Hubby wasn't totally comfortable with that so we ended up sending him a check. In order to not sabotage our own financial goals, I basically re-allocated money I was going to spend on my family's gifts to the money we gave FIL, and got less expensive gifts for my family. Next time hubby called to talk to FIL, he thanked us profusely for the gift, and told us all about the model car he bought on eBay with it.

As the years dragged on caring for MIL became increasingly difficult, largely because she had become morbidly obese and stopped understanding things like standing or feeding herself. Several times she fell and FIL had to call 911 just to get the EMTs to help pick her up. FIL finally started to admit he couldn't do it by himself and starting looking into assisted living. He found a very nice place that told him her insurance would pay for her stay, and he moved her in. We were all relieved that MIL would be looked after and FIL could have some semblance of his life back. (I feel the need to point out that we live 2000 miles away so weren't really in a position to help with the home care).

Two months later the assisted living facility came back and said "Oops - look like insurance doesn't cover this. You owe us $10k, and start paying us $5k a month or come pick up MIL." MIL came home. FIL finally looked into eldercare assistance, and was able to get a home nurse in for most of the day for a heavily subsidized amount that he could afford. Somehow, he managed to make payments and pay back the $10k.

MIL finally passed away last year. Then there was the big question of her pension - would FIL keep getting money? No one seemed to know what option MIL had selected when she retired! Who talks about that sort of thing? Luckily, it turned out that there were indeed survivor benefits and FIL would continue to get a check. Phew.

So now, at 80+ years old, FIL has paid off his bankruptcy and even refinanced his condo mortgage to a reasonable interest rate. Between SS and MIL's pension he can pay the bills and keep himself fed. His days consist of volunteering with the hospice care group that helped him with MIL, occasional trips to the antique mall to exchange his old antique ceramic dog figurines for new antique ceramic dog figurines, and watching copious amounts of television. He has just enough discretionary income to entertain himself buying stupid shit from mail-order catalogs. When emergencies come up, we lend him some money to cover it, and he stops buying stupid shit long enough to pay us back.

Aside from a lifetime of stress and uncertainty, I think the greatest price he's paid is simply the lost opportunities in his life. There's a lot of things he wishes he'd got to do - travel, spend more time painting, be able to visit us and see more of California... but he's got cable tv and a roof over his head, and I guess that's good enough for a lot of people.

neil

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2015, 12:06:23 PM »
I was brought up with a much more frugal, quite, hard-working family before I was exposed to a much larger family when my mom married my step-dad.

His mom had lost her husband before I knew her.  I don't believe she ever worked and was living solely off his social security survivor benefit.  She did so for about 35 years.

She always had plenty of food and cooked what she liked.  She was an avid baseball fan and watched every game on tv.  She never had a license, but someone in the family always brought her to family functions.  Most holidays were celebrated in some fashion so this was pretty often.  Because of her financial situation, she always had roommates (a brother, one of her children, etc) until the rent in the city became too oppressive.  She was in low income housing for the last decade and was paying something like $100 in rent for ~500 sqft place.  In reality she was better off living with other retirees.  I can't imagine what depreciation did to her SS check, but the government clearly steps in when that happens.  She had plently of extra once her housing was no longer a problem.

I agree that I do what I do because I don't like the idea of being out of control of my fate.  But it is really hard for me to see how she lived a bad life.  Maybe there were things she wanted to do, but I never heard her talk of anything like that.  If it came down to it, if you replace the tv with the internet, I would probably be pretty content as long as I was healthy.

BlueHouse

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2015, 12:37:16 PM »
What happens when you get too old to work and you're in debt?

You go to the casino and spend all of your cash on the slots.  Sometimes I see the people praying that they'll hit a jackpot.  Really?  if that worked, wouldn't everyone do it?

Fuzzy Buttons

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2015, 01:07:22 PM »
Some sad but excellent posts in this thread.  Thanks for sharing, everyone.

There was an article I read a year or so ago that measured people's happiness vs their income before and after retirement.  They found that for the most part, people who had thought in their working years that they would never be able to live a good life at anything below their current income, for the most part managed to adapt and continue to be happy even if they were down to just Social Security.  Hedonic Adaptation - it works both ways.

It also ties into the happiness curve that you see.  People who are younger or older often report they are more happy with their lives, while people in middle age are less.  This holds true across different societies and cultures.  The theory is that when you are young you have great expectations and that brings you joy.  But as you age you find that many of those expectations are not going to be fulfilled, and you mourn the loss.  But in old age, your expectations have already reduced and now you are able to meet or exceed them on a regular basis.  A good night's sleep, time with friends and family.  Just watching a beautiful sunset.  It doesn't take much to be happy.

I see mustachinism as my attempt to translate to that late life zen of acceptance while still in my middle age.  It's got to be easier to do it deliberately then have it forced on you by the repercussions of a spendthrift life. 

DTaggart

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2015, 01:20:41 PM »
Aside from a lifetime of stress and uncertainty, I think the greatest price he's paid is simply the lost opportunities in his life. There's a lot of things he wishes he'd got to do - travel, spend more time painting, be able to visit us and see more of California... but he's got cable tv and a roof over his head, and I guess that's good enough for a lot of people.

Re-reading my little novella above, I really do think stress is the biggest issue. Having been careful with money and having savings and investments means that when financial emergencies come up, instead of freaking out and figuring out which family member I am going to impose upon this time, I just go, "Well, that sucks. At least I get rewards points for this purchase." And go on about my day.

For example, when MIL was having her initial health concerns, at one point they thought she may have had a stroke but weren't sure. Hubby got off the phone after to talking to FIL and burst into tears, worried about his mom and really upset that he was 2000 miles away and couldn't be there. So I just said, "Do you want to fly out there?" He said incredulously, "Can we afford that?" I said "Of course we can afford it. What the hell do you think we save for? We don't spend money on stupid shit and eating out all the time so we have money for the important things. Seeing your mom when she's in the hospital is an important thing. Go pack your bag and I'll start looking at airfare." The look of relief on his face was indescribable.

Another time he came home and informed me his company was relocating his department to Salt Lake City. He was super concerned about losing his job. I'm like "Lame. Well, let's do the math." We calmly analyzed the situation, determined that it was not worthwhile for me to give up my job to move to SLC, and he began looking for a new job. We had paid off our mortgage at this point, lived on far less then what I alone earned, and had plenty of savings. While losing his income was a speed bump on the road to financial independence, it was not a travesty by any stretch of the imagination.

Comparing our lives to his parents lives, we're both pretty happy with the path we took. Even if we don't eat out once a week :)

Cassie

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2015, 01:29:22 PM »
Some of these posts are very sad. It is too bad that your FIL did not know how to put her in a nursing home & have Medicaid pay for most of it. There is a way in every state & not impoverish the other spouse but often people don't know where to find the answer. The center for aging (either a state or county agency depending on your state) can tell you how to do this.

DTaggart

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #32 on: August 14, 2015, 01:46:55 PM »
Some of these posts are very sad. It is too bad that your FIL did not know how to put her in a nursing home & have Medicaid pay for most of it. There is a way in every state & not impoverish the other spouse but often people don't know where to find the answer. The center for aging (either a state or county agency depending on your state) can tell you how to do this.

Yeah I don't know all the details, most of what I know about the health situation was heard third or fourth hand. There was a lot of back and forth about what they could get Medicare to cover.

I do know that there was a lot of self-inflicted guilt involved. Both of my in-laws mothers had cared for their husbands in their final years. My FIL's father had been placed in a nursing home after a stroke, and according to the stories his mother would go to the home EVERY SINGLE DAY, and spend the entire day there "caring" for him (not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds like it involved bossing the staff around a lot). Everyone in the family celebrates the level of love and dedication it showed. I mean, its one of the things regularly discussed and relived at EVERY family gathering. So even for the 2 months my MIL was in the home, FIL was over there all the time with her, that just seems like what they all think you're supposed to do.

I've told my hubby if I ever end up in a nursing home, he better keep living his damn life.

Dezrah

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2015, 03:56:38 PM »

For example, when MIL was having her initial health concerns, at one point they thought she may have had a stroke but weren't sure. Hubby got off the phone after to talking to FIL and burst into tears, worried about his mom and really upset that he was 2000 miles away and couldn't be there. So I just said, "Do you want to fly out there?" He said incredulously, "Can we afford that?" I said "Of course we can afford it. What the hell do you think we save for? We don't spend money on stupid shit and eating out all the time so we have money for the important things. Seeing your mom when she's in the hospital is an important thing. Go pack your bag and I'll start looking at airfare." The look of relief on his face was indescribable.


Some of these are truly heartbreaking stories, but this is part that actually made me tear up a little.  There’s so much love, pain, and grief in your husband.  What a beautiful thing that you could take at least some of that away.  And when you told him “it’s okay”, it wasn’t in a “let’s hope things work out in time” way, it was really going to be okay financially.  While the reality of his mother’s situation is still there, he’s free to focus on what really matters.

Thank you for sharing.

kite

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2015, 04:52:12 PM »
I know quite a few who live close to the edge (or appear to).  My husband grew up very poor, owing to his father's alcoholism more than anything.  There was plenty of union factory work, but he couldn't stay sober enough to do it, so they needed food stamps, charity, etc...  We're still very much acquainted with successive generations who have the same kind of problems.  My lay person's impression is that an underlying mental illness is at play.  They seem to be self medicating their bipolar disorder because even in long stretches of sobriety, there's plenty that is just not right.  Lots of faulty decision making from some otherwise intelligent people. 
We had to come to terms with how much we could and couldn't help.  The fact is, they are incapable of being entirely forthright.  You don't get the whole picture and they often seem to be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat.  Starving & homeless one week, new tattoo the next.  Needing a cosigner for their kid's student loans yesterday but buying same kid his sixth pair of $100 + sneakers today.  "The old ones have a spot on them."  These are my relatives, I have a front row seat for their shenanigans. 
"There but for the grace of God..."  As my mom so often said.  Now I do too. 

Drifterrider

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2015, 06:36:04 AM »

zephyr911

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2015, 09:12:48 AM »
For example, when MIL was having her initial health concerns, at one point they thought she may have had a stroke but weren't sure. Hubby got off the phone after to talking to FIL and burst into tears, worried about his mom and really upset that he was 2000 miles away and couldn't be there. So I just said, "Do you want to fly out there?" He said incredulously, "Can we afford that?" I said "Of course we can afford it. What the hell do you think we save for? We don't spend money on stupid shit and eating out all the time so we have money for the important things. Seeing your mom when she's in the hospital is an important thing. Go pack your bag and I'll start looking at airfare." The look of relief on his face was indescribable.
Some of these are truly heartbreaking stories, but this is part that actually made me tear up a little.  There’s so much love, pain, and grief in your husband.  What a beautiful thing that you could take at least some of that away.  And when you told him “it’s okay”, it wasn’t in a “let’s hope things work out in time” way, it was really going to be okay financially.  While the reality of his mother’s situation is still there, he’s free to focus on what really matters.

Thank you for sharing.
Edit: my entire comment yesterday seems to have vanished, and I just noticed. Restating from memory.
****************************************
This one really hits home for me because it brings back an episode from my transitional period - over two years ago, when I had realized I was squandering my earnings and was just taking baby steps toward my current state. I was starting to invest more but still had no cash cushion.

I got a call that my grandfather in HI had taken a serious downturn and was refusing care that might save his life, and there was a fairly strong consensus in the family that it was "goodbye" time. It would have been a major financial stress for me to buy a same-day ticket, and I was scheduled for ANG drill that weekend (~$800 take-home) so I booked my ticket for early the next week and proceeded to work, while checking in frequently. He died the day I took off, and all I could do was show up and help with the mourning. That will stick with me forever - I don't beat myself up, but I still wish I'd had the chance to thank him in person like I did on the phone, for being more of a father than my actual dad, for always pushing me to achieve great things, for never criticizing my fuckups, and always staying positive about my prospects.

*sigh*
« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 08:40:51 AM by zephyr911 »

Cassie

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2015, 03:42:50 PM »
Medicare only pays for rehab in a nursing home for a limited time I think it is 100 days. The key to getting Medicaid to pay is to have the person's doctor put them in a hospital for 3 days & then transfer them to the rehab section of a nursing home. The nursing home then works with Medicaid but they take all but $60.00/month of the person's social security. They get to keep that to buy hygiene products. Their is a law about not impoverishing the surviving spouse but they don't get get to keep much.  Often the spouse just gets to keep their SS & maybe their pension if they have one.  If they have a home the nursing home gets it to pay back $ once the healthy spouse can't live in the home. It is complicated & unfortunately I have been around this bend a few times. It is one reason people try to keep their spouses home as long as they can because the $ they have left is not much.

DTaggart

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #38 on: August 18, 2015, 07:52:16 AM »
Medicare only pays for rehab in a nursing home for a limited time I think it is 100 days. The key to getting Medicaid to pay is to have the person's doctor put them in a hospital for 3 days & then transfer them to the rehab section of a nursing home. The nursing home then works with Medicaid but they take all but $60.00/month of the person's social security. They get to keep that to buy hygiene products. Their is a law about not impoverishing the surviving spouse but they don't get get to keep much.  Often the spouse just gets to keep their SS & maybe their pension if they have one.  If they have a home the nursing home gets it to pay back $ once the healthy spouse can't live in the home. It is complicated & unfortunately I have been around this bend a few times. It is one reason people try to keep their spouses home as long as they can because the $ they have left is not much.

Like I said, I don't know all the details but I think one of the main issues was that FIL's main source of income was MIL's city pension. Without it he wouldn't have been able to make his mortgage payments.

iris lily

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2015, 08:34:56 AM »
Quote
Finally, my dad found out that he qualified to live at the state veterans home. For Uncle, it's perfect, but it's basically a dorm room. Roommate, bathroom down the hall. Uncle loves it, but it's not quite my idea of a great retirement.
I agree that it doesn't sound awesome, but it doesn't sound bad either.

Companionship, a roof, food, entertainment.  What needs do people really have when they are old? 

Some really want to be a place familiar, some don't care much.
Some like people, and some don't.
What works varies. 

My dad lived alone after the divorce, until he died.  I suppose that was...30 years or so.

I've had relatives who were very social, and ended up in very nice nursing home facilities with their own apartments - lots of activities and friends.

Of course on the other side of the scale, was my spouse's one grandmother, in a very depressing retirement home for poor people, paid for by the state.  Oh, her memory was gone by then, so I don't think she minded much.  But man, that place was sad.

It's not like she was poor and planned badly.  I think that she and her second husband had retirement, and some money, but they were conservative and "didn't want the government to get it".  So when they were alive they signed over the house to the kids (most of the money was in the house).  In order to get into that type of home, you have to "spend down" your assets.  It seems like two big extremes to me - the nice places are for the wealthy and cost a crap ton.  The poor end up in depressing places.  I haven't seen a middle ground really.

My mother's nursing home took Medicaid and private pay clients. The difference was that Medicaid patients had to share a room. It was nice for that sort of thing.

zephyr911

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #40 on: August 18, 2015, 08:41:52 AM »
"There but for the grace of God..."  As my mom so often said.  Now I do too. 
It's a pretty sound approach.

iris lily

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #41 on: August 18, 2015, 08:50:33 AM »
Some of these posts are very sad. It is too bad that your FIL did not know how to put her in a nursing home & have Medicaid pay for most of it. There is a way in every state & not impoverish the other spouse but often people don't know where to find the answer. The center for aging (either a state or county agency depending on your state) can tell you how to do this.

Yeah I don't know all the details, most of what I know about the health situation was heard third or fourth hand. There was a lot of back and forth about what they could get Medicare to cover.

I do know that there was a lot of self-inflicted guilt involved. Both of my in-laws mothers had cared for their husbands in their final years. My FIL's father had been placed in a nursing home after a stroke, and according to the stories his mother would go to the home EVERY SINGLE DAY, and spend the entire day there "caring" for him (not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds like it involved bossing the staff around a lot). Everyone in the family celebrates the level of love and dedication it showed. I mean, its one of the things regularly discussed and relived at EVERY family gathering. So even for the 2 months my MIL was in the home, FIL was over there all the time with her, that just seems like what they all think you're supposed to do.

I've told my hubby if I ever end up in a nursing home, he better keep living his damn life.

I have told DH the same thing, he needs to visit me occasionally in the nursing home. But he may not make that a fetish.

 Back decades ago I knew someone who spent every. Single. Day. All the day. With his Alzheimer's impaired wife in the nursing home. Insanity. But it provided me a worthwhile life lesson.

zephyr911

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #42 on: August 18, 2015, 09:05:18 AM »
I think that level of loyalty has always been rare, and is even more so in the modern Western world. I feel fortunate as hell to have the kind of DW who would most likely do it. Sometimes I think I don't deserve her. ;)

Money Mouse

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2015, 09:39:33 AM »
A lot of them die before they retire.

People living paycheck to paycheck tend to have shorter lifespans than those who are set financially.  Also, I wouldn't underestimate the value in a paid off house.  That happens to even those who live paycheck to paycheck. (Unless they are extra special stupid and keep ReFIing to pull the equity out)  Especially when it's a house that was built to house their 3 children and they can downgrade to get a bunch of equity out of it.

A friend of mine's parents would be in a world of hurt if it wasn't for their paid off town home. My friend and her sisters actually chipped in and made sure the house got paid off in the last 3 years of the mortgage because the parents were dead broke and they didn't want them to lose the house so close to pay off (and that's the only sound financial choice any of them have made, ever). The parents are just a total financial disaster. To be totally fair they did have some bad luck that was outside of their control (the dad had a stroke at a young age) but their financial stupidity made what should have been a serious but overcome-able setback into something they'll never make it back from. I won't go into details, but the string of bad choices is breathtaking.

So in the end, they have SS, Medicare, and a paid off house (which since is a townhome they don't have to worry about exterior maintenance or upkeep), and that's about it.  I'm familiar with the neighborhood they live in and the property taxes and HOA fees are cheap enough that they can live (very) modestly on what's left if they are careful. The sisters (including my friend) are equally stupid with money, except the youngest who seemed to have learned from her parents and sisters horrible examples. So I do expect history to repeat itself (hell it already is, my friend and the other sister who is bad with life choices are in their late 30's and early 40's and are walking down the same path as their parents, almost to the letter. Only they rent rather than own so they won't even have that going for them at the end...)

Tempname23

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2020, 11:55:32 AM »
Obamaphone Bushphone, Reaganphone anyone?

Just a minor correction.
+1
Now correct.
No, presidents don't pay for phones and the bills, you and I, the taxpyers do!

habanero

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2020, 12:05:24 PM »
I recommend this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Nomadland-Surviving-America-Twenty-First-Century/dp/0393356310/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=nomadland&qid=1604862239&sr=8-1

About people in retirement age who cannot afford to retire and live a nomadic lifestyle with random jobs here and there. Amazon warehouses a big employer of those before christmas (they get a breaks from hiring old people)

PDXTabs

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #46 on: November 08, 2020, 01:21:43 PM »
Typical subject of this forum: Generic Flash.  Buys a brand new SUV every year, has a giant house he/she makes minimum payments on, eats out, drinks out, buys all the flashy new gadgets, has a six figure salary and still lives paycheck to paycheck, doesn't know how they could possibly make ends meet on less and thinks this is all the correct way to live.  What happens to them, other than people on this forum sighing and palming their faces?

These folks are fine. Between their home equity and social security they work longer than MMM folks but live indoors and eat food in retirement.

Villanelle

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #47 on: November 08, 2020, 02:15:51 PM »
This thread is from 2015. 

Just Joe

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #48 on: November 09, 2020, 01:00:45 PM »
Keep on talking. its a valid topic.

I have family potentially facing this outcome in the future. We had elders in the past that cut spending to the bone, smoked alot, drank alot of coffee or beer when they could get it, and watched ALOT of TV.
They chased sales and coupons. Frequented thrift shops and dollar stores. Touring garage sales for "treasures". Read alot of castoff magazines and gossip papers. When their car broke down, family had to help out either by providing a repair, a cheap replacement or driving them to and from appointments. This was life in a LCOL small town.

It seemed to be hugely boring to me (a teenager at the time). Today I'd need the internet, trips to the library, maybe learn to play a guitar or something. Maybe a bicycle as long as my body was willing.

Other folks I've known gave their time as volunteers for various things. They seemed to really enjoy getting out of the house. Until they couldn't drive anymore.

DW and I have a different plan that is far more comfortable and interesting. We have family our age that will be faced with the same boring old age due to a minimum of financial resources.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 09:27:02 AM by Just Joe »

scottish

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Re: What happens to these people?
« Reply #49 on: November 09, 2020, 05:54:57 PM »
In Canada you can get up to $2700/month  in government benefits when you hit 70.   You get a bit less if you start younger.    (I think I have the right details below)

There's the Canada pension plan with mandatory contributions by employees and employers.   That maxes out at $1175/month if you work to 70 and make the max contributions (contributions are set by your employment income every year, the max is capped at a bit under 60K per year in income).
There's old age security.   As long as you're making less than about $80K, you can get up to $613/month.
Then there's the "guaranteed income supplement".   If you're really low income, a you can receive up to $913/month.

This is in CAD which are worth about 75% of USD.    How to they compare to benefits in the US?