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How can I Retire? I’m 67, have nothing saved, and am coming out of bankruptcy. I have paid very little into social security.

Marie Deary

Mar 29, 2024

It's completely understandable to feel unsure about retirement in your situation. While it presents considerable challenges, it's not impossible to navigate towards a more secure future. Here are some key points to consider, expanding on the previous advice:

Maximize Social Security:

  • Explore work options: Even a few months of additional work can significantly increase your benefits. Consider part-time work, seasonal jobs, or the gig economy.

  • Delay claiming: If possible, delaying claiming until age 70 maximizes your monthly benefit. Early claiming permanently reduces it.

  • Explore spousal benefits: Even if you haven't paid much into Social Security, you might be eligible for spousal benefits based on your former partner's earnings history.

Seek Government Assistance:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This federal program provides monthly cash assistance to low-income seniors with limited resources. While income limits vary, explore eligibility on the Social Security Administration website.

  • Medicare: This program helps cover healthcare costs for people over 65. Enroll as soon as eligible to avoid penalties.

  • Medicaid: If you have low income and limited assets, this program might help cover medical expenses not covered by Medicare.

  • Housing assistance: Explore programs like Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers or public housing options based on your income and location.

Additional Income Streams:

  • Part-time work: Look for flexible jobs suitable for your skills and limitations. Gig platforms, remote work opportunities, or local businesses could be options.

  • Monetize hobbies or skills: Consider selling crafts, offering freelance services, or teaching online courses based on your skills and interests.

  • Rent out a room or unused space: If feasible, renting out a room or even offering storage space through platforms like Neighbor can generate extra income.

Debt Management:

  • Create a budget: Track your income and expenses meticulously to identify areas for cutting back. Prioritize essential needs like housing and healthcare.

  • Seek credit counseling: If managing debt feels overwhelming, non-profit credit counseling agencies can provide guidance and negotiate with creditors.

  • Explore debt consolidation: Depending on your situation, consolidating debt into a single loan with a lower interest rate could simplify repayment.

Professional Guidance:

  • Financial advisor: While traditional retirement planning might not be the focus, a financial advisor specializing in low-income or late-stage planning can offer personalized strategies and identify resource opportunities.

  • Senior benefits counselor: These professionals can help navigate government programs and entitlements tailored to your specific situation.

Lifestyle Adjustments:

  • Downsize expenses: Analyze your spending habits and find areas to cut back, like entertainment, subscriptions, or dining out. Consider downsizing your living space if feasible.

  • Utilize community resources: Look for senior centers, food banks, or community gardens that offer free or low-cost services and support.

  • Embrace a positive mindset: Focus on progress, celebrate small wins, and seek support from friends, family, or online communities.


  • While starting late makes things more challenging, it's still possible to create a more secure future.

  • Take control of your finances, make informed decisions, and seek professional help when needed.

  • Focus on maximizing benefits, exploring additional income streams, managing debt, and adjusting your lifestyle.

  • Maintain a positive outlook and remember that every step you take is progress towards a more secure future.

Additional Resources:

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