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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.

Updated: Mar 29

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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