I’ve never asked for money before and this is hard to do. I’m an optimist by nature and tend to see the glass as half full. I kept hoping things would eventually “work out” financially, but now I’m pushing 60. It feels as though the years have caught up with me and there’s no time left.
I’ve worked since age 16. I did all the right things – got good grades, went to college, worked my whole life. I’ve worked in nonprofits for 20+ years, providing social and mental health services to vulnerable adults. Obviously, folks don’t do this work for the money. But I always believed that if I worked hard and played by the rules, I’d be okay. But housing costs have sky-rocketed over the past 30 years while pay in many industries, including social services, has stagnated.
I always wanted to own my own home but there was always a barrier – student loans to pay, underpaid in NPOs, unemployed former spouse, living in high-cost-of-living areas, situational setbacks, and admittedly a couple of financial missteps.
I’ve been paying back the student loan for almost 25 years and I still owe more than $50,000. I’ve applied for loan forgiveness (SLFP) but the initial application was denied and the request for reconsideration won’t be decided until after June 2023.
In early 2021 I was diagnosed with retinopathy and macular edema, after it was misdiagnosed for more than 2 years. As a result, I will have to get injections in both eyes, every 6 weeks, for the rest of my life. I’ve been worried that this will cause me to lose my job, resulting in years of lost income.
I am also playing catch-up on my retirement fund, for which I take responsibility, and on which I am diligently making progress. Despite my hard work, frugality, and progress thus far, I don’t see how I’ll be able to have both – a home of my own AND a financially secure retirement. As it is, I foresee working at least another 10 years, up to age 70, if not longer. In the meantime, I continue to rent in an increasingly expensive rental market.
I am hoping for some relief – a lower monthly housing payment that actually builds equity – but more than that I want the pride of home ownership. Thank you for reading this far. paypal.me/aniiarbo