Ultimate Fear: The Bag Lady Cat-Food Eating Old Woman

When I started jotting down my fears, I somehow forgot about one of the main fears in my life and one that holds me back: My fear of poverty, specifically of poverty in old age.  I know it’s not an unusual fear. After all, women tend to live longer and work less, earning less.  It’s easy to see how many women end up poor and alone.  Their spouse passes away and they may have used up most of their savings for the end of his life.  If she had kids, they are trying to make ends meet and start their own families, or they may just not be willing to support an aging parent.  Even if not starving on the street, the quality of life can go down quite drastically; the image of an old woman (me) eating cat food in a dimly lit, cold room comes to mind. 

All of this has made me less of a risk taker than many.  However, I am not allowing this fear to push aside my adolescent/current dream of living abroad and my current dream of spending more time with my kids.   I can’t let this fear make me stay at a job that I’ve outgrown or in a town that I no longer find that appealing.  I can’t let this fear keep me tied to a commute that is increasingly intolerable.  I just won’t.

As I read Your Money or Your Life, I am beginning to think that we can live on less and spend less.  However, I still can’t imagine cutting our income in half or even less and still be able to save for two retirements.  We could easily outlive our savings and the odds are that I will be the one left “holding the bag” so to speak.

Do you have a fear of old age and poverty? 

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6 responses to “Ultimate Fear: The Bag Lady Cat-Food Eating Old Woman

  1. Well, my biggest old lady fear is being unable to take care of myself and not really having anyone younger to look out for me. I’m not planning to have kids, and I’m an only child so this is very possible.

    But yes, I also fear being older and in poverty. Especially because it limits ones options if you do need medical or other care.

    I’m pretty conservative myself and it’s interesting to wonder if these fears feed into that. At the same time, if I can figure out how to live on less for a year or more so I can take some time off of work, then I’m going to do so. I also fear saving for retirement and dying before that magical day comes, or having health problems right after retiring and not being able to enjoy it.

    • I have those same fears, too, of not having enough or not being able to enjoy it. We need a crystal ball to see the future! However, I’m around enough older people to see that in most cases, outliving your savings is more likely than dying “younger” than expected.

  2. We use the Van by the River as motivation. 🙂 http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/motivational-speaking/

    Really though, I don’t fear old age and poverty. I’ve been driven by not ever wanting to have to worry about money. Not to have to fight about money. Not to have to make hard choices about money. Also: I’ve always wanted a dishwasher and a dryer. There are reasons I enjoy being an adult more than I did a kid and reasons we save a huge percent of our income.

    I can live on very little money but boy do I not want to ever ever have to do that again.

  3. Crikey! There’s something I hadn’t thought about: alone in the dark eating cat food. What a depressing thought. By the way, I’ve responded to your question (finally!) about organic meat on my blog http://wakeuptofrugality.blogspot.com/2012/02/food-vs-money.html

  4. Actually cat food , nowdays, when figured by the pound costs more than what a great number of foods cost that we eat. (lol).

  5. Pingback: Financial Independence And Co-Dependence | Oilandgarlic's Blog

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