Basics: Black female, 70, who, along with her husband, is retired. She once did clerical work for Summit County. He worked for the city of Akron. Before their retirement, their household income was between $35,000 and $75,000. Health issues, including cancer, clogged arteries and a heart condition, have kept her from volunteering and traveling as much as she had hoped. Among other things, fear of falling ill in a strange town has kept her close to home.
What do you think people fear about retirement? “That they could be shut out of some benefits. Even Medicare isn’t that stable and then they [the government] are raising your co-pay and lessening your benefits.
“They are taking from the ones who have retired and putting it someplace for those who have not. But we have already earned it and it doesn’t seem fair to take it away from us. They need to find ways to make sure it is there for the people who are working now.”
What adjustments have you made? “A lot. … We changed our eating habits — steak only once a month,” she said, laughing. “Some of the extra things we used to do, like extra insurance policies, we had to drop them.”
The couple dropped cable television and keeps close to home because of health and the cost of gas.
Is there anyone in particular, or any policies that you think are responsible for the ailing economy?
“Blame Wall Street. When the prices got forced up, everyone suffered. And it affects things you use every day. Produce and stuff like that. It’s ridiculous how much a salad costs now. And then buy all the ingredients you want in that salad and you’ve paid a fortune.”
Who do you think has probably had to adjust their plans the least? “I don’t think rich people have to adjust to anything. They can have just about whatever they want. And it looks like our government wants to keep it that way. I mean, we have to pay taxes, why don’t they?
America Today project seeks citizen input
This project opens journalism to a two-way street. In the hope of learning what you’re thinking and getting citizens more involved in our stories, we’ve added an interactive experiment: We are offering you an opportunity to answer some of the same tough questions we are posing to citizens in the America Today series.
In addition to the traditional Ohio.com comment page, the newspaper is partnering with the Civic Commons, an online organization that encourages respectful and informed debate of tough issues from a variety of perspectives and experiences.
Please join the discussion.
How have your thoughts and plans for retirement been affected by the economy? How do you react to these stories?