Posts Tagged "living beyond your means"
March 22, 2022
Retired Couple Chopped Down $40,000 Debt
While living in New York City, Clifton Seale and Charles Gilmore piled up an enormous amount of credit card debt for basic expenses and frequent dinners out.
After retiring – Seale was a librarian and Gilmore a clergyman – the couple were notified of a $200 rent increase on their Queens apartment. With so much debt on the books, they realized they could no longer afford New York City, and after a few visits to see friends near the Delaware seashore, they moved there.
“I like to say I flunked retirement because I found out neither of us could afford to live on the pension and Social Security,” Gilmore said.
Although Delaware was a less expensive place to live, they didn’t turn their finances around until they found the non-profit Stand by Me 50+, which offers free financial coaches to Delaware residents over age 50.
The couple, who have been together 35 years and married for 8 years, have a decent income by rural Delaware’s standards, if not New York’s. Their combined income is about $70,000 per year. They were able to buy a $185,000 three-bedroom house in Lincoln, Delaware, after a friend helped with the down payment. Their $1,150 mortgage isn’t much more than the rent on their one-bedroom apartment in Queens.
Credit cards were Seale and Gilmore’s big issue. They owed about $40,000, including moving expenses and some new furniture purchased in Delaware. Both of them had retired at a fairly young age – 62 – but felt they had no choice but to go back to work. Gilmore found a job at a local operation for a national hospice organization and, last September, landed a part-time position as a Presbyterian pastor. Seale has worked at a non-profit that helps seniors who want to age in their homes.
The extra income helped, but the debt was still going up. “We weren’t paying off as much [debt] as we were spending,” Seale said. “No matter what I did, everything was still falling down around my shoulders.”
They just needed to get rid of the debt. …Learn More