I recently read an article about women over 50 and their lack of income. The article outlined how women fake it. They still dress nice, go out with friends and by all appearances are doing well. The fact is, they are not doing well. They hide it. And I hide it from people every day.
I am 57 years old. I have no retirement, no 401k, no CD’s, no nest egg. I am one of millions of women who didn’t work to stay home with children, or didn’t work because a significant other didn’t want me to, or worked part-time to have time with family. Because of that, I will also have very little social security money. It is tougher to find work, and I find I can’t do work I used to do.
I also rely on the SNAP program for groceries. I listen to lots of people complain about people on food stamps. How they don’t work. How they are lazy,. How they are losers. They do not know without food stamps, I would not have enough to eat.
I rarely go out with friends. I can’t afford it. When I do, I order inexpensive appetizers and drink water or tea. I save up to go to the movies and for movie rentals.
I have the world’s cheapest internet. It is slow, but it works. I lived without internet for months, and I may have to give it up again.
I don’t get manies/pedies. I often cut my own hair. I don’t buy jewelry. My clothes come from the thrift shops.
I don’t have a tons of debt. I am working to pay off my one credit card (with a low balance). I have a car payment. I have a cheap cell phone service. I stretch my pennies.
I have my dogs. I have been told to get rid of them. I have been told I have no right to have them. What people do not seem to understand is my dogs keep me here. They keep me looking to tomorrow. They give me a reason to get up every morning and fight to survive.
I have no safety net. No spouse. No significant other. I do have a handful of real friends who have been a huge help when I needed it. I am so grateful for those friends, I can not express it.
Think about this the next time you go to lunch with your best friend and notice she orders appetizers only, no drinks and politely turns down sharing a bottle of wine. Think about this the next time you hear someone complaining about food stamp recipients. Think about this when you realize one of your friends no longer has fancy nails and high end hair cuts.
She may be faking it. Right along with millions of other women.