Inflation has those who in their golden years pinch nickels and pennies

SAN ANTONIO – Inflation puts a strain on everyone, but those living their golden years on a fixed income are struggling to decide which bills to pay.

Robert Highland, now 70, retired after many odd jobs and a few short careers in law enforcement and prisons. When he retired at 67, he thought he was ready.

“I thought I could live on Social Security, plus, you know, whatever little side job I could take,” he said.

But after a series of unfortunate events that take away Highland’s safety net, like his home and his vehicle, he finds himself at his wit’s end.

“If I have, you know, $25, $30 in the bank before my next paycheck comes in, I’m doing pretty well,” he said.

Highland said he wished he could have made a better financial plan. He urges young people to save while they can.

“Don’t blow it up just because you have it,” he said. “Get a good house, make sure your kids have food and stuff, but don’t go out and buy a bunch of stuff you don’t really need to have.”

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Joseph Warren with the Financial Planning Headquarters says clients close to retirement or newly retired are usually nervous when the market goes down. He tells them to be frugal where they can be.

“Ask yourself about every expense: Does it bring you joy? And if not, try cutting it so you can just resist it because it’s temporary. The market works in cycles. It’s not going to last forever,” Warren explained.

How much you need to live on depends on the type of lifestyle you’d like to have, he says.

“Some people can live on very little money and be very happy. And then some people need a certain baseline – a kind of ‘following the Joneses’, to be happy,” Warren said.

It encourages workers to set aside funds from each paycheck to make investments. Also, build up your savings so you have enough to live on for one to two years if something goes wrong.

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Above all, find an objective person to give you financial advice.

“You’re all going through an emotional rollercoaster, but someone else can say, ‘Hey, that’s a good decision. That’s why,” Warren said.

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