Economy hammering seniors

January 12, 2009 4:00:58 PM PST
Adelle Wolf has outlived most people, and it's not because she's 90-years-old. It's because at 90, she's still doing anything and everything she wants. She paints, swims, and she takes long walks. She does it all in Carolina Preserve - an active adult community in Cary.

"This is what you work for for all those years - what you dream of," offered Elizabeth Wicker with Carolina Preserve.

But for a lot of seniors, that retirement dream has changed. With the recession, an estimated $4 trillion has now been lost from pension funds in the stock market meltdown. While stocks are expected to bounce back eventually, seniors - and those about to retire - have seen their nest eggs evaporate.

Wicker has heard the stories.

"Pushing it back a little bit or maybe both won't retire. One will keep their job, you see a lot of people picking up part time jobs," she explained.

Even for those who collect a pension, like Wolf, the news is not good.

"I know I lost a lot of money in the stock market," she said. "I don't go out to dinner every night like some of these people can still afford to do."

Wolf knows she's lucky to afford the lifestyle offered at the Carolina Preserve. A neighbor she knows may not be.

"She keeps saying she can't afford to live," said Wolf.

"It's sad to see when people were planning for it have to make the decision to go with something a little bit smaller or gonna have to work longer," said Wicker.

But as someone who survived the Great Depression, Wolf has learned time heals all wounds, even financial ones.

"It has to. That's been the history of finances," she said.

The Carolina Preserve just opened two years ago. It's already sold about 700 homes, but there's room for 1200 homes on the property. The development team does expect sales to slow as the economy continues to struggle.


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