Growing up in the outskirts of Cincinnati was more than fun for AARP Texas volunteer Lisa Lum. It was an education in the importance of being financially strong.
“We had land and grew trees. And my father, who was a scholar and had lived through the depression, showed me and my three brothers how to save,” says Lisa. “It was an important lesson, because you need to be able to take care of yourself especially if something comes up.”
Lisa's childhood lessons paid off. She worked her way through college, graduated without debt, and went on to get a doctorate in math. Her quest to be financially sound also put her in a position to deal with the financial catastrophe she faced years later while married.
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“My husband, Al, had senile dementia. And towards the last years of his life, he needed care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So I put him in a place where he could receive this care,” she says. “That ate up our savings.”
Slowly, but surely, Lisa managed to rebuild the nest egg eroded by her late husband’s medical bills. Today, she owns her own condo and even bought two more which she rents out.
But not everyone is as financially sound as Lisa. While she bounced back to grow her savings, more than half of the Texans AARP recently polled feel somewhat or very anxious about having enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
Lisa learned from the financial hit she took and says she’s content with her life now.
“I feel like I am OK now,” says Lisa. “I have built up my financial nest egg again, and I work because I like to work, not because I have to. I feel happy.”