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Senior Citizens & Poverty

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posted on Mar, 20 2008 @ 07:59 PM
This really burns my ass.

My grandmother is in her mid 70's and has lived a life. She was 19 years old with three children and a widow. This is someone that has always been there for me and my love for her is comparable to very little. Having moved away from home a few years ago, I do not see her as much as I would like but I try to talk to her on the phone at least once a week. While talking on the phone with her she said a few things that really irked me.

As an elder person, she's not capable of getting around as she used to. Mind you she walks more than most of us, even in the worst of storms, but she can not be expected to get to the bank to by 2pm when the mail doesn't come until almost 1pm. So she has decided to have all of her money directly deposited. As a convenience, she has her bills automated as well. The money comes in, the bills are paid, she tries to live as stress free as possible. ...Right.

Due to the holiday season being upon us, her income was not deposited on the day that it should have. But the payments she has been expected to pay are still being taken out. Because the money wasn't there, to no fault of her own, she was charged for each one that was not there. Today alone she was hit with over $200 in fees. I'm not sure what for, but one of them was upwards of $70. She lives on a fixed income and is trying hard to keep a bit of oil in the tank. The winter is a long tough battle for her and now a large percentage of her monthly income is going to be taken for late fees.

This is ridiculous.

Are senior citizens considered a second rate class because of their physical restrictions? Is this maltreatment justified?

Our Super Moderator, intrepid, authored a great discussion on this sometime ago and that is what is resulting in this partial rant. Our senior citizens truly are a class that are being forced beneath the poverty line and likely pushed back into the work force.

This is only one example of what I believe to be blatant maltreatment of a class of citizens that have earned our respect and courtesy. Why is it that we teach our children to respect their elders, but our ignorant bureaucrats treat them as if they are second rate citizens.

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 11:32 AM
The same thing happened to me this month to the tune of $60. It happened because was ill and decided not to make a deposit and then didn't realize that my account was so low.

They call this overdraft protection, but in this case I would have been better off if my purchase had been denied, because I would have just paid cash, but as it was I was docked $60, which is not small potatoes.

My disability check is direct deposited, but I have but one automatic payment to avoid just this sort of thing.

This is what happens when we depend on machines to do too much.

I'm going to the bank today to cash in a bunch of change, which I began saving more than ten years ago.

I'm sorry for your grandmother's problem. Perhaps, she would do better to get rid of the automatic payments. A few stamps are a lot cheaper than an overdraft. Even a late fee is cheaper than an overdraft.

[edit on 2008/3/21 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Mar, 21 2008 @ 03:32 PM
This is scant comfort, but the banks will do that to anybody who has an overdraft, young or old. It's their way of making more money off the poor and those with fixed incomes, the ones most likely to have insufficient funds to cover such an error. Likewise most companies charge late fees for overdue bills when in the past they didn't do so; even if your payment is mailed on time you will be charged if the company hasn't processed the payment by the due date, and many take up to a week to do that. M y bank now charges me a monthly fee for my checking account--I got a letter explaining that they were going to do that basically because they weren't making enough money off of my account as it was. People with larger accounts still get their checking free. I live on a fixed income so this little bit matters to me; beyond that I'm looking for a new bank just on principle.

Allowances should be made for customers who have a long history of maintaining their bank accounts satisfactorily and paying their bills on time. There should be some reward for responsible behavior. People like your grandmother should be able to talk to somebody who has the power to make such allowances, but I don't think many institutions even think of that. Those late and overdraft fees, even small ones, add up to considerable profits for the companies.

posted on Mar, 22 2008 @ 01:56 AM
I got done in a similar way bank fees that were charged because I went into the red by mistake caused me to do the exact same thing two weeks later.

I would still recommend the likes of automatic payments or what ever name they go by . They allow me to know how much money I have left to play with after my bills have been paid. Also those who live in rural areas may not have ready access to a bank .

Poverty in old age is something that can be avoided but a lot harder to cure . In general I would follow this wisdom if your not near sixty five .

  1. Pay off your student loan first
  2. Keep your cost of living as low as possible
  3. Put as money into superannuation as you can afford to do so .

I live in a nice caravan and I wouldn't dream of buying a house . The same goes for my Mum who is putting as money as she can afford into superannuation . When the time comes when she cant work any more she wont be able to live off Super but it will still come in handy .

Note my Mum hasn't been putting money into Super for a long period of time.

posted on Mar, 22 2008 @ 04:37 PM
Chissler I'm sorry your Grandma is going through this I suggest she call the bank; sometimes they will waive the overdraft fees for longstanding customers. In any case it can't hurt to try.

The treatment of our seniors is horrid. These are the people who have worked their entire lives helping to build and rebuild our countries. They have sacrificed too much already and are asked daily to sacrifice more. As prices go up on everything we will have seniors who will have to choose between the meds they need to live or food; food or heat. This is ridiculous. There is no reason seniors should have to make those choices. Medical benefits can and should be improved; while I'm not in favor of higher taxes I would be willing to pay a little more to ensure that our seniors can have the things they need to survive. We owe them.

posted on Mar, 22 2008 @ 04:53 PM
And that is it right there, the need to choose between basic necessities.

My grandmother is a strong person, but she normally doesn't speak with much insight. When we were on the phone the other day, I was floored with her perception of what is going on with her situation and the treatment she receives.

She was saying how is she supposed to decide between putting food in the fridge or oil in the tank. She told me she would rather be hungry than cold, but what if she were to have young children at home? How do you not feed your children? I try to talk to her about prioritizing her bills and cut back on a phone bill one month to make sure there is food in the fridge, but she has balanced money for her whole life and she says that she didn't willfully miss bill payments then and she won't know.

The cost of living continues to rise and their income remains the same.

It seems the only truth that comes before death is poverty.

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