‘I’ll work until I die’: I’m 74 years old, have little money left and will fight medical problems. ‘I want to retire so I have a few years to enjoy life.’ -Dlight News

 'I'll work until I die': I'm 74 years old, have little money left and will fight medical problems.  'I want to retire so I have a few years to enjoy life.'

Dear MarketWatch, I appreciate you putting my sad plight in your column. Somehow I failed, not taking care of myself. I spent my money to support my family and never saved anything. Two episodes of cancer took me down a notch. I am 74 years old and must continue to work to pay my condo $56,000 and my car $8,000. I want to retire so I have a few years to enjoy life. Is there anyone who can help me? Because otherwise I will work until I die. If I can pay my taxes and bills, my life is nothing but work and worry. I never thought I would be 74 and still need to work. My right leg is giving me problems – it could be cancer again. I have torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders and have to get shots in them. I also feel shot in my left knee. I have essential thrombosis and will take pills for the rest of my life. I have too much iron in my blood so every two weeks I have to have blood drawn until my ferritin level is back to normal. I have lymphoma in my left arm and I need to wrap it every night. So is there anyone who can help me please? I am begging. See: We’re in our 60s, my husband plans to work until he ‘dies’ and our medical bills are overwhelming — how can we retire like this? Dear reader, I am so sorry to hear about the struggle you are facing. It’s difficult to give specific advice depending on the circumstances, but there are some resources available for you to follow. You asked if there was someone who could help you. My first suggestion is to find a good financial planner who offers pro bono work. There are consultants who work with clients for free, or charge very little. You can find these advisors in a few ways: the Financial Planning Association, the Certified Financial Planner Board, and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, to name a few. You may also want to contact cancer associations, as many of them have professional networks they can tap into to help people in need. The Financial Planning Association has a Financial Planning for Cancer program, where planners help families understand the finances behind this terrible disease. The program was developed with the Foundation for Financial Planning and Family Reach, an organization dedicated to helping people overcome the financial barriers associated with cancer. Want more actionable tips for your retirement savings journey? Read MarketWatch’Retirement Hacks’ column benefits. Other organizations in your area may be available for rental assistance and disability benefits. The website, Need Help Paying Bills, has a list of tips as well as information on free grants, clothing and job training. Look into your health insurance to make sure you’re properly covered and that you’re getting the most out of your coverage. This includes co-pays, premiums and fair prices for eligible drugs. Take stock of all your assets and debts. For example, you mentioned that you still have to pay off your condo, but is it the home you plan to live in for the rest of your life? If it’s too big (say, one or two bedrooms is too much), have you considered downsizing? If so, the sale could bring you extra cash to build a nest egg, and you’ll also spend less on taxes and utilities. The same goes for your car – you might be able to find a cheaper car, and if you don’t care if it’s a few years old, you might even save money that way. Just make sure it’s in acceptable working order so you’re safe (and not paying for constant repairs, either). See also: 6 places to get free, professional financial advice now and talk to your family and friends. You mentioned that you spent your life helping them – can they help you now? Maybe they can’t give money, but are there other ways you could use their help, like doing chores around the house or finding assistance programs? Beyond financial and medical obstacles, which are obviously very real, try to find small, inexpensive ways to enjoy life now. Your circumstances are tough, and you may think it’s all downhill from here, but can you find a nice place to sit outside and enjoy the weather, nature, birds or animals walking around? Is there a library or other center nearby where you can take free classes or find friends with similar interests? Can you build on the relationships you already have and do things like host a potluck with family or friends so you can have quality time but on a budget. Happiness doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. An expert said that relationships are the key to real happiness. Readers: Do you have suggestions for this reader? Add them in the comments below. Have a question about your own retirement savings? Email us HelpMeRetire@marketwatch.com

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