‘I will work until I die’: I’m 74, have little money saved and battle medical issues. ‘I want to retire so I can have a few years to enjoy life.’

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Dear MarketWatch,

Thank you for putting my sad situation in your column. I have somehow failed, not taking care of myself. I have spent my money on helping my family and have never been able to save anything. The two episodes of cancers depressed me quite a bit. I am 74 years old and I have to keep working to pay my $56,000 apartment and $8,000 car.

I want to retire so I can have a few years to enjoy life. Is there anyone who can help me? Because if not, I will work until I die. My life has been nothing but misery of working and worrying if I can pay my taxes and bills. I never thought I would end up at 74 and still have to work.

My right leg is giving me problems, it could be cancer again. I can no longer get up to work in so much pain. I have torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders and have to shoot myself. I also have a shot in my left knee. I have essential thrombosis and will be on 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 comes down to normal. My left arm has lymphoma and I have to wrap it every night.

So can someone help me please? I beg you

I will see: We are 60 years old, my husband plans to work until he “drops dead” and our medical bills are overwhelming, how can we retire like this?

dear reader,

I am so sorry to hear about the struggles you are facing.

It’s hard to give specific advice given the circumstances, but there are a few resources available to follow.

You asked if there is anyone who can help you. My first suggestion would be to find a qualified financial planner who offers pro bono work. There are advisors who work with clients for free or charge very little. You can find these advisors in a number of ways: the Financial Planning Association, the Board of Certified Financial Planner, and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, to name a few. You may also want to contact a cancer association, as many of them have professional networks that they can draw on to help people in need.

The Financial Planning Association has a cancer financial planning program where planners help families make sense of 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 obstacles associated with cancer.

Want more helpful tips for your retirement savings journey? Read MarketWatch’sRetirement Hacks’ column

Also check out possible government benefits at Benefits.gov, which has a tool that will rank the programs and benefits you’re eligible for, such as health care and food. There may be other organizations available in your area to help with rental assistance and disability benefits. This website called Need Help Paying Bills has a list of suggestions as well as information on free grants, clothing and job training.

Check with your health insurance to make sure you are properly covered and to get the most out of your coverage to begin with. This includes co-pays, premiums and the right prices for the right drugs.

Take stock of all your assets and debts. For example, you mentioned that you still have to pay off your condo, but is this the house you plan to live in for the rest of your life? If it’s too big (say, one or two bedrooms too many), have you considered downsizing? If so, the sale could bring in extra cash so you can 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 less expensive car, and if you don’t mind if it’s a few years old, you could save money that way too. Just make sure it’s in acceptable working condition so you’re safe (and you’re 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 provide money, but are there other ways you could use their help, like doing things at home or finding assistance programs?

Beyond the financial and medical obstacles, which are obviously very real, try to find small, inexpensive ways to enjoy life now. Your circumstances are harsh and it can feel like it’s all downhill from here, but you can find a nice place to sit outside and enjoy the weather, nature, birds or animals roaming around ? Is there a library or other center nearby where you can take free classes or meet friends with similar interests? You can build on the relationships you already have and do things like get together with family or friends so you can have quality time but on a budget. Happiness doesn’t have to come with a big price. 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.

Do you have questions about your own retirement savings? Email us at HelpMeRetire@marketwatch.com

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