idow feels stuck with her 100-year-old house
DEAR BRUCE: I don’t know anyone who knows more about financial matters than I do, and I know little. I am 73 years old and widowed, and I have an annual income of $20,000, plus or minus. I work two part-time jobs to supplement my IRAs and Social Security. I own a 100-year-old home in a dying city, so houses are not moving very fast, if at all.
I have to pay someone to do most of the maintenance, and the supply of people who do that is ever changing. The competency level goes down rather than up. There are many issues in a house this old — windows, side wall insulation, plaster cracks and, in my case, a chimney with repairs that have cost almost as much as the house did back in the ‘60s. (It still leaks, too.) This eats up most of my “disposable” income.
To make matters worse, a store on the corner has expanded right up to the driveway of the house next door to me, and parking is scarce on this street. The store owner bought the house next door, and while it is now rented, I figure it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a parking lot. I’ve already been to the zoning/planning board and wasted my breath about allowing commercial creep to cut deep into the middle-class residential area.
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