With the issue of affordability affecting many in New Jersey, some help is being offered to seniors to make sure that they can afford to stay in the state.
“Everybody is talking about all these very wealthy people leaving the state of New Jersey. They seem to be forgetting about older Americans. It’s not just food and drugs, it is about property taxes. It is expensive, so what can they do to stay here? And right now it’s all about living longer and living smarter,” said Ellen Steinberg, chair and director of the Senior Citizen Council of Union County.
The Senior Citizen Council of Union County hosted the “Stay in New Jersey: How to Make Your Money Last” event. More than 350 people attended the free event where 35 vendors offered free on-site screenings, quotes and information on a range of issues. A common goal among attendees was how to make their money last longer.
“I think we need to generate a little more income. You know, the money we have coming in, and the taxes and our expenses,” said Scotch Plains resident Melody Sunbear.
“And it’s not just an issue for the individuals, it’s an issue for their children. We’ve got to start looking at the specific needs rather than looking at the generalities,” said Steinberg.
In addition to the variety of vendors, a panel of guest speakers held a discussion where they focused on topics including personal budget planning and Medicaid eligibility.
“Arranging for home care so that people can get the services and supports they need in the home is a huge challenge in New Jersey. Nursing home care in New Jersey can be $350 to $400 a day. There are some other states that will provide these services 24/7 for people that are financially eligible for Medicaid, but New Jersey does not do that,” said Linda Ershow-Levenberg, managing partner and attorney at Fink Rosner Ershow-Levenberg.
“They are living on a fixed income and they are worried about that. And they have so many things that are crouching on them all the time, and that’s one of our goals. We don’t want our seniors to be stressed. They worked hard and long and they deserve to have a stress-free retirement,” said Diana Saverino, consumer loan officer at Investors Bank.
Steinberg says the longer people live, the more they need to plan how to make their money last, so they can be financially prepared to retire and stay in New Jersey.