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I’m 60 and worried about my dwindling savings

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a homemaker in my 60s and I’m concerned about my future because my bank savings have almost run out.

I live with my husband on pensions and we still have housing loans to repay.

When my mother died about 10 years ago, I received about 13 million yen as inheritance.

Around that time, I suffered depression caused by the menopause. To distract myself from depression, I went binge shopping. I bought many luxurious brand bags and clothes. In addition, we used a considerable amount of money for repairing our house. Thanks to all this, our bank savings are now less than 1 million yen.

I’m scared to see the amount gradually decrease. I’m really concerned about my life in the future. Every day, I’m haunted by money matters and am always thinking about what to do. This all drives me into a continual depression.

Of course, I’ve discussed the matter with my husband. However, as he is a happy-go-lucky person, he said we can somehow manage. So only I seem concerned about the matter and feel anxiety.

How can I endure the tough mental burden?

F, Hyogo Prefecture

Dear Ms. F:

You are concerned about your economic condition for the future. This is probably a common problem for many people. I’m in a situation almost similar to yours, so your concern struck a chord of sympathy in me.

However, in your case, you went binge shopping in the past and now regret it. Even if I were to say something about that now, it’s too late. All you can do is try to sell all those luxurious items you bought to show how much you regret what you did. But more importantly, don’t waste money again.

On the other hand, repairing your house was truly necessary. Using money for it was reasonable and also worthwhile if you consider that it resulted in increasing the value of the house.

You can’t expect to hit a dramatic come-from-behind home run to get rid of your anxiety immediately and escape such a tough situation. But I hope you’ll at least get a bloop hit. As you said you are suffering from depression, your way of thinking about this is probably too pessimistic.

But suffering from depression has one merit. As its sufferers are likely more sensitive to the harsh reality facing them than optimists are, they have more chances to come up with good ideas.

So, why not think of various measures of your own to cope with your situation, which your optimistic husband could never think of?

For example, moving to a house that is less expensive and easy to live in is an idea. If this idea is too wild for you, just trying to do all you can to stay healthy is a worthy goal. We say keeping good health is the most desirable asset in old age.

Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist

(from Feb. 18, 2015, issue)

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