Recession tales: The price of growing old in a lousy economy


I just bought my airline ticket for my friend's 100th birthday party, which she's anticipating with considerable excitement. Life has been quiet since she gave up competitive ballroom dancing at 85. Planning a party spices things up.

The oil wells that my friend's husband left her have kept her lifestyle comfortable – until the last couple of years when she developed a need for 24-hour care after the car she was riding in was broadsided.

Even a couple of active oil wells don't gush enough money to cover all the expenses of extreme aging. My friend and her children, who are old enough to be contemplating their own retirements, can see the day when it is all going to run out. If mom's still around – and the doc says she very well could be – longevity is going to be an expensive problem.