(CBS Newspath) — More than 33% of Americans ages 65 and over do not have any money saved for retirement, according to a survey from GoBankingRates. Now some seniors are making ends meet by getting a roommate.
Since retiring about six years ago, Paul Covington has relied exclusively on Social Security without any savings. The 81-year-old needed help paying his mortgage, so Jim English, a perfect stranger, moved in.
“We signed an agreement. So this was more of a formal process, which I liked a lot,” says English. He says he is paying less than what he would be paying if he was living on his own.
This is part of a growing trend. In 2016, 70% more seniors lived with roommates than a decade before, according to Harvard University. After five months of English contributing to the mortgage and utilities, Covington was able to save $3,000. Covington says he feels more comfortable with the money coming in. “It’s like a step into heaven, in terms of being relieved of, you know, the economic pressure,” he says
Covington and English say the benefits go beyond their bank accounts. “I think people should be more in contact. And something like this I think would work for a lotta people. So I would recommend it strongly,” says English. Covington says his daughter and two sons are “very excited” that he has a roommate.
There are organizations that will help pair people up. Covington and English used the non-profit New York Foundation for Senior Citizens to make their match. Experts say it’s important to use a reputable organization to avoid scam artists, and roommates should make sure to sign a contract or lease.