Sarah’s Story
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Sarah’s Story

January 18, 2012

Savvy Saving Seniors

Sarah, 82, has a master’s degree from Columbia University and spent a long career in education, radio, television, event management, and public relations.

But even she fell prey to a scammer who was looking to make a quick buck off a trusting older adult.

“I got a call saying I was a winner of a cruise, and that all I had to do was send in $118 to claim it,” she says. “I had to answer a survey first, but they didn’t ask for any confidential information such as my Social Security number. None of the questions were suspicious, and they sounded completely legitimate.”

Unfortunately, the offer was not legitimate, and Sarah lost $118. But thanks to NCOA’s Savvy Saving Seniors® program, she now has the tools and information she needs to make sure that never happens again.

Sarah is a participant in NCOA’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), managed by PathStone Corp. in Rochester, NY. PathStone is also one of NCOA’s Economic Security Centers, which are working to connect older adults to programs and services that can increase their financial security.

Tips and tools to be savvy about money

After her husband died, Sarah found herself moving among jobs over the years. In need of retraining and job placement assistance, she applied to SCSEP four years ago. The program has helped her update her office skills and find work during down times.

This year, Sarah participated in Savvy Saving Seniors®, two workshops developed by NCOA with funding from Bank of America that are designed to help older adults learn how to budget their money, find benefits, and avoid scams.

“All of the tips were very helpful on how to get help with heat, food, and jobs,” Sarah says. “A lot of people don’t know about these programs.”

Dozens of community organizations are offering Savvy Saving Seniors® workshops to older adults in their area. The materials are free and can be downloaded at

“It’s great to see seniors in the state of New York begin to take control of their finances through taking workshops such as NCOA’s Savvy Saving Seniors®,” says Madell Breedlove, deputy of Training & Employment SCSEP/ Economic Security Initiative at PathStone.

Armed with new information and training, Sarah continues to work each day to contribute to society.

“I believe that if you’re healthy, you can always find something to do to make a difference in the world,” she says. “It gives you a reason to get up in the morning.”


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