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Counting Citizens Who Weren’t Bailed Out – America’s Seniors

“When the banks went under and the stock market went way down … I lost [most] of it,” said Charlotte Wahlstrom, 74,  who lives in a trailer in a small town in Michigan and gets by on $140/month in food stamps.

This wasn’t part of her retirement plan. After her divorce in 1976, Wahlstrom continued to work as an administrative assistant and went back for her college degree, later landing a solid job at a university. Growing up on a small farm in Minnesota, Wahlstrom learned to stretch a dollar, and by her late 50s she had accumulated roughly six figures in her retirement account. Unfortunately, it was mostly invested in stock mutual funds.  Wahlstrom is part of a group experts call “the hidden hungry.”

“When the banks went under and the stock market went way down … I lost [most] of it,” she said.  This is point where she would have been bailed out if she were a major financial institution who “lost most of it” when the financial crisis hit.

Many of these Americans are new to poverty, said Sudipto Banerjee, research associate with the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington, D.C.

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