Susan Hartt describes herself as an incorrigible optimist, drawn to change and challenge. After a long, successful career in marketing and public relations, she had reason to feel financially confident in her older years.
But three years ago, a bank foreclosed on her modest house in Hamden, Conn. “I don’t think I’ve ever been as anxious in my life,” she recalled.
Ms. Hartt, 79, had encountered a combination of adversities. After a late-life divorce she called “amicable and equitable,” she had no retirement plan; it had seemed unnecessary because her husband had a “substantial” 401(k). Successive jobs had grown less lucrative, and her freelance work dried up during the recession.