Ten Money Questions for Robert Levithan
1. Your new column, The New 60, on Advocate.com is insightful and very revealing. What prompted you to write it?
As I realized that I was approaching 60, I became aware that I was experiencing an entire ‘chapter’ I had neither expected nor one I had been told could be so much fun!
2. I’m going to jump straight to the hard questions. It makes the easy ones look better! Financially, what’s it like being HIV positive for you?
HIV has impacted my finances in several ways: I changed careers: From Entrepreneur/Producer to Psychotherapist. I spent a couple of years on disability. I have always had private insurance, some familial support and access to care, so I have not ‘suffered’ because of it.
3. A lot of HIV+ men your age didn’t plan for retirement because the picture was grim. What do you find their typical financial picture is now?
That’s the quandary: I have lived for decades as if this could be my last year, now (and for a few years) I have added the element that I might be here in 20 years. I do not have the means to retire fully except in reduced circumstances,, however, as long as I have my mind functioning, I can work in my field. Many older HIV+ men do not have retirement plans and those with great private disability are faced with the quandary that most of them end at age 65. Some are facing outliving their means.
4. Do you have an investment portfolio?
I have some money in a S & P 500 based fund. AN IRA, some other investments. Most of my money is used for the buying and selling of properties which is how I have create most of my capital.
5. You seem to have a lot of pots on the stove. Do you plan to retire someday, or would that drive you nuts?
As addressed above, I plan on writing and working with people as long as I can. Hopefully with more time to spend in exotic locations like Bali and Bahia!
6. Do you have advice for 60s+ queers who live in big cities?
Big cities offer mobility and community for us at any age. keep making new friends of all ages!
7. Your dog, Sophie, is a sweetheart and an incredibly smart dog. Can you tell us about what it’s like owning a dog in the city?
I am particularly fortunate, as she goes to work with me and sits in on my sessions. So many city dogs are alone all day which I find sad.
8. You’re both a designer and a psychotherapist. What inexpensive tricks do you have for making a dingy space cheerier?
Choose a simple palate such as all white, and make everything relate to everything else. Only have objects that you love and that tell the story of your life!
9. Which do you think is more important: cheap rent or accessibility?
I have opted for accessibility. I could have much more space if I lived out of the downtown Manhattan area that I love. I like being able to walk to most of my life!
10. What financial advice would you give young nomadic twentysomethings looking to make a new urban space their home?
Be creative in all aspects. Make where ever you live beautiful (to you) and look at how to eventually buy an apartment or space. In the long run, years of rent can be a waste.