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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Senior citizens getting roommates to help save money: "Like a step into heaven"

After five months of English contributing to the mortgage and utilities, Covington was able to save $3,000.

More than 33% of Americans aged 65 and over do not have any money saved for retirement. So senior citizens are getting creative to make ends meet financially, with many getting roommates. In 2016, 70% more seniors lived with roommates than a decade before.

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 moved in.  

"We signed an agreement," English said. "So this was more of a formal process, which I liked a lot."

Covington and English were matched through the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, a non-profit organization that facilitates living arrangements for seniors in need.

Covington said he was nervous about paying his mortgage at the time. While helping Covington with that, English was able to save on his end as well..

"I'm paying less than what I would if I was on my own by at least a few hundred," English said.

After five months of English contributing to the mortgage and utilities, Covington was able to save $3,000.

Covington said the extra money is "like a step into heaven."

"In terms of being relieved of, you know, the economic pressure," Covington said.

The benefits also go beyond their bank accounts. 

"I think people should be more in contact," English said. "And something like this, I think, would work for a lot of people. So I would recommend it strongly."

CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger said as arrangements like Convington and English's become more common, it's important to watch out for scammers.

"Unless you're working with an organization, you got to have your guard up a little bit, right? So if you don't have an organization in your town... you want to do a little bit of a background check," Schlesinger said. "You want to have a contract or a lease. But, if possible, certainly use an organization to match you."