11/21/2011 3:18 PM ET|
Over 55 and desperate for work
Baby boomers who've seen their savings decimated aren't so much looking forward to retirement as trying to postpone it. For those without jobs, it's especially hard.
Fred Edgar, a 61-year-old unemployed product marketing manager, spends his days scouring the Internet and networking with former co-workers to find work. Laid off from Honeywell last October, the Dighton, Mass., resident needs to rebuild a retirement nest egg that lost more than 50% its value over the past four years. He's already pulled out $35,000 to keep himself afloat.
"All these things I planned for and paid into have taken a beating, and I'm worried there will be nothing there when I need it if I don't get hired soon," Edgar said. "It's not a place I thought I'd be at this point in my life. It's spooky."
Edgar isn't the only one spooked. Millions of aging baby boomers on the cusp of retirement not only lost their jobs in the Great Recession but also saw their savings eviscerated. Remaining in the labor force longer than planned is their only option for replenishing what they lost.
Yet workers in their late 50s and older face bleak job prospects. During previous downturns, unemployment among people 55 and older was lower than for other age groups, which some economists attributed to older workers' greater experience as well as union seniority rules. Earlier generations in this demographic group had compelling incentives to retire and not work, thus potentially lowering the unemployment rate. Mandatory retirement at age 65 or earlier was a given in most industries until age-discrimination laws were enacted. And, more important, when workers did approach retirement, they were confident that their defined-benefit pensions and Social Security benefits would suffice. Now, defined-benefit pensions have been replaced by less-secure 401k's, which fell prey to the 2008 stock market crash.
The shift from defined-benefit pension plans to defined-contribution plans encourages workers to continue working. Under a defined-contribution system, the longer a person works, the more he or she can save. Most pension plans, on the other hand, cap the payout after a person works a certain number of years. "Why would you want to tell someone, 'You worked 30 years . . . no matter what you do afterward it doesn't help your pension, so you might as well retire,'" asked James Sherk, a senior policy analyst in labor economics at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The death of the gold-watch retirement
Unemployment at the peak of the current downturn for workers 55 and older, now 6.8%, was 40% higher than it was at the height of the last major recession in 1982, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One reason for the rise: A greater proportion of older workers has remained in the workforce. Early retirement -- once considered part of the American Dream -- is losing ground. The workforce participation rate for individuals 55 and older grew to 40.2% in 2010, up from 39.4% in 2008 and 29.4% in 1993, according to Census Bureau data. Relatively recent changes in Social Security law may account for the dramatic increase.
Since 1939, earnings-test laws have precluded people from collecting their maximum Social Security benefits if they earn more than a certain amount. In 2000, a law passed under President Bill Clinton removed limits on the amount people who had reached full retirement age -- then 65 and now 66 -- could earn before their Social Security checks were reduced. But the law left in place rules that workers ages 62 to 64 get their benefits reduced $1 for every $2 they earn above $14,160 a year.
The sharp decline in retirement assets from the 2007-08 stock market plunge has also contributed to older workers remaining in the job market. Defined-benefit pensions have gone from covering 80% of private-sector workers in 1985 to only 20% in 2008.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
There are jobs galore in the Williston area of North Dakota. Type in Williston to see jobs. I am 67 years old, retired but drive school bus part time. One of our drivers got a Class A license and believe it or not made $125,000 last year driving a salt water truck. The lowest paying jobs are McDonalds and they pay $15 per hour to start. If you don't believe me, get in your car and find out for yourself. The last time I looked, there were over 400 jobs and no takers.
Go out there and work this job for a few years until the economy picks up and you will have weathered the storm. There is no age discrimination out there. They just need workers.
I have read many of the posts from people who are my same age (56) and similar situations (out of work for two years). This is such a sad commentary on our society. Luckily, I have been blessed with my savings and investments. So I'm not in a dire financial situation. However, beyond that are the feelings of depression and worthlessness that come from the constant rejection, or lack of response to resumes.
We should be the top wage earners. But now our wealth is going into subsistence survival. This will leave nothing to pass on to the coming generation, but debt. Our children will not have it better than we did. The golden age of the USA is over.
Welcome to the downfall of the American Empire.
We need work for older Americans in Colorado. The political parties have no difficulty in asking citizens to support their dreams of serving in public office; yet they fail to implement change that allows older Americans to engage in employment opportunities, providing assurance of paying day to day living expenses.
Not everyone was fortunate enough to land high paying jobs, and save millions of dollars for retirement. Those of us with disabilities are left clinging to a single thread of hope. Employer's please we urge you; for once start thinking about opening up more employment opportunties for older Americans.
After all it could be you in this position one day.
Your post was blocked because it has a hyperlink or appears similar to spam. Please revise your post and try again.
IT DID NOT. I'm trying to post a "Clean", "Object", "Opinion"
2 Years ago I resigned from my position to care for family...I am a Registered Nurse. Since then I have applied to positions. Because of my extensive Emergency Room experience when ever I apply for a position, I am told that I do not qualify for that position. I am offered a position in the ER. i excepted a position in the ER only to learn after corp. orientation the position didn't exist but that there would be work on the night shift. Anyone who has ever worked in the health care field has seen the abuse of the newbie...20 years experience let those with less experience kill the new nurse. When did the nursing field hiring become so despiteful and cheap?
For a more complete picture of the job situation that goes beyond the generations fighting about jobs here in the US, read the new book just published by Jim Clifton (the CEO of the Gallup Co) titled: The Coming Job Wars.
This is going to be the focus of the world, not just the US. This book should be required reading for ALL CEO's, managers as well as all politicians.
Just go take a look at the introduction and you will see that the "jobs war" is something we all need to pay attention to!
To Young 60 and others who are still applying for jobs..........my best advice is to stop wasting your time on that and promote yourself as an individiaul and find something that way. The other day, I was commuting to work in D.C. on the metro, our subway system. Standing outside, nicely dressed but not overly so, was a gentleman in his 60's. He had started an AVON business and was passing out brochures for the monthly promotions. These cost him about 50 cents each and I knew that before I took one. I, like many others, appreciated his efforts. I placed a $50 order with him, on line, that comes with free shipping. I do not use cosmetics, but I was able to find some personalized pajamas that I decided to get for my grandchildren. I did this SOLELY to support his efforts.
On craigslist, there are ads under ETC or part-time or for caregivers. After you have been unemployed, you are truly undesirable to an employer, so do SOMETHING to update yourself and your resume and have a current job when you are applying for jobs. Business cards are cheaply available through VISTA Print on line. Start passing them out. This WILL help. Think about it. Only 20% of jobs are advertised, anyway. Promote yourself, don't apply for a "job". I hope this is helpful to you. I know it's tough out there. I have had to cut my rate of pay for the free-lance work I do to remain competitive. My expenses are up and my rate is down. I am glad to have any work and I know what it feels like to work for half of what you know you are worth, but the point is to be working, continue to be out there doing something, and not to think you are going to get hired if you have been unemployed for a long time. If you have to....lie!
Wake up people! Our economy needs consumers with $, a lot of consumers, not just the top few. Cutting government jobs and is a job killer, stop killing our economy by cutting consumers! Responsible government spending creates jobs. NASA not only created jobs but revolutionized our technology in many areas. Internet created jobs and is the only economic stimulus still working. We need infrastructure, power grids, broad band, and research that can be sold to the private sector. The private sector has been stealing from the government forever, stop corporate welfare. The GoP likes a flat tax , then let it be so, take the top off of the payroll tax and lower the rate, problem solved. The public is not aware of the 100,000/yr top on payroll tax and the media seems to like it that away. I am for a flat tax on income tax as well, with a responsible cost of living deduction for all and a short form filing similar to what we have now. This is what people think of when they say they want a flat tax. When is the media going to inform the public and stop the cover up. Medicare is a flat tax, but the rate does not match the cost, this is a budget problem, raise the rate! Budget analysis needs work in other areas as well. If you are going to pay for defense out of the income tax you need to raise the rate. Maybe we need a defense tax to clear the analytical budge process and inform the public. The rate for the appropriate tax should complement the cost assigned that tax. This is how you balance a budget. If you don't assigned a cost a revenue you can never balance. What tax is assigned to the cost of interest, if you say general fund, then all rates must be increased. Does anyone in congress know how a budget works?
Find out why the Occupy movement will NOT allow It's self to be co-opted by any status quo political party or make claims of yet another party name to arise for Representative govt. The elites of Crony and Corporate Capitalism have long been puppet-mastering all levels of govt any or either parties.
Their agenda is Profit over people with huge levels of exploitation on the citizen masses through end user Consumerism, Taxation and Wage-Slave income control. You can be reduced to mere homeless existence and still face contributing too the profits and Taxation used to benefit the privileged elites in this Kleptocracy we live under. Why do you think half of the eligible voters don't vote? Apathy of course, they know those who have the wealth and power will do and get what they want in our 235 year old system.
What does it take for people to act, and say NO MORE business elites having everything their way as owners,rulers and dominators of Capital Huh? We are the 99% they are the less than 1% getting everything their way because of WHO has ownership plus rule and control under a Kleptocratic Republic. Just how hard can it be to strip this Kleptocracy of it's existence and out-law any way,shape or form from existing! National ownership plus direct rule and control over money,business and govt must be directly that of the citizens or face inequality regardless of what society label slogan is claimed. Hence each citizen must have their legal share equal to their fellow citizen. Real Democracy Greek origin "The people rule".
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
RECENT ARTICLES ON RETIREMENT
Children from lower income families are at greater risk of suffering accidental injuries and being sickened by food, according to a Consumer Federation of America study.