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Forget retirement, find a job

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Posted: 4 pm ET

Working longer seems like a simple way to stretch retirement resources, but a lot of people obviously find this an unacceptable retirement planning option. At least, it appears that way based on a very unscientific measurement: the number of posted comments and e-mails I get every time I suggest it.

Richard Johnson, senior fellow at the Urban Institute think tank, has spent a lot of time considering employment for older workers. He concludes that employers don't have much incentive to hire older workers because -- right or wrong -- they view them as costly:  unhealthy, demanding of high salaries and hard to train.

The exceptions are fields where it is difficult to find skilled people. "Hospitals are very willing to make concessions because they can't find enough nurses," he says.

The situation is similar in some engineering fields and at many energy-related companies, he says.

If you're an older worker who isn't in one of those businesses, but would like to keep working, he suggests considering a career switch. About 25 percent of people older than 50 successfully switch careers, he says, and are able to find suitable work.

He also points out that employers are increasingly committed to cutting the cost of benefits. Everything else being equal, a potential employee who doesn't require health insurance because he gets it elsewhere or qualifies for Medicare could prove to be a more attractive prospect than a younger person.

It's also important, he says, for an older job hunter to be able to demonstrate that his skill set is current. Between 1971 and 2006, the share of workers in jobs requiring reasoning, writing and decision-making increased from 25.7 percent to 34.8 percent. Johnson's research suggests that many employers are unconvinced that you can teach an old dog new tricks. So if you're looking for a job, be prepared to prove that you already have the chops and can hit the ground running.

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20 Comments
mari
January 27, 2011 at 8:09 am

Larry, watch your spelling and you might find a job. Loose their looks? Out their?? Also, sounds like you are as bitter as the "pretty women" who graduated from our "politically correct" educational system (not systme). Accountants need to be more ummm.... precise, too. Read over what you write, spell check, take a grammar course...get up to date on "welfare" rules (you'd be lucky to get it so don't worry about going on welfare).

Nothing is as unattractive as a bad attitude, however disguised.

Daniel
January 27, 2011 at 4:50 am

Working in an office bent over a spreadsheet till the day I die. Exactly what I was dreaming of when I went to university.

Reality
January 26, 2011 at 8:48 am

American business is owned by the wealthy. They hire their own, promote their own, and relate to the rest of the U.S. workforce as disposable batteries. Of course, there are the token "from mailroom to boardroom" people - promoted so the majority of Americans fall for the "dream of opportunity." In reality, these same business elites are now exploiting offshore blood, sweat, and tears because, quite frankly, they aren't interested in supporting the soon-to-be-coming baby boomer "social entitlements bubble". So, they look to exploit the next massive cheap labor force in Asia. This is why they have allowed the U.S. to decay so badly and become burdered with debt. ROME IS BURNING... and trust me, it's arson. That is my opinion.

Reality
January 26, 2011 at 8:21 am

In reality, American business is owned by the wealthy. They hire their own, promote their own, and relate to the rest of the U.S. workforce as disposable batteries. Of course, there are the token "from mailroom to boardroom" people - promoted so the majority of Americans fall for the "dream of opportunity." In reality, these same business elites are now exploiting offshore blood, sweat, and tears because, quite frankly, they aren't interested in supporting the soon-to-be-coming baby boomer "social entitlements bubble". So, they look to exploit the next massive cheap labor force in Asia. This is why they have allowed the U.S. to decay so badly and become burdered with debt. ROME IS BURNING... and trust me, it's arson. That is my opinion.

empeter
January 25, 2011 at 9:46 am

Tom: "I cannot wait for when the shoe is on the other foot for some of those smug folks who interview me!"

So what you're saying is that age discrimination is ok, as long as it doesn't happen to you.

To_Larry_Coldwell
January 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I'd say you're projecting your own anger.

So two generations of men who voted for people helping the Fortune 500 send their jobs overseas while never doing a thing to further their skills is somebody elses fault, eh? I guess "self-entitlement" is just another slogan you get a free pass on.

Once could also say "bitter old angry guys were happy" to demonize and block those fighting for equal pay. Successfully too. Only problem is now that there's a cheap better educated supply of labor at home and abroad so perhaps it was a piss-poor strategy.

And I wasn't hired because I'm "pretty". I was hired because I work harder and am better educated than most of my male colleagues. I expect that will still be true in 20 years but if not I will evolve rather than WHINE.

John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC
January 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm

I am a career coach working mostly with executives over the age of 40. Yes, there IS age discrimination out there, but there are also great opportunities. Try looking at small companies, start-ups, and medium sized companies. Large companies are not thrilled with older generation workers, but smaller companies need the experience, skill and judgment of the older generation worker.

Tom
January 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Have been the subjected to age discrimination since I was 60. Still active in my field as a consultant, produce high quality deliverables but seldom get called for interviews despite having sent out over 200 resumes applying for jobs in my field. On the odd occasion I get called, you see a look of surprise when I step into the room and they see how old I am (66. Despite my explaining to them that I am current in my field, speak 3 languages, in great physical condition...it's always a no go. I cannot wait for when the shoe is on the other foot for some of those smug folks who interview me!

Jack V D Heerik
January 13, 2011 at 6:34 am

With interest I read the article about forgetting retirement. I suppose I am not the only person in the world who found himslef having to drastically cut back on the personal budget due to various reasons. I seriously have been trying to get back to work but I have the misfortune of living in a country where upon reaching the age of 45+ you are considered unemployable. (Too expensive). I am 71 years old and have worked up untill the middle of last year on freelance (contract) assignments as a Sr. Project Manager. I believe my skills are as up to date as possible and I simply have little or no interest in retirement yet. Due to the discrimination on age it is impossible for me to get work in the Netherlands and I actively search the market in other (European) countries where there is less discrimination and a need for the skills I have.

Larry Caldwell
January 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I am a retired accountant. I retired at 62 because my employer was paying 89% of what I should have been making for the type of work I did and the region I worked in. Also I now have a guranteed income and the opportunity to earn much more than I did at my previous job. However, what I am finding out, is that employers do not want to consider hiring their "fathers" and that they can hire women cheaper. My former employer has done away with degree requirement for accountant and auditors. Also I am copeting with "so-called" taxprepares who have went through inhouse tax prepartion courses.

Fortunately, I have money to tide me over for a while, but I expect when a major medical expense hits, I will be on welfare. My father and other family members who were farmers and had worked for many years, went through their money paying nursing homes and ended up on Welfare.

I have looked at several option to earn adding income. A lot of skams out their. Currently I am continue to cut expense. But I don't plan to cut my standard of living. For years I have driven old cars (I have one that is 25 years old). I do not eat in fancy restaurants, or go on fancy vacations. But life is great and I am having fun. I enjoy not sitting at a computer all day and not seeing "pretty women" being hired, then watching them become bitter as they loose their looks and age because their is a ready supple of "pretty women." Look at the graduation rates for men thanks to our "politically correct" education systme