To Retire or Not to Retire — Money Is The Question
Posted by sherrysaunders on August 23, 2010
We read daily about people delaying retirement and working longer not because they want to remain engaged in meaningful activities but because they financially must. The recession has hit retirement funds hard and fewer and fewer Americans have defined retirement accounts. I have several friends who are working longer not by choice but because they need too. I also have friends who are at the older end of the boomer generation who are looking for work again because they need the money. And this is not a good time to be looking for work for anyone especially an older worker.
Even if we had not faced the current recession, people are working longer because we are living longer and so we all need the extra income for those extra years we anticipate living. According to the EBRI Retirement Readiness Rating many older Baby Boomers will run out of money in retirement, so working is truly a necessity.
Among working adults ages 50-61, 60 percent say they might have to postpone retirement because of the recession, according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center. And 35 percent of those 62 and older say they have already delayed their retirement. If possible staying in the job you have is a much better option than trying to find new work in a job market with few new jobs being created.
For those seniors who have lost their job, finding a new one can be a daunting process. My friends have heard it all: they are too qualified, they don’t have the new needed skills, someone will work for less, or just not hiring now.
While many employers value the knowledge and expertise of older workers, they often don’t want to pay for that value or because of the uncertainty of the current economic situation companies are delaying hiring at all. The unemployment rate for workers 55 and older has jumped from 3% in the second quarter of 2008 to 7% in the second quarter this year. That adds up to about 2.1 million unemployed older Americans.
On the other hand according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008, 3.4 million men and 2.8 million women age 65 and over — 16.8 percent of them — were still in the U.S. labor force. This year, the estimated number has risen to 20 percent. That’s up from 15.8 percent in 1985.
With Boomers and older needing to stay in the job force for the foreseeable future, competition for jobs and the long searches necessary for older workers to land a job will remain a reality for sometime to come.