Sunday, October 25, 2020

Returning to Work After 50

 When I left the news business, I was in my late forties. Now that I'm over 60  I see that so much has changed and I am having to learn how to adapt. I chose not to return to my chosen career of "established media" because, quite frankly, I no longer had the stomach for "breaking news" that starts out with A LOT of half-truths and stations always trying to out do the competition. Furthermore, I was no longer interested in going toe-to-toe with younger, less-talented journalists who always seem to have the advantage because of their "blondeness" and desire to work no matter how little the pay.

These days I'm working part-time as a Writing Tutor for college students.  While I absolutely LOVE what I do, the challenge is dealing with young people who come to the table thinking they know as much as you and don't particularly like being told their writing needs drastic improvement.   As I travel through this leg of my journey I am learning a lot about getting back in the game even on a part-time basis. 

Here are some things for you to consider if you are thinking about returning to the job market:

HAVE A CLEAR OBJECTIVE: Know why you are returning to the workforce. To make ends meet is one thing but you should also be thinking about what you would like to accomplish while in your position. Just going through the motions of working from 9 to 5 (or whenever) will ultimately make you unhappy and could lead to your untimely termination. 

Once I was hired for the position I'm in, I decided to set a goal and am now striving towards it. 

Understand this: THE JOB MARKET HAS CHANGED: Not only are many of the employees half our age, but some of them may end up being our supervisors. I've been in that situation.  Some of my previous managers were just a few years older than my 31-year-old daughter and, honestly, it was hard to appreciate and see them as my superiors but THEY WERE and if I was going to succeed I was going to have to accept that fact and act accordingly.

HAVE SOME MARKETABLE SKILLS!:  Just because you spent 20-30 years with one Company and worked your way up to middle-management doesn't mean you are qualified for any available job.  As I said before, the market has changed and you will have to learn to adapt to the times.  Since the pandemic, more employers are looking to hire remotely.  That means you will need to be up to speed on how to deal with technology and be able to troubleshoot any technical problems that may arise because, trust me, trouble will happen! 

ACQUIRE NEW SKILLS:  If you see a job that captures your interest and you know you don't have the necessary skill requirements, find a course at your local community college to help you obtain the skillset necessary.  If you have children or grandchildren who are tech savvy, don't be afraid to ask them.  I'm always my grandson how to do something because I know he knows and he gets a kick out of helping his grandma.

LEARN TO BE HUMBLE: I've always been a take charge person so it isn't easy for me to sit back in a subservient role as I am currently having to do. Quite frankly, humility as an employee is something I'm still working on but I do keep my devotional reading with me at all times to remind me of WHOSE I am so I don't get it twisted and end up saying things I will live to regret. 

If you have aspirations beyond the job, you will have to learn to swallow your pride, know-how and "I can do it better than you!" attitude sometimes for the greater good. 

BE WILLING TO ACCEPT LESS MONEY: The job market today is what I call an "employers' market." They can get away with paying less money for employees because the market is saturated with young, hungry professionals who just want to get a foot in the door so they can begin to navigate their way throughout the company. For many baby boomers, like myself, we have been accustomed to the nice, comfortable salaries that afforded us the opportunities to have beautiful homes, a sizable bank account and take fabulous vacations. That is no longer the case. You must be willing to accept the going rate but I would caution you to NEVER accept minimum wage because it devalues your skills and abilities---especially if you have 20 to 30 years of talent and skills to bring to the table. 

GET A SIDE HUSTLE:  This may not be for everyone but if you are thinking about retirement (and you definitely should be!), then you should look for a gig that can pay you some extra cash.  I recommend checking out Fiverr and see how you can put some of your "other skills" to use.  

HAVE A CLEAR EXIT PLAN: Going back to work is serious business for those of us who are more mature than the average employee. Know why you are returning and have a plan for an exit. Working indefinitely without a plan or purpose only leads to frustration.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Will You Outlast Your Retirement Savings?

It used to be when you retired you got a gold watch (or some other trinket), a send-off party, and a nice pension to rely on every month in addition to your social security check.  At one time nearly 90 percent of private sector workers had a pension as their workplace retirement plan which was FULLY FUNDED by the employer.  Today that number is down to 33 percent.

These days the idea of collecting a pension from your employer is practically non-existent. Unlike our parents, most baby boomers aren't likely to spend their entire working lives on one job to benefit from a pension.  In addition, more employers have opted to offer 401K retirement plans where you have to contribute a portion of your salary if you expect to get anything in return. 

According to a survey by the Insured Retirement Institute, only 24 percent of baby boomers were confident their savings would last throughout their retirement years.  That's a dismal thought considering the fact that we are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day through at least 2030.  What's even more dismal is the survey also indicates approximately 35 million of us lack any retirement savings today.

Admit it.  If you knew then what you know now, you would've been saving like crazy.  Back in the 80's I had a retirement savings plan.  I had no real clue of its value so I used it as my personal spending account.  I FAILED to plan for my future life expectancy and even though I pride myself with being smart I was financially illiterate.  I had a lack of knowledge about what it meant to do retirement planning and saving and when you have a LACK OF KNOWLEDGE you have a lack of savings and investments.

 Financial Investment Advisor, Chris Gure says "Baby Boomers have spend the last 30 plus years in the workforce accumulating their savings in order to retire.  It should be imperative to them to have a trusted financial advisor to help alleviate their financial stress." And while the 401K may help jump start your retirement, Gure says it may not always be tailored for a retiree's changing investment needs, transitioning from accumulation to distribution isn't always easy and that's why it's important and helpful to have someone guiding you through the process.

There's an old Chinese proverb that says, The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now (or 40 years depending on how old you are).

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Will Millennials Decide the 2020 Presidential Election?

Millennials may lean towards the Democratic party (59 percent versus 37 percent Republican) but less than half of them voted in the 2016 election.  Will that change this time around?

According to a new nationwide Zogby Poll® of Millennials voters (born 1980-1995), a majority (55 percent) say they support Joe Biden over Donald Trump (35 percent).  In addition, Biden also beats in various regions of the country:
East Coast:  (Biden led Trump 60 percent to 33 percent)
West Coast:  Biden led Trump 57 percent to 30 percent)
Central/Great Lakes Region:  (Biden 59 percent Trump 31 percent) 

Millennial Women vs. Men   
Biden beat Trump 59 to 27 percent (women) 
Biden led Trump 51 to 43 percent (men)

Education Level 
The education of surveyed voters did not impact the race, as the former vice president bested Trump with college educated voters (56 percent to 38 percent and non-college educated voters (54 percent to 32 percent). 

On the other hand, Trump did well with Millennial voters who earn at least $150K (58 percent to 37 percent) and Trump wins with Millennials who have at least $30K invested in the stock market (49 percent to 44 percent).

The Millennial votes in the South appear to be up for grabs with Biden leading by a slim margin of 46 to 43 percent.  

In 2016, according to Pew Research, Trump received roughly 28 percent of the Millennial vote, while 58 percent of registered Millennial voters voted Hillary Clinton.  But Trump's victory was, in part, because of his support by white men (62 percent) and non-college whites (64 percent).

No doubt the voting population is getting younger and now that we have Generation Z, they could also have a significant impact on the election outcome.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Parents are Raising Mean Kids

Nearly 80 percent of moms believe kids today are less kind than in past generations, according to a recent PARENTS 2020 Values Survey. So if that is, in fact, the case the question is why?  Perhaps it's because parents are not instilling the kind of values in their children to make them kind-hearted, grateful for the little things, respectful of others, etc. Or maybe it's because the parents raising today's generation of children never learned the true meaning of kindness from their own parents.  Ironically, in this same survey more than half of the moms rate their parenting abilities as either excellent (13 percent) or very good (38 percent), while just 1 percent say their parenting skills are poor or very poor.  Kudos to the one percent because I believe they were telling the truth!

Also noted in the survey was the fact that 65 percent of moms say that kids today are less happier than kids of previous generations and they blame it on technology, social media addiction, bullying and undefined parental issues. But then, the next question is what are parents doing about that?  How do you blame technology for your child's unhappiness if you're not spending any quality time with them?  Have any ground rules or limitations been established for social media time?  When it comes to my grandson, he knows his phone will be taken away at any given moment (for at least 24 hours) should be choose to misbehave or not get his schoolwork done.  As far as bullying goes, Bullying experts say kids who go out of their way to intimidate others are often neglected by their parents in the home so they lash out to get attention or, even worse, they learn first-hand what it means to be a bully from a parent who also has that reputation.  

Moms were asked to select the top three qualities they most hope to instill in their children:

1. Kindness (73 percent)

2. Love of family (68 percent)

3. Intelligence (51 percent)

4. Strong work ethic (51 percent)

5. Individuality (31 percent)

When those moms were asked what THEIR parents valued most for them, this is how they responded:

1. Having a family of my own (64 percent)

2. Having close family ties (63 percent)

3. Being better off financially than they were (57 percent)

4. Getting a college degree (49 percent)

I might point out that "kindness" isn't on the moms' list of values from their parents so that may explain a whole lot.  You can't teach what you've never learned.