Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Returning to the Job Market After 50 is a Wake Up Call

 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. 

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. 

KEEP SAVING FOR RETIREMENT:  Even though you many not be accustomed to making less, you still have to be mindful of your retirement.  If you're working for a company that offers a 401K and you're eligible, take advantage of it and invest in it during your entire employment.  

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.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Will You Have to Work in Your Retirement Years?


The news is not looking good if you take stock in a new survey regarding retirement.  According to research conducted by GoBankingRates.Com, 1 in 5 Americans fear they may never be able to stop working because there won't be enough money to live on.  Although the survey doesn't address why these fears exist, is is safe to say lower wage-paying jobs and fewer job opportunities are having a significant impact.  What should also be duly noted here is the fact that, because of a tight job market, you may find Millennials and older adults competing for the same jobs.

Baby Boomers, between the ages of 55-64 reflect the largest group that is skeptical of being able to leave the workforce at retirement age (27 percent), followed by Generation Y (25 percent) and Millennials (20 percent).

In addition to retirement woes, those surveyed are also worried about:

1)  Living paycheck to paycheck

2)  Living in debt forever

3)  Losing their jobs

4)  Losing all of their money in the stock market

5) Never being able to afford a home

6) Always having a low credit score

When it comes to gender, more women than men fear living from paycheck to paycheck, while more men are worried they will never be able to retire.  Both men and women say their least fear is always having a low credit score.

If you break it down by region, it appears people living in the South have the greatest fears of never being able to retire and always living from paycheck to paycheck----in comparison to people in the Northeast whose biggest fear is living in debt forever.

What are some of your biggest financial fears as you age?

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

How Long Will Your Money Live After YOU Retire?

I don't know about you but if I knew then what I know now, I would've been saving like crazy and by now I would be moving rather comfortably into retirement.  Sadly, that is not the case.

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. 

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.

Enter the pandemic.  Now we have an entirely new set up of problems to deal with that will also affect our retirement financially and health wise.

Experts say you should have 10 times your income saved to retire by age 67—here's what to do if you aren't yet there:

  1. Delay retirement and keep earning. 
  2. Make some extra cash. 
  3. Invest while there's still time. 
  4. Invest to generate an income. 
  5. Sell up and downsize to a cheaper property. 
  6. Discover what state support might be available. 
  7. Work with a financial planner.   
  8. 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.