For boomers, it’s a new era of ‘work til you drop’
By JOHN ROGERS | Associated Press
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Forty years into that run, the 60-year-old communications specialist for a Wisconsin-based insurance company has worked more than a half-dozen jobs. She’s been laid off, downsized and seen the pension disappear with only a few thousand dollars accrued when it was frozen.
So, five years from the age when people once retired, she laughs when she describes her future plans.
“I’ll probably just work until I drop,” she says, a sentiment expressed, with varying degrees of humor, by numerous members of her age group.
Like 78 million other U.S. Baby Boomers, Symons and her husband had the misfortune of approaching retirement age at a time when stock market crashes diminished their 401(k) nest eggs, companies began eliminating defined benefit pensions in record numbers and previously unimagined technical advances all but eliminated entire job descriptions from travel agent to telephone operator.
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“My advice is above all don’t retire,” he says. “If you like your job at all, hold onto it. Because getting back in in this era is essentially impossible.”
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“Jobs” is not a zero sum game. But it is an obsolete meme.
The “gold watch” meme was obsoleted in the early Eighties.
The first torpedo a midship was the ERISA rule that did 5 year pension vesting. We then became a nation of five year employees. “Pension harvesters”. I got two.
The second was the entrepreneurial meme that came into place big time in the late Eighties with the updated Sub S corporation rules.
When job requiring obsolete skills go unfilled because business can’t find anyone qualified at a price they could afford to pay, how is an old person taking it depriving someone younger person?
If anything, it’s “good” that boomers are clogging those old “jobs”. Like making buggie whips. This may induce youngsters to recognize the new meme and open their own biz. Growing the pool of “jobs”.
The pie isn’t a fixed size. We should want the yutes out creating new wealth; not laboring in dead end corporations.
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