Saturday, August 1, 2009

Work for Those Over 50 – What’s the True Story?

As the boomer generation creeps into retirement life, an interesting phenomenon is starting to emerge. More workers, by choice and otherwise are going to continue to work. While this may appear depressing at first glance, further investigation offers additional insight.

The headline read “Career Changers After Age 50 Are Permanently Worse Off.” In a well crafted article, the author sited numerous statistics about older workers and the challenges they face in getting work after 50.

In fact, studies consistently show that workers who are laid off at mid-life have a difficult finding another job that pays the same or better. In general, people who left a job involuntarily, earn two-thirds what they did in their previous job.

Employees who left a job voluntarily fare much better. People who leave a job on their own earned either the same or more in subsequent positions.

The article continued to share very important information about the mature worker not first apparent by the headline. While workers who change jobs at mid-life do struggle to maintain the pay they had earned, they are much happier in their new work and they like their new jobs better. In fact, ninety-one percent reported they liked their new job, even if they earned less money.

“They are more satisfied and they report less stress because it appears that they have more control over what they are doing and they certainly don’t have a lot of people telling them what to do,” says Susan Reinhard, senior vice president of the AARP Public Policy Institute. In addition to being happy in their work, nearly two-thirds entered into new positions or new industries.

Work is going to continue to be an important aspect of retirement. That doesn’t mean it’s an indictment to a less fulfilling or rewarding third age. Not only providing income, work presents an opportunity to stay connected, provide structure and meaning in life.

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