You Won’t Find a Job Anytime Soon: Boomers Decide to Work Past 65
Are you one of the millions of Americans struggling to find a job? If so, welcome to what is possibly the worst time to be a job seeker in the US since the 1960s.
While the recession might have finally eased up a bit, and companies are definitely hiring once more, the problem is that there are too many people looking for employment.
Not only must you contend with younger job seekers, but the number of Baby Boomers still in the workforce after age 65 has skyrocketed in recent years.
More Workers Means a Bottleneck When Trying to Find a Job
Now, you might be wondering just why the number of Baby Boomers still in the workforce is preventing you from being able to find a job. That’s natural. For many people, the perception is that workers aged 65 and over tend to be employed in part-time positions, but that’s not really the case at all.
Here’s the situation: Older workers occupy higher positions within organizations. Since they’re not leaving, there are few openings in the ranks. That means younger workers are staying in lower positions longer.
Because of this, people looking for entry level positions aren’t able to find a job at all. It’s a cumulative, add-on effect. Without movement created by older people retiring from the workforce, the momentum stalls out and everyone finds themselves stuck where they are.
Let’s put that in perspective, though. Since 2010, there have been 10,000 people reaching age 65 every single day. By 2030, the US Census Bureau estimates there will be 72.7 million people in the US aged 65 and over.
And, to add insult to injury, 27% of older Americans actually say that they’ll keep working as long as they possibly can. That means the issue isn’t going to get any better anytime soon. On top of that, 12% of the US population actually don’t plan to retire, ever.
Think about that for a minute – what will the effect of tens of thousands of workers staying at their jobs have on the employment outlook for the rest of us?
Why Are Boomers Not Retiring?
The current trend for workers age 65 and older to stay in the workforce seems to fly in the face of conventional life planning. After all, if you don’t get to retire to enjoy your golden years, what’s the point of slaving the rest of your life away for an employer? Why are so many people not taking advantage of this “out”?
Actually, the reason that you might not be able to find a job comes down to this – most Baby Boomers actually don’t have a way to retire in the first place.
They aren’t confident that they have enough savings to get them through the rest of their lives without having to work, so why bother downsizing or retiring, only to find that they can’t make ends meet?
Three out of five seniors surveyed in a study by the Transamerica Center for retirement Studies actually stated that making money was one of their top concerns. They also cited the benefits (insurance, etc.) and the security they added to their lives.
Where’s the Money?
So, what happened to bankrupt so many Baby Boomers? They’ve had decades to build their nest eggs, so where did all that money go? What’s keeping them from building a retirement fund so they can get out of the workforce and you can find a job?
There were two very significant events in relatively recent history. First, there was the tech bust. This vaporized a lot of peoples’ savings. Second, there was the Great Recession.
While younger workers probably associate that primarily with the housing market meltdown, the fact remains that many Baby Boomers lost their entire retirement fund during this time. Up to 60% of US households now have zero dollars in any type of retirement account.
This adds a great deal of weight to the notion that investing in a 401(k) or an IRA isn’t really going to do you any good when retirement age comes around. There are far better options, particularly with the Fed about to finally raise interest rates.
Bonds and CDs will now start providing significantly better returns, giving savvy investors the chance to plan for retirement without worrying about their money vanishing in a puff of smoke the next time Wall Street gets greedy or lenders decide to gamble with the economy.
Other Reasons for Boomers to Stay Around
While the most common reason cited by Boomers for not retiring at age 65 is the lack of money in the bank, there are plenty of others. For instance, 36% of people in the Transamerica study actually reported that their decision had nothing to do with cash flow and everything to do with the fact that they liked their job.
They’re sticking it out because they actually like what they do and they want to keep doing it (despite the fact this will keep you from being able to find a job). A lot of that has to do with the fact that a full third of workers over 60 now have a degree, and their jobs are not entry level.
There’s also the fact that employers finally realize that older workers have a lot to offer and that they might just be a better bet than younger workers who are more likely to jump ship or to need a significant investment of time and money in training and ongoing education.
As you can see, there are several reasons for Baby Boomers to not only hold onto their jobs for as long as possible, but for many of them to avoid the prospect of retirement entirely.
While that might be good news for them, it means that job seekers now have a harder time than ever before just to get their foot in the door with an employer. It also provides concrete evidence that retirement planning must absolutely begin when you’re young if you want ever to have a chance of retiring and living the life you want.