Savers under the age of 40 can open a pension or a Lifetime Isa, and use them to save for retirement with help from the taxpayer. In an ideal world, having both would be the best option, but if savings are limited there are clear advantages in maximizing workplace pension savings first.
Higher rate taxpayers will also get a bigger bonus from pension saving. That said, savers should consider both options. There are a number of important factors to take into account when choosing how best to boost retirement savings with taxpayer handouts.
What to weigh up when deciding how to save for retirement
1. Free money from your employer
For employees, joining a workplace pension offers the added advantage of a tax-free employer contribution. Employees earning over £10,000 a year, between the age of 22 and 66, must be offered a pension scheme, with the employer paying 3 per cent of earnings. The employee pays 4 per cent and tax relief adds a further 1 per cent.
Many employers offer more generous schemes and not joining or opting out is giving up ‘free money’. Employers cannot pay into a Lifetime Isa.
2. Higher earners benefit from pensions
Those paying tax at a higher rate get a bigger bonus from pension savings. A higher rate taxpayer sees £6 saved grow to £10, and for a top rate taxpayer, £10 saved costs just £5.50.
Should you open a Lifetime Isa?
How they work, and what’s on offer to young savers hoping to get on the housing ladder? Read a This is Money guide here. Taxpayers resident in Scotland can gain an extra 1p in the pound as they pay tax at 21 per cent if income is over £25,159, 41 per cent if income exceeds £43,430, and 46 per cent if income is over £150,000.
For nil or basic rate taxpayers, the Lifetime Isa and pension offer the same taxpayer bonus of 20 per cent, so that £8 saved is worth £10 invested. Both offer the same tax-free roll up of funds, with no tax to pay on fund growth or income.
When the money is paid out the Lifetime Isa has the advantage of offering a tax-free income, whereas 75 per cent of the pension paid out is treated as taxable income.
3. Pending (and possible) rule changes
There is speculation the Budget on 3 March could end higher rate tax relief for pension savers. Should this happen then or in the future it will increase the attraction of the Lifetime Isa, which pays a tax-free income in retirement.
This may increase further in line with the rising state pension age 10 years later. Lifetime Isas can pay out from the age of 60. A narrowing gap between the age at which savers can gain penalty-free access makes the choice less clear, especially as Lifetime Isas pay out tax-free but pensions are partly taxable.
4. What if you have no earned income
Those without earnings can save £4,000 a year into a Lifetime Isa. However, if they have no earned income, they can save only £2,880 into a pension, so the taxpayer subsidy is up to £720 a year in a pension but up to £1,000 in a Lifetime Isa.
5. What if you do earn income or profits
Where more than £4,000 is available for saving long term, those with earnings or self-employed profits can save in a pension the lower of their earnings/profits in the year or £40,000 into a pension, but only £4,000 into a Lifetime Isa.
6. Age restrictions
Lifetime Isa savers can pay in and earn the bonus only between the age of 18 and 50. Pension savers can start at birth and continue until 75. Starting a Lifetime Isa before the age of 40, then funding a pension from the age of 50, could provide a good combination of tax-free income from the Lifetime Isa and taxable income from the pension.
If the pension and other sources of income fall below the personal allowance for income tax (currently £12,500), all the income could be tax-free.The Lifetime Isa offers access before the age of 60, with a lower penalty than applicable if a pension was accessed prior to age 55 (57 from April 2028).
7. Leaving funds to loved ones
Lifetime Isas cannot be continued beyond death and form part of the taxable estate.Pension funds can be left to others to continue, with tax-free investment, and do not usually form part of the taxable estate.
8. Choice of products
It is easy to open a pension, or simply not opt out if your employer auto enrolls you into one. Choice of Lifetime Isa providers is more limited and most offer only a cash deposit option. For long term saving for retirement a stocks and shares Lifetime Isa has more potential to maintain its purchasing power alongside inflation, but could go down in value in the short term.We run down what’s available here.
The world of work has been changing for some time, with an end to the idea of jobs for life and the onset of the gig economy. But just as in every other field where digital transformation is ongoing, the events of 2020 have accelerated the pace of this change dramatically.
The International Labor Organization has estimated that almost 300 million jobs are at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of those that are lost, almost 40% will not come back. According to research by the University of Chicago, they will be replaced by automation to get work done more safely and efficiently.
Particularly at risk are so-called “frontline” jobs – customer service, cashiers, retail assistant, and public transport being just a few examples. But no occupation or profession is entirely future proof. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), even tasks previously reserved for highly trained doctors and lawyers – diagnosing illness from medical images, or reviewing legal case history, for example – can now be carried out by machines.
At the same time, the World Economic Forum, in its 2020 Future of Jobs report, finds that 94% of companies in the UK will accelerate the digitization of their operations as a result of the pandemic, and 91% are saying they will provide more flexibility around home or remote working.
If you’re in education or training now, this creates a dilemma. Forget the old-fashioned concept of a “job for life,” which we all know is dead – but will the skills you’re learning now even still be relevant by the time you graduate?
All of this has created a perfect environment for online learning to boom. Rather than moving to a new city and dedicating several years to studying for a degree, it’s becoming increasingly common to simply log in from home and fit education around existing work and family responsibilities.
This fits with the vision of Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of online learning platform Coursera. Coursera was launched in 2012 by a group of Stanford professors interested in using the internet to widen access to world-class educational content. Today, 76 million learners have taken 4,500 different courses from 150 universities, and the company is at the forefront of the wave of transformation spreading through education.
“The point I focus on,” he told me during our recent conversation, “is that the people who have the jobs that are going to be automated do not currently have the skills to get the new jobs that are going to be created.”
Without intervention, this could lead to an “everyone loses” scenario, where high levels of unemployment coincide with large numbers of vacancies going unfilled because businesses can’t find people with the necessary skills.
The answer here is a rethink of education from the ground up, Maggioncalda says, and it’s an opinion that is widely shared. Another WEF statistic tells us 66% of employers say they are accelerating programs for upskilling employees to work with new technology and data.Models of education will change, too, as the needs of industry change. Coursera is preparing for this by creating new classes of qualification such as its Entry-Level Professional Certificates. Often provided directly by big employers, including Google and Facebook, these impart a grounding in the fundamentals needed to take on an entry-level position in a technical career, with the expectation that the student would go on to continue their education to degree level while working, through online courses, or accelerated on-campus semesters.
“The future of education is going to be much more flexible, modular, and online. Because people will not quit their job to go back to campus for two or three years to get a degree, they can’t afford to be out of the workplace that long and move their families. There’s going to be much more flexible, bite-sized modular certificate programs that add up to degrees, and it’s something people will experience over the course of their working careers,” says Maggioncalda.
All of this ties nicely with the growing requirements that industry has for workers that are able to continuously reskill and upskill to keep pace with technological change. It could lead to an end of the traditional model where our status as students expires as we pass into adulthood and employment.
Rather than simply graduating and waving goodbye to their colleges as they throw their mortarboards skywards, students could end up with life-long relationships with their preferred providers of education, paying a subscription to remain enrolled and able to continue their learning indefinitely.
“Because why wouldn’t the university want to be your lifelong learning partner?” Maggioncalda says.
“As the world changes, you have a community that you’re familiar with, and you can continue to go back and learn – and your degree is kind of never really done – you’re getting micro-credentials and rounding out your portfolio. This creates a great opportunity for higher education.”
Personally, I feel that this all points to an exciting future where barriers to education are broken down, and people are no longer blocked from studying by the fact they also need to hold down a job, or simply because they can’t afford to move away to start a university course.
With remote working increasingly common, factors such as where we happen to grow up, or where we want to settle and raise families, will no longer limit our aspirations for careers and education. This could lead to a “democratization of education,” with lower costs to the learner as employers willingly pick up the tab for those who show they can continually improve their skillsets.
As the world changes, education changes too. Austere school rooms and ivory-tower academia are relics of the last century. While formal qualifications and degrees aren’t likely to vanish any time soon, the way they are delivered in ten years’ time is likely to be vastly different than today, and ideas such as modular, lifelong learning, and entry-level certificates are a good indication of the direction things are heading.
You can watch my conversation with Jeff Maggioncalda in full, where among other topics, we also cover the impact of Covid-19 on building corporate cultures and the implications of the increasingly globalized, remote workforce. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.
Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organisations improve their business performance, use data more intelligently, and understand the implications of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains, and the Internet of Things. Why don’t you connect with Bernard on Twitter (@bernardmarr), LinkedIn (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/bernardmarr) or instagram (bernard.marr)?
Happiness, experts say, is U-shaped: generally speaking, we are happy/full of life satisfaction as young adults but, as we reach middle age, we become less satisfied, with a trough in one’s early 50s; from this trough we rebound to ever-increasing satisfaction levels as we age. It’s remarkable, really, considering the physical infirmities we face, plus financial worries, loss of loved ones, and more. What explains this? We become wiser and we are able to see all of life’s ups and downs with a greater sense of perspective.
But what if that’s not true?
A new working paper by Peter Hudomiet, Michael D. Hurd and Susann Rohwedder, researchers at RAND Corporation, suggests an entirely different answer: older individuals have greater life satisfaction because the less-satisfied folk have been weeded-out. And by “weeded-out” I mean that they’re dead or otherwise unable to reply, because the likelihood of dying is greater for those who have less life satisfaction. When they apply calculations to try to strip out this impact, the effect is dramatic: rather than life satisfaction climbing steadily from the mid-50s to early 70s, then remaining steady, they see a steady drop from the early 70s as people age.
Here are the three key graphs (used with permission):
First, life satisfaction plotted by age without any special adjustments:
And, third, the same life satisfaction graph, adjusted to take into account the impact of the disproportionality of deaths:
In this graph, the blue line represents the unadjusted outputs from their calculations, the orange line is smoothed, and the grey line adds in demographic, labor market and health controls, to strip out the impact of, for example, people in poor health being less satisfied and try to isolate the impact solely of age.
Here are the details on this calculation.
The data they use for their analysis comes from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a long-running survey of individuals age 51 and older at the University of Michigan, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. It is a longitudinal study; that is, it surveys the same group of people every two years in order to see how their responses change over time, adding in new “refresher cohorts” to keep the survey going. The survey asks about many topics, including income, health, housing, and the like, and in 2008, the survey also began to ask life satisfaction, on a scale of 1 to 5 (”not at all satisfied” to “completely satisfied”).
One simple way of analyzing the data is to look at how life satisfaction ratings vary based on survey participants’ characteristics. The average reported life satisfaction of those between ages 65 – 74 is 3.91, just slightly below “4 – very satisfied.” But those who rate their health as “poor” average out to 3.13, or not much more than “3 – somewhat satisfied,” and those who rate their health as “excellent” average to 4.34. Those who have 2 or more ADL (activities of daily living) limitations some out to an average of 3.32 vs. 3.97 for those with no such limits. Those who are in the poorest quarter of the survey group come out to 3.7 vs. 4.07 for the wealthiest quarter. (See the bottom of this article for the full table; this table and the following graphs are used with permission.)
But here’s the statistic that throws a monkey-wrench into the data:
“On average, the 2-year mortality rate [that is, from one survey round to the next] is 4.4% among those who are very or completely satisfied with their lives, while it is 7.3% (or 66% higher) among those who are not or somewhat satisfied with their lives.”
As a result, “those who are more satisfied with their lives live longer and make up a larger fraction of the sample at older ages.”
Now, this does not say that being pessimistic about one’s life causes one to be more likely to die. Nor does it say that this pessimism is justified by being in ill-health and at risk of dying. But this statistical connection, as well as further analysis of survey drop-outs for other reasons (such as dementia) is the basis for a regression analysis which results in the graph above.
What’s more, the original “inventor” of the concept of the life satisfaction curve, David Blanchflower, published a follow-up study just after this one. One of their key concepts is the notion of using “controls” to try to identify changes in life satisfaction solely due to age rather than changes in income over one’s lifetime, for example, or other factors, and there has been extensive debate about whether or to what degree this is appropriate, given that the reality of any individual’s life experience is that one does experience changes in marital and family status, employment status, and the like.
Having received pushback for this concept, they defend it but also insist that the U-shape holds regardless of whether “controls” are used or not. At the same time, Blanchflower is quite insistent that the “U” is universal across cultures, though (see my prior article on the topic) it really seems to require quite some effort to make this U appear outside the Anglosphere, which is all the more interesting in light of the John Henrich “WEIRDest people” contention (see my October article) that various traits that had been viewed by psychologists as universally-generalizable are really quite distinctive to Western cultures and, more distinctively, the United States.
But here’s the fundamental question: why does it matter?
On an individual level, to believe that there is a trough and a rebound offers hope for those stuck in a midlife rut. It’s a form of self-help, the adult version of the “it gets better” campaign for teenagers.
On a societal level, the recognition of a drop in life satisfaction for the middle-aged might be explained, by someone with the perspective of the upper-middle class, as the result of dissatisfaction with a stagnating career, failure to achieve the corner office, the challenge of shepherding kids into college, and the like. In fact, when I wrote about the topic two years ago, that’s how the material I read generally presented the issue.
But Blanchflower’s new paper recognizes greater stakes: “These dips in well-being are associated with higher levels of depression, including chronic depression, difficulty sleeping, and even suicide. In the U.S., deaths of despair are most likely to occur in the middle-aged years, and the patterns are robustly associated with unhappiness and stress. Across countries chronic depression and suicide rates peak in midlife.” (In the United States, among men, this is not true; men over 75 have the highest suicide rate.)
And what of the decline in life satisfaction among the elderly?
The premise that the elderly become increasingly satisfied with their lives as they age is a very appealing one, not just because it provides hope for us individually as we age. It serves as confirmation of a more fundamental belief, that the elderly are a source of wisdom and perspective on life. Although it is Asian cultures which are particularly known for veneration of the elderly, the importance of caring for those in need is just as much a moral imperative in Western societies, even if without the same sense of “veneration” or of valuing them to a greater degree than others in need.
Consider, after all, that the evening news likes to feature stories of oldsters running marathons or competing in triathlons or even just having a sunny outlook on life; no one likes to think of the grumpy grandmother or grandmother from one’s childhood as representative of “old age.” In this respect, “old folks are more satisfied with life” provided an easy to make the elderly more “venerable.” Hudomiet’s research might force us to think a bit harder.
Yes, I’m a nerd, and an actuary to boot. Armed with an M.A. in medieval history and the F.S.A. actuarial credential, with 20 years of experience at a major benefits consulting firm, and having blogged as “Jane the Actuary” since 2013, I enjoy reading and writing about retirement issues, including retirement income adequacy, reform proposals and international comparisons.
So, are you setting yourself up for true happiness as a retiree? Sure, you’re planning the money piece, and that’s important. But, there’s also the personal piece of the retirement equation that’s just as important as the money part. Read more: https://www.wesmoss.com/news/7-skills… The 4% Rule: https://www.wesmoss.com/news/the-new-… Retirement Calculator: https://www.yourwealth.com/retirement… Send me your questions directly at https://bit.ly/3dPKcvd (contact box in top right corner) You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think https://bit.ly/3kiRhXJ Money Matters with Wes Moss podcast https://spoti.fi/3jk9wL8 or on Apple Podcasts https://apple.co/3kwKvhj Twitter: https://bit.ly/2HqnWfe Facebook: https://bit.ly/3kvrHi4 Check out my website for more financial tools and articles: https://bit.ly/3dPKcvd Please note, this information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as investment advice or recommendations. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee offered that investment return, yield, or performance will be achieved. There will be periods of performance fluctuations, including periods of negative returns. Past performance is not indicative of future results when considering any investment vehicle. This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax, or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.
Eventually, the economy and the stock market will recover and COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, will be contained. Yet the current pandemic and its economic consequences could devastate the retirement prospects of some Baby Boomers, while permanently changing the attitudes of many more.
“This is going to leave a real imprint on the minds of people who are near or in retirement,’’ says Joseph Coughlin, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. “It’s a personal health 9/11 for much of the country.”
Consider this: After years of hearing how 60 is the new 40, boomers are now being told that those as “young” as 60 have weaker immune systems and face greater risk from the novel coronavirus, particular if they have certain other health problems that increase with age. In China, those 80 and older with COVID-19 suffered a 14.8% death rate, while those 70 to 79 had an 8% death rate, compared to a 2.3% mortality rate for all age groups.
A new study from the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College shows that as of 2016, even after seven years of a bull market, late boomers (those born in 1960 or later) had accumulated a lot less in 401(k) and IRA wealth than older boomers had at the same age. That’s despite the fact that fewer late boomers are covered by traditional defined benefit pensions, meaning they need to accumulate more, not less, to achieve the same level of retirement security. Late Boomers were on track to save more, the study found, but got slammed by the Great Recession and layoffs in their 40s. Some dropped out of the labor force. Others settled for lower paying jobs without 401(k)s. Alarmingly, for late Boomers in the middle wealth quartile, 401(k) participation was actually lower in 2016 than before the Great Recession.
The CRR researchers noted they were waiting for results from the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances to see how lasting the damage to late Boomers, and members of Gen X behind them, had been. Now, even if the news from that triennial survey is good, it might be just a bittersweet historical footnote—-particularly for any late Boomers who lose their jobs in a coronavirus recession.
2. Working Longer Will Get Harder
You’ve probably heard this factoid: an average of 10,000 boomers turn 65—the traditional retirement age—each day. But the Pew Research Center calculated last July that the Baby Boomer labor force has been shrinking by an average of only 5,900 per day since 2010. That’s because while some chose to retire early or were forced out of the labor force early, on average, the Boomers are working longer than the previous two generations did. In 2018, 29% of folks aged 65 to 72 (that is, the oldest Boomers) were working or looking for work. When the Silent Generation and the Greatest Generation were that age, Pew figures, only 21% and 19%, respectively, were in the labor force.
Even more dramatic has been the growth in older workers who say they expect to work past 65—even though they don’t all end up doing so. In a 2016 Employee Benefit Research Institute survey, 54% of workers aged 55 and older said they expected to retire at 66 or older or never. Twenty years earlier, only 19% of older workers answered that way.
Yet while lots of Boomers want (or need) to keep working, this harsh fact hasn’t changed in recent decades: when those 50 and older do lose their jobs (say, in the Great Recession or the coronavirus recession), it takes them longer to find new jobs than it does younger workers. Moreover, just one in 10 match their old pay. Some give up and retire earlier than they planned. Those who claim Social Security early to make ends meet end up with lower monthly benefits and less overall from Social Security than those who claim later.
The problem with “going to cash” in a crash is that you lock in your losses. Maybe your plan is to jump right back in after the market bottoms? Good luck with that. When markets do turn back up, they do so quickly. As financial planner Kristin McKenna explains here, six of the 10 best daily gains in the S&P 500 between January 2000 and December 2019 occurred within two weeks of the worst 10 days. Had you missed all of those 10 best days, your average annualized total return on the S&P 500 for those two decades would have been 2.44% compared to 6.06% had you stayed fully invested and ridden the roller coaster down and back up.
4. The Cash Bucket Strategy Will Gain New Fans
The current bear market should give a permanent boost to a strategy that was already gaining favor—one designed to allow retirees to live well while the market tanks and to conquer the “sequence of return” risk in retirement. The problem is this: even if the stock market averages a healthy return over the 30 or so years you spend in retirement, you’re more likely to run out of money if it has its bad years early in your retirement. (That’s assuming you’re planning to draw 4% out of your portfolio each year, a common rule of thumb.)
In January, AARP released a survey of Boomers’ 2020 travel plans showing they expected to spend an average of $7,800 on four to five trips this year, with 51% planning at least one international adventure, and 23% calling their planned foreign travel a “bucket list” trip. Moreover, a full third of Boomers’ planned international trips involved staying on a cruise ship; 61% of those who chose a cruise said they did so because it was “hassle-free”.
Assuming their portfolios recover while they’re still in the travelling mood (travel declines past 75 or 80) it’s hard to believe that retirees will permanently forsake bucket list trips. But it’s easy to imagine that the image of passengers trapped on a ship for weeks as the coronavirus spreads among them, might permanently reduce the number planning to hit the high seas. Yes, the cruise industry, which has suspended operation from U.S. ports until at least mid-April— has recovered from previous health scares. (The World Health Organization notes there have been more than 100 reported disease outbreaks on cruises over the past 30 years, including recent norovirus and influenza outbreaks.) This time could be different.
6. Time With Family Will Be Even More Important
One item that pops up at the top of many retirement wish lists is spending more time with family and friends; it’s the leading reason people say they were “pulled” into retirement rather than being pushed there by ill health, layoffs or age discrimination. In the AARP travel survey, multi-generational family trips and family reunions, combined, were the top reason Boomers were planning either domestic or international travel.
Even more than cruise ship horrors, the spread of coronavirus through that Washington nursing home and the nursing home visitor ban is likely to be imprinted on Boomers’ minds—and the minds’ of their own now adult children. The vast majority of Boomers already say they want to age in place “where their marriage and mortgage and memories are,’’ notes the AgeLab’s Coughlin. But, he observes, that determination hasn’t been tested yet, since the oldest of them turn 74 this year, while the average age for entering assisted living facilities is 83 or 84.
The desire to age in place—and the reality that not everyone can—predates the Boomers. A new CRR study, using data from the University of Michigan Health & Retirement Study which has tracked about 20,000 Americans 50 and older since 1992, finds 53% of homeowners stay in the house they owned at 50 for the rest of their lives. Another 17% move once, around the time of their retirement, and then stay put. The other 30%? According to the CCR analysis, 14% move frequently after 50 because of job problems and 16% move in their 80s when health problems force them into a rental, assisted living or a nursing home.
A new generation of connected health technology could help even more people stay in their own homes—or at least delay the age at which they move, Coughlin figures. He sees everything from internet-linked pill reminder systems that dispense medication to sensors that allow remote caregivers to check whether an elder is up and moving about. As Coughlin, a Forbes contributor, writes, the internet-of-things will be not only around us, but in us, as Mom has a smart glucose sensor under her skin transmitting and adjusting her insulin levels.
8. Care Facilities And Senior Housing Will Change
Over the past four years more than 550 nursing homes have closed, bowing to rising costs, reimbursement pressures—and crucially, shrinking demand from older folks, who as noted above, want to age at home. Nursing homes aren’t likely to disappear as a last resort. But they will need to change, Coughlin predicts—for example, employing contagious disease experts and using antimicrobial surfaces.
Meanwhile, senior housing and assisted living developments, now designed to encourage congregation and socialization, might be built in the future with more spread out units and an eye towards limiting contagions.
“Until two weeks ago, every article was about the perils of social isolation (for the elderly). Now we’re changing it to (promoting) self-isolation,’’ Coughlin observes. “This is an inflection point in our medical model of how to age well.”
I’m the Washington D.C. bureau chief for Forbes and have worked in the bureau for more than two decades. I’ve spent much of that time reporting about taxes — tax policy, tax planning, tax shelters and tax evasion. These days, I also edit the personal finance coverage in Forbes magazine and coordinate outside tax, retirement and personal finance contributors to Forbes.com. You can email me at email@example.com and follow me on Twitter @janetnovack
With unemployment at all-time lows, now might be the best time for you to be looking for a full-time job. The challenges, however, are greater if you’re over 50 years old.
According to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average it takes those 55 to 64 two weeks longer to find a job compared to those 20 years and older. (The news is worse if you’re 65 and older, where this average duration of unemployment is 10 weeks longer.)
It seems the idea of early retirement hasn’t caught on with those in their 50s (and even beyond).
“Our research shows that experienced workers are staying on the job longer or looking for a job for two reasons,” says Susan K. Weinstock, Vice President, Financial Resilience Programming at AARP. “Financially, they need the money, and, secondly, they like their job and find it fulfilling and want to keep working.”
Bankrate regularly surveys workers regarding their financial circumstances. Its data confirms what AARP found for those working well past age 50.
“When Bankrate asked Americans who were neither retired nor permanently disabled about their retirement savings, more than half said they were behind where they should have been,” says Mark Hamrick, Senior Economic Analyst at Bankrate.com. “For members of Generation X (age 39-54), the percentage was 63% and Boomers (age 55-73), 54% said they were behind on their retirement savings. No doubt many people who would otherwise be candidates to retire seek to remain in the workforce because they feel they need income, or to further boost their savings. Others may choose to work as a means of remaining engaged and active.”
If you’re like many older workers, you may prefer to retain your current position. But what if your present employer can’t accommodate you? It may have been decades since you last tried to look for a new job. What has changed since then? What do you have to do different today to land full-time employment?
Bryan Zawikowski has been a recruiter for 25 years and is the vice president and general manager of the military transition division for Lucas Group. Forbes ranked Lucas Group as one of the top 10 executive search firms in the nation in 2019. Zawikowski’s team works with many people who find themselves either changing careers or looking for new jobs later in life. He shares the following advice:
“What are best practices?”
· To thine own self be true: “Don’t try to hide your age. It doesn’t work, and you end up looking either vain or foolish—maybe both.”
· Polish up your online presence: “Your LinkedIn profile should be very professional, including the photograph.”
· Emphasize your real-world experience: “No ‘functional’ resumes. They end up in the trash.”
· Brevity is the soul of wit: “Maximum 2-page resume. The further back in your work history you go, the less detail there should be.”
“What are the easiest ways to make it happen?”
· Recalculate: “Be financially prepared to take a step back in compensation (either scale back your lifestyle or be prepared to dip into savings if need be).”
· Re-calibrate: “Be emotionally and mentally prepared to work for someone younger and perhaps more talented than you.”
· Circulate: “Network with former classmates, former work colleagues, friends and acquaintances that know something about your desired career path.”
· Captivate: “Have a GREAT story about why you are interested in this new career field and why you’d be good at it.”
“What are the do’s and don’ts?”
· DO something you enjoy: “Pick a career that you are really into, something that energizes you and somewhere you look forward to going to work most days.”
· DO maintain your health: “Stay physically active. You don’t have to be a marathon runner, but do something to keep your energy level up.”
· DO continue to learn: “Read as much as you can about your new career field.”
· DON’T lie: You can’t “pretend to be an expert at something just because you were good at something else.”
· DON’T assume the status quo: You’ll be disappointed if you “think you will be able to make a lateral move from where you are in your current career field.”
· DON’T be unrealistic: You’ll only hurt yourself more if you “sacrifice more than you can afford to in terms of compensation. Retirement isn’t too far away and you don’t want to jeopardize that.”
You are the master of your own destiny. If you want to find a job, you can. No matter what your age.
I am a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. Among the seven books I’ve written include From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA, Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort, and A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, I appear regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, I’m actively running a handful of small family-owned businesses, so I have hands-on experience on the things I write about. A trained astrophysicist, I hold an MBA and have been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. I invite you to share your thoughts and story ideas with me through my web-site, email, or any of the usual social media platforms whose links appear below.