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February 24, 2022

Older workers being forced into retirement

What do a 60-something sales executive and a 59-year-old mental health worker have in common?

They’re among the growing legion of unemployed older workers who say the recession has put them on a path toward early retirement. Except, given their cost of living, they’re pretty sure that’s something they can’t afford to do.

Add to that the ambivalence about working for pay at a time when they thought they would be doing something else and you’ve got a major problem, suggests a recent study from Metlife entitled “Buddy, Can You Spare a Job?

Until recently, much of the attention has been centred on boomers who’ll toil for a few more years than they expected because stock market losses have put a severe dent in their savings.

But, maintains Wellesley College economist Phillip Levine, a much larger group of workers ages 62 to 69 could find themselves with a thornier problem: No job, no prospect for finding one and little retirement savings to fall back on.

Levine notes that the retirement effect caused by unemployment has been, until recently, concentrated among less-educated groups. Overall, more-educated workers have been able to hang in despite rising unemployment rates, the study found. But this is likely to change, forcing more higher-end employees out the door. 

While that’s good news for younger workers struggling to find a job because no-one is willing to clean out their desks, it doesn’t bode well for many early boomers, says Steve Sass who heads up the the Center for Retirement Research.

Have they had their chance? Do you have much sympathy for the plight of older workers?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...