Never Retire! Jobs that won’t kick seniors to the curb

african-american-businessman-smiling-on-grey-picture-id1138563417If you’re considering a late career job change, why not switch to a job that is less likely to force out seniors in order to replace them with cheaper labor?

Yes, it’s come to this. The baby boomer generation who was determined to “Never trust anyone over 30” is getting the same (or worse) disrespect from Gen Xers. Worse because they want to fire us, not just insult us(!)

Should you WANT to never retire?

You can make a good case for never retiring. One reason is your life expectancy. There’s no percentage consensus in the research, but studies have found everywhere from a 20-37% increased risk of early death from those who “retire early” — meaning before 65.

But… researchers have argued that people retire early when they have a serious illness. One study was diligent about separating out those whose early retirement was due to illness. This study found that working just one more year gave those in poor health a 9% lower risk of dying, while it gave those in good health an 11% lower risk. If you break down the numbers by gender, both Forbes and the Wall Street Journal find males significantly more likely to die soon after they retire. WSJ says one reason is that men are more likely to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle upon retirement.

Another reason to not retire is money. Keep it coming in and your financial health will almost certainly be improved.

Another is so you don’t need to “find yourself” or come up with new, satisfying hobbies. Keep your nose to the grindstone and you won’t have to learn to love painting, or flower arranging, or watching endless hours of professional wrestling. Sarcasm aside, some people love their work far more than any hobby they could imagine. If so, why stop something as fulfilling?

No crappy jobs, please!

You won’t believe what jobs US News & World Reports thinks people 50+ should consider for a second career!

They seemed happy to tell us that some businesses value older workers and are hiring seniors. What I see in the article are a lot of jobs that (with a couple of exceptions) pay peanuts.

A job as a Walmart greeter is fine if you just want to get out the door and be around people a few hours a day (and don’t mind earning a very few bucks in return). But it would be much nicer to have the social contact as well as a better paycheck.

Fields that hire seniors and pay better

NextAvenue recommends the health field and the education field. It also offers a few specific suggestions, several of which should pay at least somewhat better:

  • Medical assistant
  • Patient advocate
  • Tax preparer
  • Personal care aid/Home health aid
  • Bookeeper/Secretary
  • Secretary
  • Contract worker
  • College or vocational instructor
  • Event/Meeting planner

Personally, I recommend the education field as a second career, although you might be better off if you wait a couple of years to apply. That’s because of demographics — fewer high school students lead to fewer college students and thus fewer professors. The profession has been shrinking the past 10+ years, but student forecasts for the future are stable. So as future professors retire, they will need to be replaced.

If you have a masters, you can teach at a community college or as an adjunct (part-time) at a four year college.

Just be careful which state you pick. Connecticut about 14 years ago required all full-time professors to “retire” at age 70, then they could teach only as part-time adjuncts (at a much lower pro-rated salary). Pennsylvania didn’t have any such practice. They let you teach as long as you are competent to teach. Also, there’s a huge difference between state systems and individual universities in what they pay adjuncts.

Professionals can work forever(!)

If you’re an accountant, an attorney, a guru in anything, a freelancer — you can work as much and as long as you wish. If you have the time, move into one of these professions in your 50’s and ride it into the sunset.

If you’re being forced out of work already, you can launch a small business (currently being contemplated by 25% of all seniors(!). Then you can work as long and as hard as you desire. Just make sure it’s one you can launch without spending much money at all. (See the article on “How to know if your biz will succeed — BEFORE you launch!“)

Author bio
Jen008_smallMarlene Jensen has just “retired” — at 73 — from being a full-time marketing professor. Previously she was a VP at CBS and ABC and spent decades as an entrepreneur and pricing author/consultant. Sadly, none of these prepared her for the onslaught of marketers who now think her daily interests/needs consist solely of hearing aids, wheel chairs, adult diapers, medi-alert buttons, medications, and bath tubs you walk into.

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