- Seniors Are Working Longer — Choice And Necessity
- Mapping Out The Future
- Delayed Retirement: The Bigger Picture
- 'I May Not Leave At 70. Who Knows?'
- The U.S. Economy Needs Older Workers
- Prevent Falls and Fractures | National Institute on Aging
- Many Older Adults Fear Falling
- Causes and Risk Factors for Falls
- Take the Right Steps to Prevent Falls
- Keep Your Bones Strong to Prevent Falls
- For More Information About Falls and Falls Prevention
- Part-time jobs for older workers
- Flexibility can pay off
- Advice for older job seekers
- The Advantages of Older Workers
- 2. They stay in jobs longer and take fewer days off
- 3. They have a strong work ethic
- 4. They retain a business’s knowledge and networks
- 5. The perceived technology gap can be overcome
- 6. Older workers prove that the best teams are multigenerational
- 7. Older workers play a critical role in training the next generation of workers
- 8. They provide customers with consistency and personal attention
- 9. Older workers attract more business
- 10. Older workers are part of the business brand
- There’s Good News for Seniors Who Want to Work Longer
- Reasons for the rise
- The benefits of working longer
Seniors Are Working Longer — Choice And Necessity
For some, delayed retirement is a sign of good health and satisfaction with their job. For others, it's a sign of the times — the high cost of living, the disappearance of traditional pensions and a shrinking of social security payments.
“If you look at someone age 65 or older now, that person is 75% more ly to be working than someone who was in the same age group a generation ago,” says Richard Johnson, senior fellow director of the Program on Retirement Policy at the Urban Institute.
While the average American retires at 63, seniors in major metropolitan areas are continuing to work longer, often in fields that are amenable to older workers.
“Some people are in better health, but also jobs are generally less physically demanding than they were in the past,” Johnson says.
And for seniors in those jobs, retirement at 63, or even 65, seems more a relic from the past than an achievable goal.
Mapping Out The Future
Laura Ehle is 64 and doesn't think she can afford to retire until she turns 70.
More than 40 years ago, Ehle was standing behind the counter, working as a cashier at Gino's Hamburgers in Southeast D.C. In the late 1970s, she had enough of that. So, Ehle took a civil service exam that opened the doors to a new career that she's had ever since.
“I just wanted the fast food joint,” she says.
Ehle is a cartographic technician and works inside a printing company in Capitol Heights, Md. called Williams and Heintz Map Corporation. They make maps mostly for government agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration. Ehle's focus is on aeronautical and nautical maps and highway charts. She says she loves her job.
“These maps you see here were done by hand,” Ehle says, pointing out some of her past work. “Now that we're all digital, I download data from the internet and I just kind of put it together, weed through it and color it.”
In another life, Ehle's more than 30-year tenure at the company would now be winding down. But she can't imagine retiring at age 65.
“It would be an awfully limited life. I don't even know if I could afford to have Wi-Fi,” she says. “Just some basic things that so many people take for granted would be hard to afford.”
Ehle has a 401(k) but says she has very little in a savings account. And because she wasn't married to her husband Ron when he retired from the Fairfax County fire department 13 years ago, Ehle is unsure what financial benefits she'll get from his pension.
But Ehle isn't convinced her days in the workforce will be completely over even when she turns 70.
“I might want to keep working or there might be something else I want to do,” she says.
Delayed Retirement: The Bigger Picture
Tens of millions of people rely on Social Security to make ends meet in retirement. And millions more count on earning it after the death or disability of a loved one.
As important as Social Security is for those who receive the benefit, it doesn't come without change. Each year, participants see adjustments (often small increases) to the amount they receive.
But in 2020, Johnson says some of the changes could negatively impact future retirees.
“They're slowly cutting benefits. So, someone who's retiring now is going to get 12% less each month than they would have had they retired back in 2000,” says Johnson.
I don't even know if I could afford to have Wi-Fi. Just some basic things that so many people take for granted would be hard to afford.
Laura Ehle, 64
And though pensions remain relatively common in government jobs, they have largely disappeared in the private sector. Nationally, 30% of workers over 65 say they have nothing saved in a retirement plan. There's a growing number of seniors relying on Medicare and Medicaid. And, according to a recent Axios/Survey Monkey poll, boomers today have more debt than past generations.
“When we look at who's working longer overall, it's people across the educational spectrum. It's rich people, poor people and people of all races and ethnicities,” Johnson says. “They're all working longer, but the motives are very different.”
“The people who have limited income, limited wealth, limited education, predominantly people of color — those are the people who are basically being forced to work longer,” Johnson adds.
'I May Not Leave At 70. Who Knows?'
There are financial benefits of working longer: If you keep working, you can get more money when you retire. And Johnson says there are social benefits, too. Work brings people friendships they want to continue and gives them a sense of purpose.
Fairfax County resident John Bordeaux, who works as a policy analyst at a local think tank, is mulling his options. He's 60 now and, Ehle, he planned to stop working at age 70. But turning 60 brought along a health scare. Bordeaux was diagnosed with bladder cancer and had surgery. This “changed the calculus a bit,” he says.
“I would not have thought about retiring before 70, until the cancer stick came along,” says Bordeaux.
Bordeaux, however, is hopeful he can continue working through treatments and beyond. He knows he and his wife Janet, who is already retired, will need to downsize when he retires. But he hopes to keep going until he's 70, at least to buy some time and plan his next steps.
“I tell myself it's because of the finances because that's something I can quantify, but it's mainly giving me nine years to decide what I want to do in my life,” he says.
The U.S. Economy Needs Older Workers
Baby boomers are reaching retirement age rapidly, and the generations to follow are thinning as the American birth rate sinks even lower. Last year, the Census Bureau reported that by 2035, there will be more Americans over age 65 than there are children under age 18.
Not only that, but fewer people in their prime have been working in recent years — which is due in part to the opioid epidemic, mass incarceration and unaffordable child care that forces many parents to stay home.
Johnson says it's also important to note that there are older people who have been laid off or can't work longer, but really need to. These individuals often aren't counted in most statistics.
“For example, people who can't afford to be retired, but they can't find a job,” says Johnson. “And those are people who are really struggling and who don't show up in these numbers about the old people who are working more.”
He adds that older people who are still in the workforce aren't taking jobs away from younger people. In fact, many economists dispute this. Seniors on the job can boost regional economies.
They help increase tax revenues, stimulate growth with more consumer spending and provide additional talent at a time of low unemployment, though economic stimulus might not be much comfort for seniors who want to retire.
As for younger people who don't want to work until they're 70, Johnson says saving money early is just about the only way to ensure a comfortable retirement.
He recommends more jurisdictions across the country implement state retirement plans to help residents boost their savings. Maryland, for instance, has set up an automatic-enrollment retirement savings program for the estimated one million Marylanders who work full-time but have no way to save for retirement at work.
“It's just a good way of getting people to save because let's be honest: most people really only save when it's automatic,” Johnson says.
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Prevent Falls and Fractures | National Institute on Aging
A simple thing can change your life— tripping on a rug or slipping on a wet floor. If you fall, you could break a bone, thousands of older men and women do each year. For older people, a break can be the start of more serious problems, such as a trip to the hospital, injury, or even disability.
If you or an older person you know has fallen, you're not alone. More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling—and fall-related problems—rises with age.
Many Older Adults Fear Falling
The fear of falling becomes more common as people age, even among those who haven't fallen. It may lead older people to avoid activities such as walking, shopping, or taking part in social activities.
But don't let a fear of falling keep you from being active. Overcoming this fear can help you stay active, maintain your physical health, and prevent future falls. Doing things getting together with friends, gardening, walking, or going to the local senior center helps you stay healthy. The good news is, there are simple ways to prevent most falls.
Causes and Risk Factors for Falls
Many things can cause a fall. Your eyesight, hearing, and reflexes might not be as sharp as they were when you were younger.
Diabetes, heart disease, or problems with your thyroid, nerves, feet, or blood vessels can affect your balance. Some medicines can cause you to feel dizzy or sleepy, making you more ly to fall.
Other causes include safety hazards in the home or community environment.
Scientists have linked several personal risk factors to falling, including muscle weakness, problems with balance and gait, and blood pressure that drops too much when you get up from lying down or sitting (called postural hypotension). Foot problems that cause pain and unsafe footwear, backless shoes or high heels, can also increase your risk of falling.
Confusion can sometimes lead to falls. For example, if you wake up in an unfamiliar environment, you might feel unsure of where you are. If you feel confused, wait for your mind to clear or until someone comes to help you before trying to get up and walk around.
Some medications can increase a person's risk of falling because they cause side effects dizziness or confusion. The more medications you take, the more ly you are to fall.
Take the Right Steps to Prevent Falls
If you take care of your overall health, you may be able to lower your chances of falling. Most of the time, falls and accidents don't “just happen.” Here are a few tips to help you avoid falls and broken bones:
- Stay physically active. Plan an exercise program that is right for you. Regular exercise improves muscles and makes you stronger. It also helps keep your joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible. Mild weight-bearing activities, such as walking or climbing stairs, may slow bone loss from osteoporosis.
- Have your eyes and hearing tested. Even small changes in sight and hearing may cause you to fall. When you get new eyeglasses or contact lenses, take time to get used to them. Always wear your glasses or contacts when you need them If you have a hearing aid, be sure it fits well and wear it.
- Find out about the side effects of any medicine you take. If a drug makes you sleepy or dizzy, tell your doctor or pharmacist.
- Get enough sleep. If you are sleepy, you are more ly to fall.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes. Studies show that the rate of hip fractures in older adults increases with alcohol use.
- Stand up slowly. Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop. That can make you feel wobbly. Get your blood pressure checked when lying and standing.
- Use an assistive device if you need help feeling steady when you walk. Appropriate use of canes and walkers can prevent falls. If your doctor tells you to use a cane or walker, make sure it is the right size for you and the wheels roll smoothly. This is important when you're walking in areas you don't know well or where the walkways are uneven. A physical or occupational therapist can help you decide which devices might be helpful and teach you how to use them safely.
- Be very careful when walking on wet or icy surfaces. They can be very slippery! Try to have sand or salt spread on icy areas by your front or back door.
- Wear non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes, or lace-up shoes with non-skid soles that fully support your feet. It is important that the soles are not too thin or too thick. Don't walk on stairs or floors in socks or in shoes and slippers with smooth soles.
- Always tell your doctor if you have fallen since your last checkup, even if you aren't hurt when you fall. A fall can alert your doctor to a new medical problem or problems with your medications or eyesight that can be corrected. Your doctor may suggest physical therapy, a walking aid, or other steps to help prevent future falls.
Whether you are at home or somewhere else, a sudden fall can be startling and upsetting. If you do fall, stay as calm as possible.
Take several deep breaths to try to relax. Remain still on the floor or ground for a few moments. This will help you get over the shock of falling.
Decide if you are hurt before getting up. Getting up too quickly or in the wrong way could make an injury worse.
If you think you can get up safely without help, roll over onto your side. Rest again while your body and blood pressure adjust. Slowly get up on your hands and knees, and crawl to a sturdy chair.
Put your hands on the chair seat and slide one foot forward so that it is flat on the floor. Keep the other leg bent so the knee is on the floor. From this kneeling position, slowly rise and turn your body to sit in the chair.
If you are hurt or cannot get up on your own, ask someone for help or call 911. If you are alone, try to get into a comfortable position and wait for help to arrive.
Carrying a mobile or portable phone with you as you move about your house could make it easier to call someone if you need assistance. An emergency response system, which lets you push a button on a special necklace or bracelet to call for help, is another option.
Keep Your Bones Strong to Prevent Falls
Falls are a common reason for trips to the emergency room and for hospital stays among older adults. Many of these hospital visits are for fall-related fractures. You can help prevent fractures by keeping your bones strong.
Having healthy bones won't prevent a fall, but if you fall, it might prevent breaking a hip or other bone, which may lead to a hospital or nursing home stay, disability, or even death. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D can help keep your bones strong. So can physical activity. Try to get at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity.
Other ways to maintain bone health include quitting smoking and limiting alcohol use, which can decrease bone mass and increase the chance of fractures. Also, try to maintain a healthy weight. Being underweight increases the risk of bone loss and broken bones.
Osteoporosis is a disease that makes bones weak and more ly to break. For people with osteoporosis, even a minor fall may be dangerous. Talk to your doctor about osteoporosis.
Learn how to fall-proof your home.
Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.
For More Information About Falls and Falls Prevention
Part-time jobs for older workers
Dan Woog, Monster contributor
This is what to know about part-time jobs for older workers.
“Your company won't always take care of you. So you've got to take care of yourself.
” That sobering advice, from syndicated career advice columnist Jim Pawlak, is hitting home with an increasing number of men and women who were raised to believe that doing a job well translates into a lifetime of comfort but instead find that job security is rare. Unsurprisingly, jobs for older people—workers over 50—are especially being sought out.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 40% of adults age 55 and older are either working or looking for work as of March 2019. And a report from United Income said that 20% of adults over age 65 are either working or looking for work as of February 2019, compared with 10% in 1985.
The good news is that older workers may have fewer financial obligations than younger colleagues. With children are college, and homes possibly paid for, older candidates have some flexibility in the jobs to consider.
For these men and women in search of the best jobs for seniors over 60 and for workers in their 50s, part-time jobs may be an answer, although it will probably mean taking a more junior position, because, as Pawlak notes, there are no part-time positions in management.
Part-time jobs for older people are more ly to be lower-level positions in industries retail and health care.
And even for these positions, older workers must still brush up on computer skills and evaluate whether they need to expand their skill sets.
But with a bit of insight and creativity, older workers can land part-time jobs that provide stimulation and challenges—and pay more than minimum wage. (Have a look at all the part-time jobs available on Monster.)
Flexibility can pay off
When looking into available opportunities in your 50s, and even when researching best jobs for seniors over 60, remember that all your experience has gifted you with some valuable transferable skills. You might find you have better luck finding work outside of your industry.
Steve Reilly spent three decades in information technology, but when work in that field dried up, he turned to real estate.
He enrolled in the necessary courses, researched firms in his area, and sold himself as someone with both technical and organizational skills. “It's different than getting paid for work every day,” he says.
“But I love the challenge of helping people—not organizations—deal with problems.”
Michael, who asked that his last name not be used, had to dumb down his resume to get work in a Phoenix frame shop. Thirty years of hiring engineers and running MIS projects priced him similar work in a field flooded with younger, cheaper employees. So he turned to his earlier background as an artist, removed unrelated degrees from his resume, and landed a job.
Plenty of jobs for older people start out in a similar way and then grow over time. Michael’s hours vary, but he's made himself valuable because he volunteers to work any shift. He's earning less than he once did, but he'll soon be a manager.
Dave Harrison and his wife, Marianne, were also looking for work. They weren't laid off, but after retiring in their late 50s and moving to Florida, they wanted to work again.
In their new community, they networked and asked everyone they met for advice. They applied for full-time positions.
When granted interviews, they offered to work part-time to help prospective employers save money.
Eventually, Marianne got her job as an aide in an academic office that way. Dave's job as an assistant in the office of a youth sports organization was advertised as part-time.
The key is that “we took jobs where the tasks were less than we could handle, and the pay was less than we hoped to earn,” says Dave. “We knew if we got our foot in the door, we would earn our way to more responsibility and more pay.” They set a target of one year to prove to their employers that they could do more than they were hired for and should be compensated accordingly.
They proved themselves indispensable. In less than a year, Marianne was managing logistics for a graduate MBA program while her husband became executive director of a 1,200-player program.
“No one would hire us part-time at a salary we deserved,” he says. “We had to prove our value during the first year, and swallow our pride about wages.”
Advice for older job seekers
Some of the best jobs for seniors over 60 and workers in their 50s may not be what you’re expecting right off the bat, but it’s important to cast a wide net and keep an open mind. Dave Harrison recommends a few strategies when seeking out jobs for older people:
- Examine all potential job opportunities, full-time and part-time.
- Consider less-than-desirable assignments.
- Go above and beyond what an employer expected.
- Give an employer enough time to appreciate your contributions before asking for more compensation.
Lastly, he stresses the importance of working in a nonbureaucratic environment. “You want a place that is small enough so that one person's efforts can be seen and acknowledged,” he says.
Could you use some help in the later years of your career? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume and cover letter—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to find people with the work ethic, experience, and skills for top jobs. Get found and get to work.
The Advantages of Older Workers
We heard universally that older workers bring a level of experience, critical thinking and sheer knowledge that cannot be taught. In some industries – the jewelers, embroiderers, cabinet and cheese makers interviewed – it takes a decade or longer for workers to gain the technical skills necessary to do their job.
And then, even in industries with less technical training skills required, Zarin Fabrics (Lower East Side) and A & H Harris Equipment Rentals (Gowanus), a small store which is part of a larger company, it can take many years for sales associates to become familiar and fluent enough with the product to be truly successful. A manager of a nonprofit put it this way: “Young people have a can do attitude — and make mistakes; old people know what questions to ask.”
• International Asbestos Removal (Flushing) owner Karen Grando says, “The experience of knowing how to get around the city. Where to park. Knowing the building managers. Knowing how to get the job done right. There really is a lot to be said for experience. It’s playing the piano. You can be trained but it’s not the same as playing for years.”
2. They stay in jobs longer and take fewer days off
In 2014, the median tenure of workers ages 55-64 in all industries was 10.4 years, more than three times the 3.0 years for workers ages 25-34 years (US Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Businesses facing high worker turnover – retail and restaurants which can see 100% worker turnover in a year – consistently said they prefer to hire older workers who have families to support or “a reason they have to come to work” than younger workers who come and go more frequently.
• At Little Wolf Cabinet Shop (Upper East Side), owner John Wolf Sr. said he did not know how long a talented worker he hired at age 60 would keep working, but that he wound up staying for another 10 years. John enticed him to stay an extra year past when he planned to retire, by asking him to spend the entire year training his son, John Jr.
3. They have a strong work ethic
Business after business spoke about older workers being the first ones to arrive for a shift, as remaining focused throughout the day and as people who rarely miss work, even in fast-paced, physically demanding businesses.
• At Heidelberg Restaurant (Upper East Side), a German restaurant and bar, manager Andreas Matischak said he strongly prefers to hire older workers because of their work ethic. He described Hedy, a hostess in her 60s, who has been working at Heidelberg for 40 years. “She lives to work. She wants to work. I love having her here. I have to force her to take a vacation.”
• At Bridge Cleaners & Tailors (Soho, Downtown Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Navy Yard), co-owner Richard Aviles, says his older workers’ work ethic is unmatched. “I find that older workers take the job more seriously. People who have endured pain in the past feel they have to prove themselves and get validation from their job.”
Aviles said while strong work ethic is on display everyday in his company, with workers arriving early and staying late, he was particularly moved when his workers pushed day and night doing every job outside their job descriptions to bring his business back to operation when they were flooded under five feet of water during Hurricane Sandy.
“Everybody showed up every though there was no production being done,” he said. “I told them there was no work to do, but that I would be there at sunrise. Two people ran gas coming up. They all had on gloves and boots and were scrubbing floors. They saw it as we got to get this place up and running.”
4. They retain a business’s knowledge and networks
• At Bartleby and Sage (Long Island City), Chefs Jorge and Alfonse have been with the restaurant part of the business, Sage General Store, for over 15 years. “They just know their way around the kitchen. New chefs can have a hard time fitting in because the same recipes have been done for 17 years. Consistency is incredibly valuable financially.”
• The Queens Tribune (Whitestone) has retained its older advertising sales force even though workers have voluntarily reduced their hours to only a few days a week. Their older workers have retained relationships with all of the area businesses that they built up over several decades that would otherwise be lost.
• At M & S Schmalberg (Garment District) employee Lucia grew up in the business—literally, starting to come in as a child with her mother.
“She has more of an understanding of the business than anyone,” said owner Adam Brand. “Lucia is one of the few people that really understands [all parts of the business]. She facilitates things. She’s a help to me.
She has an awareness of what’s going on. She’s easily the most valuable person here.
BARTLEBY AND SAGE (Long Island City)
“They just know their way around the kitchen. New chefs can have a hard time fitting in because the same recipes have been done for 17 years. Consistency is incredibly valuable financially.” –Greta Poretsky, Event Catering Coordinator
5. The perceived technology gap can be overcome
Because older workers did not grow up with computers and the Internet, they can be perceived as slower or more resistant. Businesses who have expected all workers to adapt to new technology and provide support versus allowing some to lag behind, report better success, as do those who “think about the team,” pairing workers with stronger and weaker technology skills together.
• Nadine Cino of Tyga-Box Systems (Midtown), a green moving company that rents out reusable plastic boxes and coordinates moves, applied for and received a grant to train her warehouse workers (hired through a program for those formally incarcerated) in using a new digital tracking system. “We would have just handed them an apple iPad – you can’t do that to people who have never used a computer,” she said. “Now they are giving us advice on how we use technology.”
• At Kossar’s Bialys & Bagels (Lower East Side), Leila, 55, the counter woman, is considered the “heart and soul of the store” and has been working there for 16 years.
When the business was bought by new owners, she learned that they were switching over to a POS electronic system at the cash register. “She said you should just fire me now,” recalled Kossar’s new owner Evan Giniger. The owners encouraged Leila to try and offered training.
She is now on her second new
POS system and is operating faster than anyone else in the store.
• At The International Preschools (Manhattan) all teachers are expected to use iPads, upload photos and make regular posts to the school’s website. The school’s director Donna Cohen pairs teachers who are not as comfortable with technology in classrooms.
6. Older workers prove that the best teams are multigenerational
There is evidence that mixed age teams in the workplace are more productive than teams of workers of the same age (Zwick, Göbel and Fries (2013).
• At B & D Heating (Gowanus), owner Bill Munks uses a mixed age team to retain one of his most valuable workers, Mario, 79. “He’s head strong, stubborn and brilliant,” Bill said. “I hire a special guy who goes with him and treats him a father…They are a great pair.”
• At Renewal Care Partners (Midtown), which provides home health care and companion services to older adults, older and younger workers are intentionally paired together to learn from and compliment each other.
7. Older workers play a critical role in training the next generation of workers
Riva Precision Jewelry (Sunset Park), a highend jewelry manufacturer, facing a shortage of skilled workers, uses current workers to train new hires who have less than optimal skills. The company pays incentives to its Master Jewelers who train others and leave the production line to make up for incentives they would otherwise get for exceeding production targets.
• At Havana Central (Times Square), a 59-yearold dishwasher sets the standard for the rest of the kitchen and trains less experienced dishwashers who come in. He is rewarded with higher pay and bonuses. “There are expectations that you have to be as good as him. You have to keep up with him,” said owner Jeremy Merrin.
• At Mager and Gougelman (Midtown), custom manufacturers and fitters of ocular prostheses, practitioners must commit to taking on apprentices in order to guarantee continuation of the profession, as there is no formal training school and skills are passed down through lengthy apprenticeships.
MASTER FIRE PREVENTION (East Tremont)
“When you have someone there 15 years and you bring a new person in, you want that person to know everything, but they don’t. It is great to have the seasoned employees teach the new employees.” –Peter Martinez, owner
8. They provide customers with consistency and personal attention
Businesses frequently spoke about how their customers appreciate seeing long-time workers and feel that their presence sends the message that the business values its workers, its customers, and its community.
• At Glaser’s Bake Shop (Upper East Side), Terri is known for her extensive knowledge of the store’s offerings. She greets all of her regular customers by name, knows their families, and gives them samples of their favorites.
• At Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitana (Coney Island), which promotes itself as the oldest continually run, family-owned pizzeria in the U.S., beach goers expect to see the same people behind the counter every summer as a part of their seasonal pilgrimage. In winter the shop is filled with regulars who often know the owner and workers by name.
• Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market (Village) owner Frank Ottomanelli says their business is consistency across generations. ““We’re a one-on-one butcher,” he said. “We’ve been to our customers’ weddings and funerals. We get attached.”
One Ottomanelli customer during a recent visit said, “I’ve been coming here forever. I started as a little girl with my Mom. I don’t buy my meat anywhere but here. When my Mom passed two years ago, I lost her recipes. Frank gave me his recipes.”
9. Older workers attract more business
There are 1.4 million older New Yorkers and 4 million older tourists who visit New York every year. Older adults hold the majority of the country’s discretionary income, and are a growing customer base for the City’s businesses.
• At Katz’s Delicatessen (Lower East Side), some older customers request that only the older workers prepare their orders. Younger customers catch on, and desiring the authentic experience of the New York landmark, request this as well, said Katz’s owner.
• At Rudy’s Music Stop (SoHo and Hell’s Kitchen), the store’s consumer base is such a large age
range (teenagers to people in their 70s), that the owner prefers to have workers who can relate to all ages and understand their customers’ experiences.
• At Brooklyn Swirl (Bedford-Stuyvesant), a frozen yogurt shop, older customers are seen as both valuable in themselves and connectors to their younger family members. Owner Jean Alerte has instituted a half-price discount and hired an older worker behind the counter to make older customers feel particularly valued and welcome.
• Even at the not-so-small Apple Store (Upper West Side) older workers are strategically placed toward the front of the store so customers who might be overwhelmed by technology or the environment feel more comfortable.
10. Older workers are part of the business brand
Many businesses — from Kossar’s Bialys & Bagels (Lower East Side) to Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Flatiron) to Steinway & Sons pianos (Astoria) — spoke about older workers being a symbol for products that are hand-made, custom made or carry a history.
Other businesses spoke about older workers’ knowledge and personalized customer service becoming a part of their brand. Older workers at Rudy’s Music Stop (SoHo and Hell’s Kitchen),) who share their experience of music and changes in the guitar and music industry over several decades with customers, become a welcome part of the experience of visiting the store.
• At The Shadowbox Theatre (Downtown Brooklyn), a theater that puts on shows for 27,000 children a year, promoting intergenerationalism has become a part of the product.
The theater’s founder Sandra Robbins intentionally hires musicians and actors of different ages and backgrounds.
They include a musician in his 50s who has been with the theater for 20 years and a longtime African drummer in his early 70s who performs with actors in their 20s and 30s.
“I think it is very important for children to see people in a range of ages working together. For children to see people with different ethnic backgrounds working together. Part of the philosophy of Shadow Box is really that kids can make identification that is broad- ranged,” Robbins said.
There’s Good News for Seniors Who Want to Work Longer
The number of Americans between age 55 and 64 who are working is climbing, according to Boston College's Center for Retirement Research (CRR). Early in 2019, more than 65% of people in that age group were working, an increase from 63.9% in 2015.
Labor force participation among people 65 and older also rose in February 2019, climbing to 25.2% from 24% in February 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, since 2015, the number of employed Americans 55 to 64 has been rising.
This is particularly good news because other measures have indicated that the job outlook for older Americans is somewhat bleak. During the past quarter-century, roughly 56% of adults in their early 50s lost a job involuntarily, according to the Urban Institute.
The reasons vary, but they include layoffs, being passed over for promotions, and resignations due to challenging relations with supervisors.
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More disturbingly, 90% of older Americans never achieve the wages they had before an involuntary separation from the workforce, and 42% suffered a drop in income in the years after losing a job. These older workers end up with incomes 14% below people in roughly the same age group who kept their jobs during the same period.
Reasons for the rise
Why does the recent news seem more optimistic for older people who want to keep their jobs or return to work? Two major factors are ly at work, according to the CRR.
The first is the current robust job market. Labor-force participation in the U.S. has reached its highest level in more than half a century.
There's simply more hiring for older workers who want to land a job. The recent rising trend for older people is, in part, a throwback to the trend before the Great Recession of 2008-2009.
Better economic times benefit everyone, including the elderly.
The second is the sheer number of baby boomers and the effect of those numbers on the percentages. Baby boomers are a mega-generation, with very many people in the age cohort. They are in or nearing retirement age — the oldest are in their 70s — and are driving the trend to more older people working.
Plus, there's been a marked increase in the average life span of baby boomers. While average life expectancy is currently over 78, it was a decade less, 68, in 1950, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Living longer and improvements in healthcare means older people are able to work longer.
There's more good news, too. More older Americans have full-time jobs, which boosts their incomes higher than part-time work. In 1995, 40% of Americans 65 and older who worked were on a part-time schedule. But in 2016, nearly 61% worked full-time, according to The Brookings Institution and CRR. Why the switch? Because older folks now are more ly to continue their careers.
The percentage of income from work among older Americans is rising as a result. In 2012, earnings from a job made up 33% of the income for the average American over 65, versus only 18% in 1990.
The trend is expected to continue, as well. Older Americans are forecast to be the fastest-growing part of the workforce through 2024, according to the BLS. The number of people aged 65 to 74 in the workforce is projected to climb 4.5%. An even higher increase, 6.4%, is expected among folks over 75.
The benefits of working longer
There are many benefits to continuing your career into your middle-aged years and later, if you're able to. And the trends in older Americans who work is working in your favor.
Many older Americans want to work because they're engaged in their jobs and derive emotional satisfaction from them. Many depend on the money from working longer because they don't have enough saved up.
Extending your working years can help you enjoy a financially secure retirement.
The current average Social Security benefit is roughly $17,532 every year and makes up about one-third of the income for retired Americans.
People can increase their benefit by roughly 8% per year if they delay taking Social Security benefits at their full retirement age (FRA), up to age 70 when the bonus maxes out. FRA is determined by birth year.
Working can help older folks delay drawing benefits, and thus be entitled to more from Social Security later on.
Plus, there are 42% of Americans who currently have nothing saved in a retirement nest egg, according to the Center for Financial Services Innovation. If you're one of them, working in your later decades can put you on a firmer financial footing and help you save for even later years.
The recent uptick in labor force participation rates for older people indicates an upswing in their ability to get jobs, and to keep working and earning to ensure sure financial footing in later life. It's good news.
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