Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Boomers – What’s Your Plan B for Work?

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Baby boomers- do you have an answer to that question? Take note of these two interesting findings about the future of work:

 Fact 1:  93% of the growth in the U.S. labor force from 2006 to 2016 will be among workers ages 55 and older.

 Fact 2: Retirement is not always voluntary. Only about half (51%) of all current retirees say they retired because they wanted to. About a third (32%) say they had to retire for health or other reasons, and about one-in-ten (9%) say their employer forced them to retire. (Pew Research Center)

 We laugh – that nervous sort of laugh — about how long we’ll work – 70, 80, 90. Thanks to the fallout from the recession, early retirement is off the table.  We need to make up for lost retirement savings; we need to really start saving for retirement; we have kids in college; we have aging parents who need our financial help.  And the list goes on.

Then comes Fact 2 –simply many of us aren’t going to have that choice. Whether because we our downsized, our company shuts down or we acquire a health condition that requires us to stop working, Plan A is no longer in place.

 Do you have a Plan B for work?

 I recently read Carol Orsborn’s  The year I Saved My  (downsized) Soul:  A Boomer Woman’s Search for Meaning…and a Job

What a joy!  It’s not a 10-step book to finding a job. There are lots of those around.  It’s a witty and personal look at the trauma of being downsized when you didn’t see it coming, the financial shock and reality, the FEAR of losing health insurance and a climb back to finding meaning, yourself – and in her case a new job. 

 If you’re a boomer out of a job or fear being out of a job, you’ll recognize her moments of despair and find yourself laughing with her through moments of discovery.  And it has a happy ending – just what we need for these tough times!

Carol does offer up 10 Keys to saving your (downsized) soul and my two favorites are:

  • Not everything that happens is a message.  Sometime a rat is only a rat.
  • It’s the economy that’s broken, not you

This economic meltdown has taken its toll on all generations—not just our retirement accounts but our spirits. So Carol’s book is a good reminder for the currently employed that “it can happen at anytime.” And to the unemployed, a lifting look at one got knocked down and is back in the game – stronger and more vibrant.

 So back to Fact 1 and Fact 2. Most of us, especially those without company pensions, will have to work longer. So, if work is integral to your financial future, get a plan B for work now, before you need it –whether it’s a new career, a part-time job, or figuring out how to work for yourself.


Written by Laura Rossman

September 22, 2009 at 1:00 pm

One Response

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  1. Moving from Boston to Fort Worth, Texas, to live with a friend. It’s cheap there!


    September 22, 2009 at 4:51 pm

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