Older Americans are working beyond retirement age at levels not seen since 1962

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/04/25/alpo-indenture.html


You forgot to mention that many people have to factor in healthcare costs for spouses that are not old enough to be covered by medicare. Alot of the time the primary moneymaker of the household also covers healthcare costs from private health insurance provided by their employer. Had quite a few conversations with my father about his upcoming retirement and how he’s looking into that issue since mom is 7 years away from being able to get medicare herself. It’s been a bit of a rush to get her cataracts addressed.


" the least likely to be in work, because they lack the postsecondary degrees that would let them compete with their better-educated peers for jobs."

But we have some secret weapons too; We suit up, show up and do the job. We also have a metric ton of experience to bring to the table and do it willingly.


I am not saying the financial stuff is not true, but you are leaving out all the people that retire later because they enjoy working. Of the people I know that worked past 70, the vast majority did so because they wanted to keep working.


I can not stress enough the importance of picking a place to live / home that you can own out right, the cost of keeping a roof over your head taken out of the equation is life altering.

If need be that you settle for a less than desirable location, then do it, you’ll sleep better at night knowing you are at least mortgage / rent free. And yes, check for the local property tax percentage, that factors in as well.


I’m in my early fifties and plan to work until seventy. My current career is my second one and I didn’t start it until I was 39 so there are many challenges still in front of me. When people lived shorter lives it made sense to retire early. I’m not looking to spend twenty or so years retired.


If hiring processes actually selected candidates based on their willingness and ability to perform in the position I don’t think there would be as many challenges for 65+-year-olds. Discrimination always leaves great candidates behind.


That’s been my anecdotal experience, too. However, they’re all either self-employed professionals or physicians or tenured academics. Most of them also had a lot more than $60k in retirement savings and didn’t have to work. I don’t know anyone who wanted to (or was sad about being unable to) keep working for a boss at a private corporation – those people found other ways to keep active and connected and contributing.

What we’re seeing here is late-stage capitalism re-creating conditions where a large number of elderly Americans having no choice but to keep working for (or being under-employed by) someone else’s profits on someone else’s terms.


HAHAHAHA. Yeaaaaah. My mom turns 75 this year. She’s held 4 jobs since “retiring” (two of them simultaneously). The economic meltdown of 08/09 erased ALL of her retirement funds. She’s what they call “working poor” right now.

She will never have the chance to retire. When her body finally gives out (and she’s come close in the last year) she will end up in a state facility and have to relinquish all of her possessions just to be accepted. No one with more than $2000 in assets is given assistance, where she lives.

But please, do tell me about the “vast majority”.


I’m a few years beyond retirement age and still working full time. I would love to retire, but the crash of '08 in housing took all of my equity (and I had to start over). I’m still a few years from paying off the house, which I see as a “must do”, but I will also note that the guys I see retiring around me are either bored to tears, or they get cancer and die.
I swear, life is backwards.


He did make it clear he was talking about the people he personally knows. Unfortunately, your mother’s case is probably the more common scenario post-2008 (I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot of stories here about people being partially or fully wiped out in the crash).

It’s especially heartbreaking and frustrating because adult children of retirement-age people in the U.S. are often barely meeting their budgets themselves without taking on an elderly parent living in the house (assuming there’s room, assuming there’s a house, assuming the person isn’t infirm, etc.). I’ve seen some multi-generational households work, but they’re immigrant families who’ve bucked some of the dictates of late-stage capitalist society.

Yeah, you have to do something to keep your mind and body active and keep connected to other people. I like my work and should be able to keep doing it as long as I want, but if I didn’t I’d be looking to travel, to volunteer, to mentor and teach. Lots of opportunities.

As @papasan says, paying off your house will be a game-changer. There are still expenses like property taxes and maintenance, but no mortgage/rent hanging over you every month will reduce your stress like few other things in life.


I realized years ago that I’m never going to be able to officially retire. I’m either working until I’m dead, or until nobody will hire me for anything.

At which point I will attempt to get up to any mischief that allows me to have the most fun.


Yep. My mom says stuff like that all of the time but it’s bullshit. She had a bad marriage, left it late, ended up without anything. She’s “retired” from teaching but works full-time in the gig economy at 67 to pay for an apartment. She “loves working” because she hates the thought of dying in poverty.

I just figure not only do I have to support myself, I have that future burden. My choice was not to have children so that I wouldn’t be overburdened by dependents when I couldn’t care for myself. As for retirement I just got laid off after 15 years and I figure now is the time to do some things I wanted to do because I know damned well I have another 15-year stint in there somewhere if I don’t get some big profits off of some non-profitable ventures. But if life is just sitting in a sexual-harassment box waiting to die, then I’m ready to die… so there’s where that stands.


I started participating with a focus group [4 years ago] tasked primarily with the goal of owning out right your place of retirement. 3 years of research, like a full time job I’m saying, my Dear Wife and I took the plunge and purchased a place. Is it paradise? NO! But it will be paid off the very month we both retire in 18 months, no small task in Southern California too. We based our list of must haves on the achievement of the Goal / Ownership comes first. It worked for us, just make the time to research, look at areas with your own two eyes, and your plan will work.


For the last decade, I’ve worked in an office with a median age pushing 70. Most of these people are retired (with good savings, health insurance etc), but don’t want to sit at home. Yeah, they might not be typical. But retirement is not a good thing for many professionals. In our case, we’re all engineers. We thrive on problem solving. It’s why we became engineers. And it’s why the death rate for us jumps significantly upon retirement. We curl up and die.

The result is these guys started a medical incubator. Smart, experienced people with nothing to lose are willing to take calculated risks and work hard on something that might not even pay of until after they die. Seems like a pretty good alternative to daytime TV or golfing.


I read these stories with a certain sense of horror. I am mid-50s professional with what I would call “decent” retirement savings, several times what is being reported for most, and look at retirement with a huge sense of foreboding financially. My wife and I are both cancer survivors, so private insurance is not much of an options unless ACA remains in effect, something I am not willing to bet heavily on. Until she is Medicare eligible, and she is 7 years younger than me, retirement is just not an option. At that point I do anticipate being able to retire, but the idea of relying on what I have saved (not counting on SS either, anticipating Republicans gutting it soon) scares me to death.


If you have a low interest rate on your mortgage, and especially if you can itemize and that interest is deductible, then paying off your mortgage is not the best use of your money. If it makes you feel better, then you can go ahead and do it. But objectively, it is probably a better alternative to take money you’d put into extra mortgage payments and invest it.

1 Like

Actually, for me, it will be paying off my car. My mortgage payment is manageable - I bought in 1991 and stayed put.

1 Like

So many people would like to retire, but can’t, because they are just barely getting by. But let’s just continue to ignore the wage disparity issue, and the fact that American Capitalism has been perverted into a machine with the only purpose of moving wealth from the 99% to the 1% aristocracy.


We did invest it, in ourselves.