Over 55? …you really do need a career plan! Here’s how to do it!

That’s right. The youngest Baby Boomers turned 50 back in 2015. Today, they are 55 years old and older. Many, if not most are planning to work until they are about 70 years old. If that’s the case, they need a career plan. If you plan to work another six years or longer, then you need a career plan too.

Dr. Ken Dychtwald, PhD, Founder and CEO of Age Wage is a gerontologist and foremost visionary regarding the lifestyle and implications of the aging boomer population on healthcare, the workforce and the economy. Speaking on “The Longevity Revolution and Its Emerging Economy,” he discusses the consequence of people living and working longer.

Dr. Dychtwald lists several reasons boomers will be working longer as they prepare for decades of retirement in front of them.

  • • They will work longer because will want to.
  • • They will work longer because they need to.

Dr. Dychtwald writes:
“[Boomers] are not looking at retirement as a one-way trip to leisureville, but as a time to reinvent themselves and try something new.”

Frightening Facts

In this article by US News, George Schofield, psychologist and author of After 50 It’s Up to Us,” notes that the longer life span of the boomers will give them more time to “pursue their passions and leave their mark on the world.” He also makes the comment that those extra years will need to be financed. He says:

“[Healthy baby boomers] could live to be 95 easily. They are going to have to find a way to make their income last a lot longer than the earlier generations did.”

The reality is becoming clear.

Approximately 10,000 people turn 65 every day.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, elderly adults will outnumber younger children by 2020.

According to this Business Insider article, only 23% of baby boomers are confident that their savings will last through their retirement.

Investopedia believes we may be facing a retirement crisis. In this report, 30% of respondents over 55 years old have no retirement savings. An additional 26% reported having less than $50,000. A total of 54% of Americans lacked sufficient preparation for their retirement.

What about the Great Recession?

These facts are frightening. I found it interesting that only the Investopedia article brought up the impact of the Great Recession. The comment there made the assumption that boomers “panicked and sold everything” and didn’t enjoy the “rally that followed.” The author, Barbara A. Friedberg seems to believe that the move to sell at that time was a short-term reaction by investors who didn’t have access to “qualified, unbiased investment advice, and instead used information they found on social networks and from their friends.”

As I continue to work with late-career clients, I find that during the recession, many boomers dipped into their retirement to make up for lost revenue from layoffs, real estate losses, funding for their children’s education, and the like. It wasn’t their first choice.

I have witnessed many devastated people who lost most of their life’s savings. Some even lost their families as working spouses left with the children when their partner could not find work. None of these people found advice through social media or from uninformed friends.

There’s a bigger problem:

The problem is bigger than the dwindling retirement savings. As reported, some people have little or nothing. Others have a very little bit. However, the problem goes much deeper. To say that boomers will need to work longer may be true. To say they may not be able to “find” work may be more accurate.

Jobs are changing. Some jobs are being eliminated. Business needs are morphing through technology, the implementation of artificial intelligence, and robotics.

Jobs that are going away:

A recent article on Computer Hope sites jobs that are being taken over by robots and computers. Robots work 24/7 and don’t need time off! (Visit the link and enjoy watching the robots at work, including the robotic kitchen and home garden.) Jobs being eliminated include:

audio cassettes isolated on white background

  • • Assembly-line and factory workers
  • • Bus and taxi drivers (self-driving cars)
  • • Phone operators, telemarketers, receptionists
  • • Cashiers
  • • Bank tellers and clerks
  • • Paralegals, information gathering, analysts, researchers
  • • Bartenders
  • • Stock traders
  • • Chefs and cooks
  • • Home and gardening

Fastest growing opportunities:

Here is a list of the fastest growing jobs:
I’ve selected those positions that late-career individuals might be more likely to train for and be able to do.

  • • Veterinarians, veterinarian technologists and technicians
  • • Mental health counselors
  • • Cost estimators
  • • Health educators
  • • Audiologists
  • • Bicycle repairers
  • • Dental Hygienists
  • • Physical therapists
  • • Marriage and family therapists
  • • Interpreters and translators
  • • Meeting, convention and event planners
  • • Physical therapy assistants

With all these new opportunities, the obvious answer is to switch from jobs that are leaving to those that are coming. Hmmm….maybe take another look at the list. The skill sets that are represented in the “jobs that are coming” take time to develop.

Therefore: Having a Career Plan is a critical success factor.

BREAKTHROUGH on Age Bias and a top tip!

Boomers are often considered less capable when it comes to technology. Yet, there are many boomers who enjoy technology and have been early adopters throughout their career. None-the-less, there remains a bias about the ability of boomers to learn and manage technology.

When it comes to being considered for a position, it is highly possible that early career applicants may be preferred in positions where technology plays a major role.

Back in 2007 through 2011, age discrimination was a hot topic. The unemployment population included many people who were 50 years old or older. There was a consistent sense that if they were over 50, they were obsolete. This was the time when the early-career Millennials were just entering the workforce.

By comparison, the early-career applicants were perceived as tech-savvy and less expensive. Boomers, over 50, were more expensive and perceived as slower in learning new software.

This has changed!

This last week I was preparing for a presentation on Contract Negotiation. A discussion with an executive inside recruiter brought the following quote:

“If a person has a niche skillset, I don’t care if they are 80 years old. I’ll pay them bigtime to get that skillset. If they are from California, I’ll pay them even more!”

For many people, this should be a welcome change….IF they are not stuck in jobs that are becoming obsolete and IF they are unwilling to face this reality.

I hear it all the time: “But I just need four more years.”

What can be done? How can you plan?

It is essential that every person over 55 have a career plan.

A career plan includes valid options for every 2.5 to 3 years for the next 5 to 6 years. This plan should be updated every year, and sometimes every quarter to stay ahead of the curve as different jobs leave the workplace and others come along.

Solution design:

The directive is clear. Identifying a niche skillset and honing it into shape is one part of the solution.

However, we all know that not everyone is cut out to take on a new industry and reinvent themselves. It takes time and there may be costs associated with it.

It IS possible to master the change process and remain relevant, active, and maintain an income stream.

Neil Patrick and I understood these changes which are coming quickly! That’s why we wrote

Part 1 presents the Six Engines of Change and tells you what you need to know so you can read the jobs market and stay ahead of the curve.

Part 2 outlines a process to re-evaluate your skills as changes occur and establish your credibility with potential employers.

I hope you get the book. I hope you read it and embrace these changes so you and your family can enjoy the revenue you need and a future that is bright.

* * *


Please follow and like us:

3 thoughts on “Over 55? …you need a career plan! Here’s how to do it!

  1. Not obsolete yet; thanking our good Lord

  2. As always, an interesting post on an important topic. The Business Insider and Computer Hope articles referenced while helpful, lack some nuance. Bartenders, for example, may disappear from airport ports and low end restaurants, but they will be part of the cachet in higher-end establishments, where it’s the sommelier that disappears (because the bartender is freed by automation to be more of a specialist.) Translation was listed as a growing field, but that is not entirely true. Machine translation is becoming better and more used. Anyone working for a translation agency uses a translation memory application, which allows them to translate at a much faster rate – the human being more engaged in the literacy and flow of the text; the machine has rendered the meaning along with the client’s preferred vocabulary.
    Technological advances typically hollow out the middle level of occupations. The people at the top level are more specialized and more highly compensated, the middle levels are highly automated, and there remains some less skilled, less technical, more people facing jobs at the lower level. If you have been able to keep up with your field, you many find consulting or gig work at the top level. If you are in personal services, the need is perennial. If you have expertise in your leisure or volunteer activities, that may be a springboard into paid work.

    1. Jennifer!
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Your specificity beautifully reminds us to carefully consider all aspects of change as we ride the wave of change that is constantly upon us. Again, thank you!

Comments are closed.