Adrift and Jobless Over 50
Older Workers Facing Crisis In Labor Market
The economy created thousands of jobs in the fourth quarter, but not enough to prevent a fallback in the economy. And not enough to provide a safety net for older workers who may find themselves unemployed for the first time.
"They're not getting back into the workforce as easily as maybe some of their younger former co-workers," says Linda Conti, Vice President of Wealth Management at David A. Noyes & Company, Indianapolis. "Most companies, although it is discrimination, are looking at an older employee and saying do I put them into my system?"
Workers in the 50s and early 60s often have higher health care costs. Conti says employers investing time and money in training want workers who can give them years of service. And it can be hard for those older workers to obtain training on their own.
"They're also not in a position to go back to school," she said. "Many times, these are the exact workers who are paying for their own children's education."
Taking Social Security benefits at age 62, rather than waiting until full retirement age, results in a smaller benefit. And they're forced to wait for access to Medicare.
"If at this time--the key earning time--they're unemployed, they're making up for their company medical insurance," said Conti.
The challenge is great for those gray-haired occupants of the unemployment line. But Conti says it's never too late to start planning to avoid disaster.
"None of us knows what life is gonna hold ten, 15, 20 years down the road." she said. "But if you start planning for things that could happen..you're ready for them."