Life lessons: Working after turning 50.

As a retirement planner, I hear lots of people rationalize over-spending with the following logic……..’oh, I’ll just work until I am 70“……..”I hate the idea of retiring, I plan to work as long as possible“……..”if this doesn’t work out, I’ll just get a “regular” job again“……

Wow.  You’d think these people are teenagers.  These people are actually 50+.  My advice to folks in these situations is to be cautious.  Employment at 50+ is much trickier than at 40+.  It has two angles – let me explain:

Angle #1 – Desire to continue to work:

You may not want to work 40 hours er week until you are 67 or higher.  True, some people love their jobs – this clearly does not apply to them.  However, there are a lot of Type-A personalities who can easily fill their retirement days without going into an office.  You may not want to work at the same pace after turning 50.  You may want to pursue a “Hobby Job” with minimal pay.  None of these scenarios jibe with the rationalizations I mentioned earlier.

If you are counting on working to 70 – to fill a retirement savings gap –it is full on employment.   Complete with stress, office politics, and all the other BS that goes with a high paying job.  You need to be realistic…….as we age, our energy replenishment takes longer.  The job that is bearable at one point, can become unbearable as we age.  This is simply the product of biology and physics.

Angle #2 – Can we find the right job?

Finding employment at 50+ is much more difficult than you think.  This is experience talking.  It will not be as easy as when you were 20, 30 or even 40.  It is a whole new ballgame when you are above the average age of the general workforce.  Do not underestimate the impact this has on your hire-ability.

Yes, it is still possible.  But it will almost certainly take more time, might involve an undesirable move, might mean a meaningful demotion…….and this assumes you can find something.  It does eventually end.  You will reach a point at which no-one will want to hire you.  It’s the third rail after death and taxes.  It may come sooner for some than others, but it will come for everyone eventually.  Do not delude yourself.

So the moral of this story is that counting on employment past 50 to fix the over-spending of your youth is a tricky strategy to say the least.  It might be you that calls the time-out, or it might be the employment market that signals game over.  Either way, employment  at 50+ is much more difficult than most imagine.  Be cautious.