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March 29, 2007


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It's definitely a problem for people currently nearing retirement. I've seen a number of people in their 50s and 60s be forced into "retirement", when they wanted to keep working. I've seen even more in their 40s and 50s get laid off; they usually have a very hard time finding a new job in the same field, and so they have to retrain for a new career and take a big pay cut, when they should be in their prime.

I think younger workers are generally more prepared for these possibilities, since we didn't enter the workforce thinking we would work for one company for 30 or 40 years.

It is less a question of whether you can work than whether you will want to once you find out what kind of work someone will hire you for. Many companies discriminate against older workers, particularly in any lucrative position. Even executives know this is true. Just try proving it though. If you are content working as a security guard, custodian, or other menial job that few others want, then you shouldn't have any problem. The higher up you are or more desirable a position, plan on not working unless you are self employed.

It's called age discrimination, and it's a very real problem. Frankly given what I've seen I've factored into my plans the possibility that in my 40s, 50s or 60s I'll be laid off and essentially forced into a lower-paying job because I can't get rehired. Because of that I want to leave my 40s as debt-free as possible, not to mention with a chunk of retirement money set aside already.

The other thing I've seen at companies I've been at where there is still a pension, is definately laying people off after 20+ years of service just prior to that golden anniversary date where they would qualify for full pension benefits (aka, a long-term annuity benefit).


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