It is an unfortunate reality that most seniors simply cannot afford to retire. One of the first posts I made on this site was about how difficult it is to live on Social Security alone when you’re done punching the clock. I won’t regurgitate all the dismal stats, click on the link above and read the article. What it boils down to is most of us seniors these days do not have a retirement plan or pension plan that will sustain us through retirement, even if we’re the picture of health.
If we’re not the picture of health, God forbid, even with Medicare and Medicaid, the co-pays will put a serious dent in a Social Security check. Financial planners generally agree that you should anticipate needing at least 80 percent of your pre-retirement income to sustain your lifestyle after you retire. According to Investopedia, the average Social Security check is $1,461. Depending on how long you worked and how much you paid in, it could be a little more or a lot less.
Some of us can fall back on the kids or other relatives to help us navigate the financial shortfalls, but many of us have pretty much outlived everybody we knew or just don’t have anybody we can depend on. It’s pretty scary if you have no safety net.
Post-Retirement Medical Costs
It’s getting better, but we still lag behind most of the world (civilized and uncivilized) when it comes to caring and providing for our elders. Most of the rest of the world revere their elders. The United States seems to grudgingly tolerate us. Since we are the richest country in the world, it stands to reason that we spend more on seniors here. However, this does not translate to better care and opportunities by any means. In an international health policy survey, of the 11 wealthiest nations, when it comes to taking care of seniors, the U.S. ranked at or near the bottom in many categories, including access to, and affordability of, healthcare. The survey also points out that 23 percent of U.S. seniors do not go to a doctor when they are sick, get a recommended test or procedure, or fill a prescription due to high costs. The rest of the countries averaged around five percent.
Robert Osborne, lead author of the study, says: “What stands out is that in the U.S. older adults are more sicker and more economically vulnerable, despite having Medicare.” The way Medicare is set up requires more out-of-pocket expenditures than the health insurance programs in most of the other nations in the survey.
Every year nearly one in four seniors on Medicare (22 percent) spend at least $2000 on co-pays, prescriptions and/or co-insurance. In most of the other countries it was less than 10 percent. To add insult to injury, (or injury to insult, depending on how you look at it), the survey found that 25 percent of U.S. seniors reported having concerns about having enough money to buy nutritious food and pay rent and/or utility bills. So what do we do? Many of us have no choice but to go back to work.
There’s Something Out There For You
The thought of re-entering the work force can be exciting or nerve-racking, depending on why you are looking for a job. If you’re tired of sitting around and need something to do, that’s one thing. If you need to make ends meet, that’s a whole ‘nother ball game. The good news is, finding work after retirement may be a lot easier than you think. There are several good senior employment training programs and other opportunities out there. Many of them will fulfill the aforementioned two objectives and that’s about it. You won’t make a killing, but you will be able to fill in some gaps. Some are better than others, but you get out of them what you put into them.
What To Avoid
If you’re ever asked to cough up one nickel for assistance in finding a job, drop ’em like they’re hot. The internet is crawling with scammers trying to sell you “job offers” that you can get for free. Even if they say they need credit card information to verify your identity, don’t bite. A reputable job offer will come with no financial strings attached. I don’t care how good the offer sounds, if they want you to pay anything at all, it’s probably a scam. Steer clear. Better safe than sorry.
Another must-avoid is online surveys. However, unlike the get-rich-quick schemes, you can earn an income from the online surveys. That is, if you consider a few pennies an hour an income. I’m talking literally a few pennies an hour. Although many of the survey companies will promise you lucrative surveys, the good ones will always have “just closed” and you will be offered one that pays 25 to 50 cents and takes about 20 minutes to complete. That breaks down to $1.50 an hour if you can hang for eight hours. To say this is a waste of time is a gross understatement.
My personal favorites (and I mean that as negatively as possible) are the “Start Your Own Business” offers that promise you wealth untold through internet marketing. Do you really believe that you can make $1500 dollars a day starting tomorrow, working only two hours a day? Of course you don’t. So why did you click on it? Do you know why there are so many of these “offers” on the internet? Because people keep clicking on them! Stop it! Necessity breeds vulnerability. In other words, if you’re really hurting for some extra cash, you can get gullible and fall for some pretty crazy schemes.
Senior Employment Opportunities
The good news is: The job market for seniors has never been better. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for people 55 and over is 2.7%, compared to 3.6% overall. The news gets even better: Seniors 65 and over will experience the fastest rates of labor force growth between now and 2024. There are several things driving the increase in senior employment opportunities. A big one is the current lucrative job market. Labor-force participation is the highest it has been in 50 years. Simply put, there are more jobs out there to be had. According to Entrepreneur, other reasons include:
- not looking to move “up and out
- cost less to hire, train and maintain
- pride in a job well done
Job websites for seniors, and government-sponsored training programs, are two great places to start your job search. I found at least a dozen websites that cater exclusively to our age group. Let’s take a look at the job websites first. I narrowed the list down to three that I am comfortable recommending, based on ease of navigation and their ability to do what the heck they say they will do. I focused on sites that are specifically for seniors. It is my humble opinion that these three are the best of the lot.
- AARP Job Board – This one is a no-brainer. When it comes to anything that has to do with seniors, the American Association of Retired Persons is hard to beat. They have contracted with 450 organizations that have committed to hiring older workers. They also have a host of programs to prepare seniors to re-enter the workforce. You do not have to be a member to take advantage of the job board or any AARP program, but I strongly encourage you to join. Although the organization does have some issues (which I will address at a later date), I truly believe that there is no better – or more influential – advocate for seniors.
- Seniors 4 Hire – This site is a subsidiary of one of the biggest job sites on the internet: ZipRecruiter. It has been around since 2003 and bills itself as “the #1 Career Center for businesses that value a diverse demographic to actively find experienced workers 50 and older in the United States from all walks of life.” Whew! That’s a mouthful. But they appear to live up to the hype. I could not find any negative reviews for this company and I am impressed with the number, quality, and diversity of the jobs they offer.
- Retirement Jobs – This site has “Certified Age-Friendly Employers.” This means that these employers recognize the unique value of older workers and is committed to providing meaningful employment, development opportunities and competitive pay and benefits for their senior employees. All of their basic services are free, but they do have a Premium Membership that offers help with resumes (forgive the absence of the little accent mark over the “e”. My keyboard won’t let me do it), online workshops, legitimate work-at-home offers, and a personal agent. All for $99 for one year. This is not a subscription fee. It’s one and done. If you want to go that extra mile and have the $99 to spare, I think it’s worth it.
There are job websites for seniors that specialize in specific employment opportunities, such as accountants, IT professionals, finance and the like. These are the guys (and gals) who are looking for something to do more than being strapped for cash, I think. The sites I have chosen are for “everyday people” who are looking to supplement their income. If you are a “specialized professional” looking to get back into the job market, opportunities abound for you as well. Just search for a career specific website. Google “best jobs for retired” whatever.
In addition to the job websites for seniors, there are other opportunities you can pursue in your job search. Here’s a pretty good one:
National Older Worker Career Center –This is a one-stop shopping center for government-assisted employment programs. However, all the jobs are “non-federal, grant-administered positions and are not meant to compete with private sector wages.” It is also only available in certain states. NOWCC administers several government programs that help seniors find employment after retirement, including:
- Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) – work at non-profit and public facilities: schools, hospitals, libraries, etc. I actually got a job at a library through this program. Loved it! The program is another matter. There are a whole lot of negative reviews of this program. All of them center around the difficulty getting payroll set up and an office staff that seems to border on the verge of flat out incompetent. I found this to be true in my experience as well. But don’t let this be a deal breaker! A little patience and tolerance will help you navigate the madness and if you’ve got a valid ID and a social security card, the chances are excellent that they will find you a job. The hours are limited to 20 a week and the pay is minimum wage. Not a lot, true, but you can get working in a hurry. In addition to being administered by NOWCC, this program is available nationwide. Google it for your state to find out who administers it.
- Senior Environmental Employment (SEE) – positions in EPA offices across the country. Positions include: community outreach specialists, security personnel, receptionists, geologists.
- Experienced Services Program (ESP) – partners with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to provide enrollees in the program with jobs on conservation projects on multiple-use public lands.
Every self-help guru out there will tell you that the biggest obstacle to us succeeding in anything is self-doubt. This is especially true when job hunting. If you don’t “really” believe that you will get the job, you probably won’t. Your body language will be screaming “don’t hire me.” Go in there with an attitude that says: “You convince me why I should work for you.”
The Exception To The Rule:
In one of the greatest motion pictures of all time, The Ten Commandments, as Pharaoh lay dying, he moaned: “I will break my own decree and mention the name… Moses…” I’m being overly dramatic, but what I’m saying is that out there in that sea of bogus internet marketing offers, there is one name worthy of mention:Wealthy Affiliate.
This is the classic offer you can’t refuse. It costs you absolutely nothing to learn how to build and start making money off of a website. You don’t need a credit card and all you need to get started is your name and an e-mail address. They will host the site and teach you how to make money off of it and won’t charge you a dime. They do all of this because they are pretty sure that after a while, you will realize that you can make a lot more money a lot faster if you upgrade to their Premium program. And trust me, you will. But you don’t ever have to if you don’t want to. Like I said, it’s the classic offer you can’t refuse. Check it out here. Let me know what you think.