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Old 03-29-2016, 11:36 AM   #1
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Older Workers, Physical Jobs

Most of us on this site have diligently endeavored to avoid this fate, I presume.

Still Working Hard: An Update on the Share of Older Workers in Physically Demanding Jobs

from the article: A recurring theme in debates over Social Security policy is that workers should be encouraged to work later into their lives by raising the age at which they can get full benefits. Implicit in this argument is that most workers are in a situation where they would be able to work to an older age; however, many older workers stop working because they can no longer meet the physical demands of their job."

Still Working Hard: An Update on the Share of Older Workers in Physically Demanding Jobs | Reports | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:58 AM   #2
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Yeah, my brother has arthritis and also just blew his dominant shoulder out. If either of those happened to me, no biggie. He, however, is a bricklayer. So he's looking for a new career in his mid-50s, probably in material sales. Hopefully he'll be able to successfully bridge; otherwise, he is not in an enviable position.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:56 PM   #3
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One BIL works in a power plant and with OT and shift differentials makes well into six figures. But it is a physically demanding job. He's in generally pretty good shape and has avoided for the most part all the sins that make your health worse with age, but at the same time says he has no choice but to work until age 66. He's a good guy, I hope he makes it.

So yes I am concerned about these "solutions" to extend the retirement age for even diner chefs, floor sweepers, janitors, BIL, bricklayers and the like. Although some people can do a non physically demanding job well into their eighties that is less true for others.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:16 PM   #4
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IMHO, all the "experts" who suggest raising the retirement age should be required to work a month as a bricklayer (preferably in Georgia, in August) or as an electrical lineman (preferably in the Northeast, during an ice storm) and then revisit their original solution to the problem.

I'm not talking politics here, I'm talking simple common sense.
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:40 PM   #5
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IMHO, all the "experts" who suggest raising the retirement age should be required to work a month as a bricklayer (preferably in Georgia, in August) or as an electrical lineman (preferably in the Northeast, during an ice storm) and then revisit their original solution to the problem.

I'm not talking politics here, I'm talking simple common sense.
The reason I finally decided to go to college wasn't working construction in the humidity of STLouis summers; rather, it was the idea of working in 30 degree temps in January (mortar/concrete are ok at that temp). Either way, your point is well taken.
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Old 03-29-2016, 10:12 PM   #6
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The reason I finally decided to go to college wasn't working construction in the humidity of STLouis summers; rather, it was the idea of working in 30 degree temps in January (mortar/concrete are ok at that temp). Either way, your point is well taken.
And then there's me, who wouldn't last a minute in either of those conditions!

I hope your brother is able to make the transition to the new job , and I wish him all the best. It's difficult to start over in your 50's, that's for sure.
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Old 03-30-2016, 05:20 AM   #7
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I read so often how much the average worker in our generation has so little saved for retirement, and that scares me. I'd hate to think I was in a job that was physically demanding had had to work until age 70 or 75. In many cases, their bodies cannot stand up to the work for so long.

And many of the hard working people, like brick layers or carpet layers, have been working for "cash", and their employers have not paid into social security for them. Employers consider them subcontractors, even though the workers meet every criteria for being "employees." The workers are simply getting screwed by the employers.

Walt34 talks about his BIL that has to work until age 66 in a power plant--when he makes $ 6 figures. His BIL is full of bull, as those guys can live well on their pensions at 30 years and out. It's the same with linemen and others with great benefits. They have the income to have been funding IRA's/Roths all these years.

I just assume so many people in the world working menial jobs that have virtually no retirement savings or pensions will end up on the entitlement rolls--that continue to swell over time. It's going to be a pretty bleak existence for them.
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:35 AM   #8
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One BIL works in a power plant and with OT and shift differentials makes well into six figures. <snip>

So yes I am concerned about these "solutions" to extend the retirement age for even diner chefs, floor sweepers, janitors, BIL, bricklayers and the like. Although some people can do a non physically demanding job well into their eighties that is less true for others.
Someone making "well into 6 figures" should have been saving money, right?

I do think that the idea of working into your late 60s and early 70s is crazy for a lot of people who never made much in the first place and have physically demanding jobs. Nurses' bodies frequently give out early after moving one too many bariatric patients. Retail workers end up with foot and leg problems from constantly standing/walking on the job, mostly on hard cement floors. I see a few construction sites where the older members just hold signs, direct traffic or manage the tool box, but that's only a small % of the work that needs to be done.

When I was still in the insurance business, I watched a webinar on issues in the ageing workforce. In Japan, they have factories set up where the workers assemble electrical products. There are workstation set up to accommodate wheelchairs and women in their 80s work with giant magnifying lenses so they can see what they're doing. Made me shudder.
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:11 AM   #9
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The reason I finally decided to go to college wasn't working construction in the humidity of STLouis summers; rather, it was the idea of working in 30 degree temps in January (mortar/concrete are ok at that temp). Either way, your point is well taken.
KC fall rains did it for me. Worked outside for 10 years with no issues. Spent one full week in the cold fall rains and I couldn't wait to get an education.

I spent a year working full-time while going to night school. That year was full of lessons. I watched the guy retire that I had studied under, they gave him a $300 plane ticket so he could visit some land in Florida he'd bought sight unseen. Past that he was going to live on SS.

There's a bunch of memories of all the crazy folks from back there. I've stayed in touch with two other people from back there, most of the others have passed. So glad it rained that week.
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Calico View Post
IMHO, all the "experts" who suggest raising the retirement age should be required to work a month as a bricklayer (preferably in Georgia, in August) or as an electrical lineman (preferably in the Northeast, during an ice storm) and then revisit their original solution to the problem.

I'm not talking politics here, I'm talking simple common sense.
There is no doubt that some jobs are too physically demanding for those in their 60's to continue doing. However, one cannot just dismiss calls for the retirement age to be raised. I have not looked up the exact figures, but when SS was initiated by FDR, average longevity was lower, and people typically only spent something like 5-10 years in retirement before they died. Also, in 1940 there were 159 people paying in to SS for every recipient. Even in 1960, the ratio was 5 to 1. Now it is 2.8 to one, and people are commonly spending over 20 years in retirement. SS and many state retirement programs simply do not have the funds to pay the benefits that are promised. It is not about being compassionate, it is just math. Detroit is a good example.
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Old 03-30-2016, 11:10 AM   #11
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Someone making "well into 6 figures" should have been saving money, right?
Right. But alas, that is not what is happening, and that is why he will have to work until 66. He's a nice guy, but "Spendarina" runs the finances in that house and if his health goes bad he's going to be in a world of hurting. They say their FA (whoever that is) says they're doing fine but since three years ago they had ~$300k in mortgage debt, ~$10k in cc debt, and ~$15-$20k in auto loans, they are doing the proverbial "one paycheck from disaster" dance.

He will have a pension but probably not COLA'd from the power plant, another from National Guard that will maybe pay for groceries, she is a waitress who makes at best $40k/year and of course no pension.
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Old 03-30-2016, 11:41 AM   #12
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They say their FA (whoever that is) says they're doing fine but since three years ago they had ~$300k in mortgage debt, ~$10k in cc debt, and ~$15-$20k in auto loans, they are doing the proverbial "one paycheck from disaster" dance.
Ouch. That would make retirement tough. It's cases like this that are really sad because the financial strains at retirement were preventable.
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Old 03-30-2016, 03:02 PM   #13
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There are a lot of 'office' jobs that people who work in them get too stressed out even in their 50s. I have seen several in IT that I work with.

While a physically job might be hard structurally on the body, STEM jobs are hard mentally.
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Old 03-30-2016, 07:08 PM   #14
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Officials keep saying we need to raise the retirement age but it seems more and more people of office and physical labor jobs are being let go earlier and earlier.
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:21 PM   #15
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It is not about being compassionate, it is just math.
Thank goodness the majority of people in this country don't feel this way.
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Old 03-30-2016, 11:47 PM   #16
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.........I just assume so many people in the world working menial jobs that have virtually no retirement savings or pensions will end up on the entitlement rolls--that continue to swell over time. It's going to be a pretty bleak existence for them.
It will also affect even those that have saved as someone is going to pay for it.

My buddy was a framer , that's a carpenter that puts up the stick houses. When he was about 35 he went back to College and learned programming. Said that when he was young 22 yr old working outside in Winter didn't bother him, but at 35 it was harder.

At least he was smart enough to realize he had to change.
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Old 03-31-2016, 09:53 AM   #17
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Officials keep saying we need to raise the retirement age but it seems more and more people of office and physical labor jobs are being let go earlier and earlier.
That's always been my issue with raising the retirement age by much more. IMHO, Unless the laws against age discrimination are toughened a lot, there will be a lot of people in their late 50's and even early 60's spending down their retirement stash just to stay afloat until they hit the 'official' retirement age.
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Old 03-31-2016, 10:08 AM   #18
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There is no doubt that some jobs are too physically demanding for those in their 60's to continue doing. However, one cannot just dismiss calls for the retirement age to be raised. I have not looked up the exact figures, but when SS was initiated by FDR, average longevity was lower, and people typically only spent something like 5-10 years in retirement before they died. Also, in 1940 there were 159 people paying in to SS for every recipient. Even in 1960, the ratio was 5 to 1. Now it is 2.8 to one, and people are commonly spending over 20 years in retirement. SS and many state retirement programs simply do not have the funds to pay the benefits that are promised. It is not about being compassionate, it is just math. Detroit is a good example.
The trouble is that particular line of logic is it has run into the limits of the human body. Add on to that global work issues that spits out workers in their 50's. and then there is the robotics in the work force.

Seems like a new line of logic is needed to deal with this.
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Old 03-31-2016, 10:12 AM   #19
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My buddy was a framer , that's a carpenter that puts up the stick houses. When he was about 35 he went back to College and learned programming. Said that when he was young 22 yr old working outside in Winter didn't bother him, but at 35 it was harder.

At least he was smart enough to realize he had to change.
One of my best friend has been a roofer his entire life...mostly large commercial flat roofs. But, he was smart enough to work up to running a crew, and then became the guy who writes bids and oversees projects. He is my age (53) and tells me that had he not got off the roof by his mid-30's that his body would have broken down long ago.

His company has guys in their late 50's who are still doing grunt work. A lot of them miss work...often simply because they are unreliable, but also because their body can't take it any more. I'm pretty fit, but after shingling my parent's house 2 years ago I can't imagine doing that kind of work full time.
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