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The "Silver-collar" economy
Old 09-07-2012, 09:18 AM   #1
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The "Silver-collar" economy

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More companies are hiring people 65 and older because they believe they are reliable and productive, while the seniors themselves need and want to work. But is the trend squeezing out young people?
The silver-collar economy - CSMonitor.com

I have to say that I have strongly mixed feelings about this.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:32 AM   #2
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Granted I have only been retired for a short time. But I cannot imagine why I would want to work in a factory doing grunt labor if I didn't have to. It makes me sad that people cannot figure out what to do with their time without being told. I guess they were well trained by the system.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:36 AM   #3
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Granted I have only been retired for a short time. But I cannot imagine why I would want to work in a factory doing grunt labor if I didn't have to. It makes me sad that people cannot figure out what to do with their time without being told. I guess they were well trained by the system.
Yeah, we see some of the usual "I can't imagine sitting in a rocking chair doing nothing all day" kind of propaganda comments in this piece. I think it's good that if people want to keep working, they can. But I also think there's an element of predation and exploitation here: hiring folks who are on Medicare and just need a little supplemental income above Social Security allows businesses to cut wages and offer no benefits -- further eroding the base of middle class jobs that can sustain families. Folks over 65 often don't need to demand health insurance because they already have Medicare, for example.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 09-07-2012, 09:55 AM   #4
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But I cannot imagine why I would want to work in a factory doing grunt labor if I didn't have to. It makes me sad that people cannot figure out what to do with their time without being told.
I recently finished reading Weiss's The Expereince of Retirement book.
This book sheds some light on when and why this might occur.

In it he interviews upwards of 100 retirees and reports on the stories in a descriptive manner and attempts to draw appropriate conclusions on the patterns he sees.

It was beneficial for me to see that many of the people in the book who were having less than satisfying retirements had different life situations than my own.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:30 AM   #5
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The silver-collar economy - CSMonitor.com

I have to say that I have strongly mixed feelings about this.
Maybe for service companies this may be true, but in the tech world, the trend is to lose the employees older than 50, get cheaper ones in China/India. But either way, there is more pressure on younger people regarding jobs that will certainly hurt pay/security. I don't think the next generation will be better off than their parents.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:59 AM   #6
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I don't think the next generation will be better off than their parents.
That's what many were saying of our generation when I graduated college in the mid '70s. When I think about family & friends our age, I think it runs about 1/2 & 1/2. YMMV.
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:14 PM   #7
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Its hard to make generational comparisons. People in the 60s may have had it better in employment, salary and pensions but look at the lifestyles. In the 60s people live in 1200 square foot homes with one car and a stay at home mom. Today we have so much more and at the same time expect a lot more. In the early 60s my grandfather had a heart attack at home. There was no 911 system. It took him 45 minutes to get to a hospital, by then he was dead. We all take so much for granted but it's the results of a lot of people working hard to improve things for everybody. It's not all just about a bigger paycheck.
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:15 PM   #8
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That's what many were saying of our generation when I graduated college in the mid '70s. When I think about family & friends our age, I think it runs about 1/2 & 1/2. YMMV.
There are a lot of different ways to define "better off" as well. Not all of them are measured in terms of annual income, net worth or the amount of "stuff" we have.
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:15 PM   #9
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There are a lot of different ways to define "better off" as well. Not all of them are measured in terms of annual income, net worth or the amount of "stuff" we have.
While true, it's usually what people mean and it can be quantified.
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:30 PM   #10
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I look around here at Mega Corp and I don't see any 63 year olds let alone someone approaching 70.
There's a lot of rationalization going on when I hear my coworkers saying they'll be here until at least 67.
While I like my "job/what ever it is they pay me for" I don't see one minute after 59 1/2 working. At this point I'm still planning on a gracefull exit at 58.
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:43 PM   #11
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I don't think the next generation will be better off than their parents.
TJ
Oh, I'm sure the next generation will be FAR better off than the last. Global incomes are on a tremendous upward slope, there are millions of families in Asia and Latin America who are enjoying clean running water, adequate nutrition, and night-time illumination for the very first time. It's a huge success story and we should celebrate it.
Oh, but in the "developed" world we might see a regression in living standards for a few generations.
Be "citizens of the world" and the situation looks very rosy!
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:05 PM   #12
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Oh, I'm sure the next generation will be FAR better off than the last. Global incomes are on a tremendous upward slope, there are millions of families in Asia and Latin America who are enjoying clean running water, adequate nutrition, and night-time illumination for the very first time. It's a huge success story and we should celebrate it.
Oh, but in the "developed" world we might see a regression in living standards for a few generations.
Be "citizens of the world" and the situation looks very rosy!
If someone could come up with an economic strategy that would allow the developed world to at least "hold serve" on their standard of living while the emerging economies begin to grow more prosperous, said person should get the Nobel Prize for both Peace and Economics. Unfortunately it's hard not to feel like it's closer to zero-sum than that. It's not truly zero sum as the overall prosperity of the "average world citizen" is increasing, but it feels that way when you're not quite keeping up and when it feels like their gain is your loss.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 09-07-2012, 05:10 PM   #13
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If someone could come up with an economic strategy that would allow the developed world to at least "hold serve" on their standard of living while the emerging economies begin to grow more prosperous, said person should get the Nobel Prize for both Peace and Economics.
That would sure ease the pain on our end, but it's hard to make the case that it would be better, or that we deserve the special treatment.. If Mr Smith in the US has $10,000 of disposable funds, he's likely to find that the highest use is to buy himself a Lexus SUV instead of a Honda SUV. The same $10K spent by Chinese or Colombian peasants might buy 1200 solar-charged reading lamps so kids in 1200 families can study at night, or to dig 3 wells for villages, or to allow 20 families to buy a small motorcycle so they can get to the city. Any of those uses increases the world's "total happiness" a lot more than Mr Smith's Lexus SUV vs. a Honda SUV.
And the same case can be made within a country--lower-income folks probably get more marginal utility for each dollar earned. As long as everyone is actually earning the money by performing a service valued by others in a free market, the whole thing works for everyone's benefit.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:29 PM   #14
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That would sure ease the pain on our end, but it's hard to make the case that it would be better, or that we deserve the special treatment.. If Mr Smith in the US has $10,000 of disposable funds, he's likely to find that the highest use is to buy himself a Lexus SUV instead of a Honda SUV. The same $10K spent by Chinese or Colombian peasants might buy 1200 solar-charged reading lamps so kids in 1200 families can study at night, or to dig 3 wells for villages, or to allow 20 families to buy a small motorcycle so they can get to the city. Any of those uses increases the world's "total happiness" a lot more than Mr Smith's Lexus SUV vs. a Honda SUV.
And the same case can be made within a country--lower-income folks probably get more marginal utility for each dollar earned. As long as everyone is actually earning the money by performing a service valued by others in a free market, the whole thing works for everyone's benefit.
Actually the Chinese don't spend most of their money at all. Because they have no pension system like social security, most Chinese save upwards of 60% or their income.

The Chinese government is worried about this contracting their economy, they are considering a National Pension Program to get the money flowing. If you don't have the masses of people spending money, the capitalistic system doesn't work at all.

Having all the money in the hands of a few, does not move markets. The rich can only eat so many steaks, drive only 1 luxury car at a time and only sleep in 1 house a night.

The only thing that made America Great is a Strong Middle Class with the masses spending money.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:01 PM   #15
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The only thing that made America Great is a Strong Middle Class with the masses spending money.
There are a lot of things that make America great. Our workers remain the most productive in the world (producing more goods per manhour than any other country). Increasing labor productivity is the ultimate source of growth in GDP per capita (a good measure of national wealth).
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:05 PM   #16
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The Chinese government is worried about this contracting their economy, they are considering a National Pension Program to get the money flowing. If you don't have the masses of people spending money, the capitalistic system doesn't work at all.

The only thing that made America Great is a Strong Middle Class with the masses spending money.
True. But if you have a central bank deciding the cost of money and keeping 'failed' businesses afloat, you don't have a capitalistic economy either.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:27 PM   #17
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There are a lot of things that make America great. Our workers remain the most productive in the world (producing more goods per manhour than any other country). Increasing labor productivity is the ultimate source of growth in GDP per capita (a good measure of national wealth).
From my simplistic approach - We are more productive because we have had more assets and wealth to back us up. I look back to high school where the rich kids who had cars were way ahead of us in many respects.
Now if I were to go to my class reunion what would be the outcome? Desire and apptitude will probably prevail
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:43 PM   #18
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I saw very few 60 plus in manufacturing. Most of the older guys/gals were complaining about their various body parts. Such a hard profession on the knees and back.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:14 PM   #19
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The trend in my profession (law) is for people to retire or be pushed out earlier. The oldest person in my office is 56 and there are only three who are over 50. The push to work ever longer hours and the endlessly increasing amounts of red tape and admin that we have to deal with take their toll on most of us.

10 pay days to go.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:36 PM   #20
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Most people at my former job left between 55 and 60 if they had the choice. Many got laid off before they got there or quit. Most seem to get to 55 then start thinking about retirement and in a few years they do it. I left the first day I could at 55. Actually I was a little under 55 but the rules allowed it.
In general as you got older if you were not upper middle management you got ranked down and no more pay raises after your late 40's.
Some people did not see this and continued to put in long hours in hopes of promotion instead of working their numbers for retirement. I don't think they got a very good return on their investment.
Their lifestyles were often higher than they could really support so it took a while for them to admit they needed to cut back to retire.

I think the key reason people work into old age is they do not have investments that can generate income to match their lifestyle. Many rationalize that they need to be productive ect. But its really just money.
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