Article: 'I'm too young to retire': What forced these workers to retire

ncbill

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From health issues to age discrimination many examples of why everyone needs to strive to be ready for early retirement no matter their vocation or how long they plan to work:

'I'm too young to retire': What forced these workers to retire before they were ready/

On a personal note the last relative I buried had refinanced their home on a 15 year mortgage in their early 50s, planning to work until it was paid off.

So, naturally, their entire department was outsourced less than a decade later...they had to cash in their pension to make it to age 62 for SS.

Also had to scramble to refinance to a 30 year mortgage & later had to add a HELOC to cover lumpy expenses.

By doing is they managed to stay in their home of ~35 years, but 'enjoyed' a very lean retirement until dying of terminal cancer (only a few months after diagnosis) in their early 70s.
 
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My company would hire Seacat in a heartbeat. He'd have to move to Florida.

Mike
 
A good message for those working towards retirement. There are circumstances that come up and can alter your plan.
 
Anyone over the age of 50 had a target on their back in my last workplace. If you didn't get RIF'd, they'd just squeeze you on compensation and advancement until you got the message. I finally got the message.
 
A good message for those working towards retirement. There are circumstances that come up and can alter your plan.

This right here!

There are a million things that can come up, change, etc.... Your company changes, your health changes, your desire changes, etc....

Make a plan but know it might change... and ENJOY EACH DAY!
 
Anyone over the age of 50 had a target on their back in my last workplace. If you didn't get RIF'd, they'd just squeeze you on compensation and advancement until you got the message. I finally got the message.


I agree. I was passed over for raises my last 2 years at my company. In the 20 years I had been there, I lost track of how many company presidents we had.
 
This right here!

There are a million things that can come up, change, etc.... Your company changes, your health changes, your desire changes, etc....

Make a plan but know it might change... and ENJOY EACH DAY!

The article made me think about all the posts I’ve read by people looking to find affordable health insurance or justify not paying for a Medicare supplement. They say, “ I’ve always been healthy….” But health can literally change in an instant with devastating consequences. Sorta like investments where “past performance does not guarantee future results.”
 
I volunteered for a RIF at 55. Would have been laid off before 60. Looked for work for 15 months to no avail, but then calculated we can retire.
Been 7 years and have not looked back.
 
My employer had been downsizing for years. I was often in the uneviable position of cutting headcount. It was the worst part of the job.

I was always surprised of those in their early-late 50's who were surprised at their downsizing, not financially prepared, or emotionally prepared.

My advice when asked, by those of any age, was always expect to be cut, always have an up to date resume, keep your interview skills sharp, keep in touch with others in the industry. Always have a plan B and a plan C. The company could fire you or you may want to fire the company.

Those who think that the company is 'loyal' to them or believe that they cannot be replaced by someone younger, smarter, and less expensive are dreaming in la la land.

I was happily downsized. I knew it would be coming within 6-12 months. I was prepared but had more time to finanize plans that resulted in FIRE. Had our financial ducks in a row right down to knowing what the package should look like and what employment lawyer I intended to engage for the negotiation.

Never get caught with your pants down so to speak!
 
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Very sad news and a real possibility, but the article doesn't give any indication how common forced early retirement is. For all we know there are many more who get to retire on their own terms.

And while not universal by any means, I personally knew quite a few senior employees who not only let their skills become hopelessly outdated, some actively resisted any and all attempts to help them stay current enough to continue - while fully expecting generous wage increases annually. I had an engineer who expected us to maintain our old process control systems for him as the company transitioned to an entirely new platform. Obviously we couldn't, he eventually quit, and blamed us for having to retire before he'd planned. :crazy: We don't know if that might have been at play in any of the stories in the link. If you're a poor performer, and well paid, you're asking for trouble at any age.

I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, but that doesn't factor into my plans. Just suggesting to keep articles like these in perspective...
 
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I filled an important niche with my next-to-last company, so they were willing to pay me. Within a couple of years, though, it became evident to me I was one of their higher paid workers, and at age 56 I knew there would likely be a target on my back. By 58 they had let me go. It took several months to land another position, but in that time I realized I was in a fine position to retire. It was good, though, to leave on my own terms with that last employer. Between my 2 kids and their spouses, only my son in law is in the white collar world, in a very high level position; I've had talks with him to never presume it is forever.
 
A good message for those working towards retirement. There are circumstances that come up and can alter your plan.

That's how I always felt about selling vested stock options. I had lots of friends who's plan was to just hold them until their expired. But if you were let go, you only had 90 days to exercise the options.

I'd often remind them that the company may choose to let them go at a time when the stock was down,

Sadly, that happened to a bunch of people.
 
Very sad news and a real possibility, but the article doesn't give any indication how common forced early retirement is. For all we know there are many more who get to retire on their own terms.

And while not universal by any means, I personally knew quite a few senior employees who not only let their skills become hopelessly outdated, some actively resisted any and all attempts to help them stay current enough to continue - while fully expecting generous wage increases annually. I had an engineer who expected us to maintain our old process control systems for him as the company transitioned to an entirely new platform. Obviously we couldn't, he eventually quit, and blamed us for having to retire before he'd planned. :crazy: We don't know if that might have been at play in any of the stories in the link.

I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, but that doesn't factor into my plans. Just suggesting to keep articles like these in perspective...


So true. Be a life longer learner is not just a saying. It is a necessity these days for most workers. Especially those in knowledge based jobs.

And be flexible, adaptable. Never be afraid to stretch yourself.

As above I have seen a few who were stuck in a rut. As their skills became outdated or less in demand their willingness to change and adapt declined. Others I knew embraced changed, put effort into learning new skills and approaches. They survived and florished.
 
I tell my kids to find something absolutely essential to the company and be the best at it. Then find something else absolutely essential to the company and be the best at it too. No guarantees, but it worked for me.

I do have empathy for the people who are stricken with some disease and can no longer work in their career field.
 
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The article really does highlight how sometimes Stuff Happens. I can take credit for learning from my Dad, who was put out to pasture in his mid-50s (he and Mom had saved and invested and were always LBYM's). They did fine and I noted how freeing it was not to have your well-being chained to an employer who could terminate you at will if the math didn't work out for them.

It also reminds me that I was spared some of the awful Stuff Happens things the people in the article endured. Where I am is partly luck or the grace of God- your choice.
 
Ouch. I'm in a blessed phase of life, and that article reminds me of how life happens, tragedy happens. At the drop of a hat everything could change. Maybe not specifically liver cancer, divorce, or an ax attack. But reasonablely something just as devastating.

What makes me wonder is why an older gentleman who sounds very talented can't get a job? It sounds like companies value older employees less. Which, whatever the reasons there are, means there is some rule somewhere that you have to pay them what you pay someone you value more. Thus, you might as we hire the 25-year-old.

My company decided recently that they value my department and the similar, neighboring department differently: for the first time in decades, employees in the two departments stopped making the same hourly wage when we got a 2% wage increase and they got a 6%. This resulted in outrage, but no one has quit yet. Just complained.

Their reasons for it can be whatever--they still have the workforce needed. So just like with the aged gentleman, what's stopping the hiring company figuring out a wage number that they do believe matches the value of him as an employee, and then proposing it? Don't tell me they don't want to hire him at, say, 70% of what they pay a 25-year-old (who's statistically going to jump ship in 5 years anyway). Surely there's somewhere on the wage scale an offer neither side would want to refuse, yet I never hear of it.
 
A lot of great thoughts here. I agree on making yourself indispensable. Be willing to take on multiple roles, and do a good job at execution. I found that I didn't have to perform at 100% of my capability or effort, because at 50%, I exceeded the productivity of most of my coworkers. I managed so many projects, my local managers assumed I must always be busy and scrambling. I must have been extraordinarily efficient compared to my coworkers.

I was always worried about becoming homeless, and I wanted to ER. So, I took a 'mercenary' approach to w$rk. I took the best paying jobs, moved a lot when required, and took on increasing levels of responsibility. You never know when there's a downturn in the economy, or your health goes south. I was fortunate to maintain continuous employment from 6 weeks after graduation to my ER at 30 years.
 
I think the article is more common than we here on the E-R forum are aware of. Most of us voluntarily left employment to retire early. Certainly for most of us making that decision was supported by having a good plan and enough savings so that it could be done.

The one thing that the article discusses, and I believe is very real, is ageism and how older workers are pushed out. Could those article people have done better preparing for the unforeseen events? Probably, but there are many people in the population with their same plan to work into mid-late 60's.

One thing I did not see in the article, and wonder why some of the people did not pursue contract work, instead of trying for new full time employment.
 
Anyone over the age of 50 had a target on their back in my last workplace. If you didn't get RIF'd, they'd just squeeze you on compensation and advancement until you got the message. I finally got the message.

One of my co-workers and I were talking about this yesterday. I'm a government contractor, and our contract usually goes up for renewal every five years. Usually, if a new company wins the contract, they just take on all the existing employees and it's no big deal, although sometimes, if they're gunning for someone, they'll use that as an excuse to lay them off.

However, this time around, I've heard about some budget cuts on the horizon. And our contract is up for renewal at the end of the year. Normally, we would hear some kind of communication about what's going on by now, but so far this year, crickets.

I've never been laid off in my life, but my coworker was, about 20+ years ago. Apparently everyone on her project was let go, and it just got absorbed by another group.

If everything falls into place, I'm planning to retire in about a year, so I'm not too worried. But she is. She's either 61 or 62, and single, so she doesn't have a spouse's income to fall back on. I don't know her full financial situation, but she says she plans to work until 70, to get full SS.

She's really scared, at the prospects of being a 60-something, single woman, suddenly having to look for a new job. And admittedly, that's one prospect that keeps me on the OMY treadmill. I have a feeling that if I was to retire and then, for whatever reason wanted/needed to go back to work, I'm sure it would be a challenge finding a job that gave me the same combination of pay, benefits, and flexibility.
 
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If you look at the various surveys showing the financial state of families, these stories are likely more "typical" that what many on this site have achieved. I know more people than had these sort of things happen to them than were able to choose when to retire, particularly in their 50s. It still sticks in my mind one Megacorp worker sending out a mass email begging to find a job after one of Megacorp's layoffs. She was just 10 months from qualifying for a full pension and said she would move anywhere for any job for the next several years. She was not able to get an offer.

What struck me in several cases were how their retirement plans hinged on things they planned to do late in their careers -.e.g. sell houses after they retired or start building up savings late in their careers. I am *not* blaming them, it took older workers about a year when I was in my mid-20's to starting saving seriously for any future retirement then, otherwise I would have just assumed my pension plan would take care of it (and that would have been a disaster).

I did see examples of workers not being willing to gain new skills. Again I was fortunate o work in an IT environment that gave me free access to many mainframe, network, and distributed environments, and I took advantage of it, even building my home lab to run and learn many technologies. On several occasions it saved me from being a layoff victim.

I knew in my late 40s that I was among the highest paid technical consultants in my organization, and that worried me, as I knew that could be a target come layoff time. I told my wife that my job was safe only six months at a time. I certainly was keeping my figures crossed as I approached my retirement eligibility, as so many seemed to be layoff victims just before reaching that date. But I also lucked out in deciding early in my career not to burn bridges, as well as treating my position not to promote myself, but to help others, particularly the younger ones who were new in the business. I was always a good feeling when I was told how the younger folks on a project requested that I be added to the project.

The health thing is just a wildcard. You can play the odds to avoid things but there are no guarantees. And taking care of older parents - in a sad way, 3 of our 4 parents dying before we retired, and being able to spread the care across many siblings, helped us be able to choose to retire on our terms. It is a mixed feeling.
 
During my working career, the companies I’ve worked for have closed. Living in a HCOL state probably was part of the cause. I saved what I could while working and always LBYM. I had the mortgage paid off in 17 years and hit my initial FI number 5 years later.

My advice- have your financial goals setup so can hit them by the time you are 50, because it’s not easy to get another job after then.
 
One thing I did not see in the article, and wonder why some of the people did not pursue contract work, instead of trying for new full time employment.

One factor may be that the majority of folks who get laid off or fired at those ages are hoping to find work that pays at least as much as they were making. For some it may be that they need to be earning as least as much, based on their lifestyle and expenses. There is also the mental aspect of now having to work for less that can be challenging.

Unless they have unique skills, contract work rarely pays as much. For example, my Megacorp was willing to hire some folks that had been laid off back as contractors, doing essentially their same job, but at 2/3 the pay and zero benefits. This type of thing is not a rare occurrence.
 
One factor may be that the majority of folks who get laid off or fired at those ages are hoping to find work that pays at least as much as they were making. For some it may be that they need to be earning as least as much, based on their lifestyle and expenses. There is also the mental aspect of now having to work for less that can be challenging.

Unless they have unique skills, contract work rarely pays as much. For example, my Megacorp was willing to hire some folks that had been laid off back as contractors, doing essentially their same job, but at 2/3 the pay and zero benefits. This type of thing is not a rare occurrence.

Wow...it's disturbing to hear that contract workers actually get LESS pay in many scenarios. I was counseled decades ago that 1099 workers should always strive to bill hourly rates that were at least 1/3 more, if not higher than their w-2 counterparts, to compensate for paying double the social security taxes plus other self-incurred costs employees don't. It seems crazy and sad that a 1099 person would earn less per hour than a w-2 employee.
 
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