Because shuffeboard is a death sentence, that's why
Sixty-five is the normal retirement age, but many Americans are working much later in life, and it's not just because they need the money.
The number of workers who are 75 and older has skyrocketed by 76.7% in the past two decades, according to research by the AARP Public Policy Institute. "We[*] are living longer, healthier lives," says Kerry Hannon, author of Great Jobs for Everyone 50+. "And the types of work that people do is not as labor intensive as it was in our parents' generation." ...
While the 75-plus group of workers has jumped, it's still a small percentage of the American labor force. It represented 7.6% last year, up from 4.3% in 1990.
But there might be more 75-plus workers if it were easier for them to keep their jobs. "I really love my work, and I feel quite useful," says Judge John J. Driscoll, a juvenile court judge in Westmoreland County, Pa. But because he turned 70 last year, he now faces mandatory retirement.
Instead of quietly retiring in January, Driscoll joined five other Pennsylvania judges in a lawsuit seeking to have the right to continue working past age 70. The case, filed in November, claims that Pennsylvania's mandatory retirement provision discriminates against people on the basis of age.
It's hard to know how many older workers are also forced to retire. But there is a growing number of older Americans who are not retired and are in search of a job. The number of unemployed Americans age 75 and older increased from 11,000 in 1990 to 75,000 in 2011, according to AARP.
Some might have lost their jobs during the recession and haven't been able to find another. "The longer you have been out of the labor force, the less likely you are to come back in," says Sara Rix, senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute. "There is the question about skills, whether you have what employers want because technology has kept changing while you've been out of work."
American who are 75 and older tend to have certain types of jobs. For example, 25% have professional occupations, such as doctors and lawyers, while another 25% have jobs in retail trades, Rix says.
Older Americans in search of jobs should consider growing fields, such as health, education and not-profit organizations, Hannon says. "All kinds of small businesses need people with expertise," she says. "Then you can have a part-time gig with flexible schedules."
Well, I plan to work 'til I drop, hopefully blogging! (Which is one of many reasons for the site relaunch, which created new forms of writing for me, and others, to do).
That said, it's a shame if by working I "take away" a job from a young person who desperately needs one. The Social Security eligibility age should be reduced to 60 (and benefits made neutral, as a simple matter of equity). And one little stated reason there should be a Jbbs Guarantee -- besides the "market state" barbarity of regulating the economy by throwing people out of work, killing some predictable percentage of them -- is to that truly innovating small businesses wouldn't be so hard to start. We all hear the success stories about starting a business with a handful of maxed out credit cards and no health insurance, but why on earth does the country make it so hard? As some sort of test of character?
NOTE * Actually, "we" is not entirely true:
One of the most basic indicators of well-being is life expectancy. Analysts have long recognized the powerful association between personal income and expected life spans. People with higher incomes tend to live longer than people with lower incomes. Statistical tabulations suggest that the relationship is nonlinear. A $10,000 increase in annual income does more to lift the life expectancy of someone who lives on a meager income than it does to boost the life span of someone who is already well off. This suggests that transferring $10,000 a year from someone who is rich to someone who is poor should lift the expected life span of the poor recipient more than it hurts the life span of the rich donor. It therefore seems logical to expect that a more egalitarian income distribution would lift average life expectancy.