Imagine being laid off in your 50’s and 60’s when you’re just about to retire and how daunting it would be to start looking for a new job and going for interviews at that stage of your life.
It completely upends your retirement plans and your thoughts would likely be;
“I don’t want to job hunt at my age and It’ll be hard to find a new job that pays what my old one did.”
This is more so if you’ve spend years climbing the corporate ladder and you may even be an expert in your field.
According to a study conducted in December 2018 by researchers at ProPublica and the Urban Institute, more than 50% of workers experience an employer related involuntary job separation after 50. And usually if they do find a job afterwards it is at a much lower income. The research also found that only 16% of people in the study were still working at 65.
Regardless of the reason or if ageism is in play, it can have disastrous financial consequences for many people. Dipping into savings so much earlier than planned can take a huge toll on finances.
Economics professor at Stony Brook University David Wiczer says that workers who are over 56 years old earn an average of 27% less in their new job after they have remained unemployed for at least one month.
That is why he recommends “getting back on the horse as soon as you fall off”. Take a less than perfect job if you have to but get re-employed soon.
Don’t be too despondent and think all is lost. Remember most employees don’t last 10 years in one job regardless of their age so a 50-plus person with maturity and experience should have more to offer than a 25-year-old who may not appreciate the job as much.
Other important things to do while job hunting at this stage in life are to adjust your budget and assess your savings, spend less and take stock of what you have saved up so far. Study your cash flow and reassess any assets that you might have.
In addition you can also take this time to upgrade some of your basic skills, take a short course in digital marketing or social media marketing for example, don’t be afraid to rebrand yourself.
Alternatively you can opt to start a consulting business, the knowledge you have gained over the years will hold you in good stead and can serve as a valuable resource. This also prevents long unemployment gaps in your portfolio and gives you a chance to stay active in your field.
Lastly consider working at a less stressful or lower paying job for a couple of years longer than initially planned so you still make what you need to retire but work a little longer to compensate for the lay off or a bigger earning capacity.
Whatever you do, don’t give up, there is plenty to offer the job market even past middle age and beyond provided you have the capacity, knowledge and know-how.