After his concession speech last night, Gov. Romney joined a group that grew in size over the Great Recession: older, unemployed Americans. Granted, Gov. Romney’s been unemployed for a number of years now, and it’s not like he needs a job. But, work with us here — what if Romney wasn’t super rich and didn’t have investments galore, what would he find at the corner of 65 and out-of-work?
Rich Morin says, first off, 65 is the new 45.
“They just aren’t as wore out as my father was when he was 65,” says Morin, a senior editor at the Pew Research Center. Pew surveyed older workers, and Morin says a majority of those surveyed said they worked because they wanted to, not because they had to.
And, he says, if you find yourself without a job at 65, “you’re going to be mentally active, physically able, and there’s only so much golf you can play. That gets old…The question is, are there jobs for them to get?”
Richard Johnson, director of the program on retirement policy at the Urban Institute has an answer to that question. “While older workers are less likely to lose their jobs than younger people,” says Johnson, “when they do become unemployed it takes them a really long time to find work.”
Johnson says more than half of the unemployed workers 65 and older haven’t had a job for at least six months. And if you don’t have a college degree, are African American or Latino, your chances of finding work at 65 are even lower.
So, let’s say you’ve decided to stop looking for a job, and you’re considering retirement. Cathy Weatherford, the president of the Insured Retirement Institute, says the first thing you must ask is: “Do you have guaranteed income every month to help you meet your fixed expenses?” Weatherford says Americans, especially baby boomers, are over-reliant on Social Security and haven’t saved enough for retirement.
“If you and your spouse are now 65, there’s a 50 percent chance that one of you will live to age 92 and a 25 percent chance that one of you will live to be 97,” says Weatherford. She adds that you should hold off as long as you can before dipping into Social Security because you could have 30 more years of life — and expenses — to look forward to.