When 52% of older workers are pushed out of their jobs, working longer is not a viable choice. The stark truth is that a significant share of older workers — age 55-64 — are not anywhere near being on track to afford retirement. The median retirement account balance for older workers is only $15,000. Even the highest income workers — those earning over $200,000 per year who are in the top ten percent of the income distribution — do not have enough money to retire and maintain their standard of living. Their median account balance is under a year’s salary at $200,000 and 15% of the highest earners have no retirement plan except Social Security.
For nearly 20 years, the advice to older people has been to make up for inadequate retirement wealth by working longer. Yet, from 2008 to 2014, at least 52% of retirees over 55 left their last job involuntarily as a result of direct job loss (they were laid off or their business closed or changed ownership); they felt they were pushed out so they quit; their health deteriorated; or they had to leave work to take care of a sick family member.
So what can be done about it?