One of the oldest jokes known to man is, as someone gets older, that person saying, “Retirement? What’s that? I’ll be working until the day I die and probably beyond!” If you want, you can add, “They’ll come dig me up and say oh no you don’t! You still got bills to pay!” for extra emphasis.
So, just like every generation thinks it created everything, millennials and Generation Zers are complaining that old people are staying in jobs too long and keeping them from moving up in the world and getting rich. Speaking as an “old worker,” I got bad news for them on both of those fronts.
The Associated Press recently did a poll asking if having older workers staying in the workforce was a good or bad thing. Overall, 39% said it was a good thing, 29% said it was a bad thing and 30% said it didn’t make any difference. No word on what the other two percent thought. None of the above, I’d guess.
When you break it down to those between the ages of 18-49, 39 percent thought us old fogies hanging around was a bad idea while only 30 percent thought it was a good idea. Once again, 30% thought it doesn’t make any difference.
When you asked us oldsters 50 and above, 50% think it’s a good idea (symmetry), only 19% thought it was bad and, for a triple dunk, 30 percent think it makes no difference.
Not sure about that 19%. They must have a few dollars stashed away and think they have it covered. Poor fools.
When I first hit this planet, back when you pumped your gas out of actual dinosaurs, the retirement age was 62 and the average life expectancy was 67. Surely, the thinking went, if you were given a small Social Security check every month, you could make it a lousy five years without ending up calling a box your permanent residence.
Things have changed. The retirement age is now 67, but if you really want all the benefits, you’ll make it to 70. Yes, you can still retire at 62 and start claiming benefits, but you’ll leave, I don’t know, millions of dollars on the table. You can check that for yourself.
And yes, you can retire at any age, but that’s reserved for those super smart people who chose a rich family. I can’t believe I decided to go with a poor family! Stupid!
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that last year 20% of those 65 and older were looking for work or actively working last year. That’s up about 12% from two decades ago. Not a huge leap, but it’s a leap nobody wants to see happen.
Income is a driving factor in how you feel about cranky old people taking charming young people’s jobs. If you make a lot of money, say $100,000 a year or more, you think losers who don’t have any money should be forced to retire so their kids can have your job.
If you barely make anything, $34,000 or less, you’re OK with people working as long as they need to. Because, you know, you’ll be working until they put you in the grave. And then they’ll come dig you up and make you pay more!
But Moody Analytics (I don’t know what they are) said there’s no evidence old people are keeping young people out of jobs. In fact, if the old people are keeping anybody out of jobs, it is middle-aged Generation Xers who would now be moving into those jobs.
I’m part of Generation X, one of the first ones, and now I finally know why I don’t have a house on the lake and a house on the beach for winter time. I should have known better than to trust anybody over 30.
But it’s all a moot point. Some scientists are convinced humanity will meet the beginning of its end by 2050 and there were will be very few, if any of us, left by the start of the 22nd century.
I’m fine with that. I’ll be 83 in 2050, just about ready to retire, and it’d be nice to not have to worry about how I’m gonna make it. And it’d also keep you all from going on without me. I don’t trust you all left on your own.