The Four Vulnerabilities of the Over 50 Crowd (and what to do about it)
If you’ve over 50, there’s a good chance you suffer from one or more of these four vulnerabilities. You didn’t necessarily do anything to make yourself vulnerable. Then again you may not have done anything to protect yourself either.
Many of us didn’t save enough. We know that. And unfortunately, the single greatest factor in wealth accumulation, time, is not on our side any longer. That gigantic nest egg is mathematically out of reach for some of us. It just isn’t going to happen. So, what can we do about it? Are you sitting down?
We can adjust our thinking. We can pretend we never heard that the retirement age is supposed to be 65. Besides, that is a made up, BS number from the last century which was chosen at a time when people only lived to 70.
We can work longer, at least until 75. It’s no big deal. You’re probably going to live to be 95 or 100. Isn’t 20 years of “retirement” enough?
Working ten years longer combats the lack of savings two ways. First, it allows whatever money you do have to compound. Not to mention you can potentially add to the total during that time. Second, whatever money you do end up with at 75 needs to last 10 years less.
It’s not the story you were told. The story changed. So what.
There’s a perception that those of us over 50 are not up on the latest technology. And while that isn’t exactly true, what is true is that younger folks tend to be much earlier adopters of new technology. They jump right on it while we get around to it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We can stay on top of the latest technology, even if we don’t use it immediately. How do we do that? By plugging into the matrix. All you have to do is sign up for a handful of bleeding edge email lists like TechCrunch, Product Hunt, Mashable or FastCompany.
Then, every day, just go through the emails and can the headlines. If an article seems interesting, read it. Before you know it FOMO will no longer be in your vocabulary. (It may not be in it right now).
When we were younger it was keeping up with the Jones’. Now that we’re older it’s keeping up with the Gen Y’ers. We can do this.
If you’ve been a good little boy or girl, played by the rules, kept you nose to the grind stone and maybe even kissed a little butt along the way, you just may find yourself employed today with a great big salary. Making the big bucks. The kind of money that gets you laid off first in a downturn because the savings are just too good.
The thing you worked hardest for is the thing that makes you most vulnerable. It doesn’t seem fair. It isn’t. So what?
What can you do about it? Ask for a pay cut? Nah. You need to start asking yourself, without any prompting from anyone, how you can add value to what you’re already doing. How can you make yourself so valuable that nobody would ever consider letting you go?
You need to ask that question, answer that question and then act on it and make it a reality. If you’re not sure how to add value, some of the best ways are to increase sales or reduce expenses. Look around and ask yourself, where can I find a customer or where can I save some money.
Is it real? Probably. When you apply for a job you may be passed over for someone younger because the perception is you’re getting ready to retire (ha), you’re not keeping up with technology (now you are) and you’ll expect a higher salary (which you now know how to justify).
The only foolproof way to overcome ageism is to play in an arena where it mostly doesn’t exist. In the full-time job arena, ageism exists. But, in the freelancer arena, not so much. When some company is looking to hire a freelancer for a specific task or project, they want the absolute best person with the best fit of skills and experience who is most likely to get the job done successfully and on time. Since they aren’t making a long-term commitment, rarely do they consider your age. They just want the best, and if you’re it, then they’ll choose you. Hell, they probably won’t even know your age. You may never meet the client in person.
So, there you have. The four vulnerabilities of the over 50 crowd and what to do about it. So, what are you waiting for?
Originally published at Too Young To Retire.