Put out to pasture too soon

by Rocky Mountain Stepmom

Well, this is depressing.

If You’re Over 50, Chances Are the Decision to Leave a Job Won’t be Yours

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106 thoughts on “Put out to pasture too soon

  1. A female friend and I were just discussing the need to maintain our appearance and appear somewhat youthful due to age discrimination – which includes covering the gray in our hair (I’m blond so luckily it blends in so far). My friend is in the process of a divorce and needs to go back to work so this is a particularly pressing issue for her unfortunately.

    I feel like this is something that affects women more (at least outside the tech sector) – but maybe that’s just my perception? But I feel like men as they age are assumed to have more gravitas and expertise while older women are viewed as irrelevant.

  2. My father, father in law, and bff’s father all became semi permanently unemployed in their 50s. One with a PhD, one a trade worker, one white collar. All probably could have moved for better opportunity but were unwilling. This has always loomed large in my life plan – there will be no big salary at 60, no bonuses. I hope to have most of our savings goals complete by 50 so that we can live on just what we make then.

    I’ve always thought this hurts men most; most women in my world have jobs that are more trade like, so easier to stay employed: nurse, teacher, doctor. If you can show up, someone will hire you.

  3. I have faced two displacements already both from reputed employers, one foreseen and the other not. In both cases I landed new jobs within the severance period, so there is no resume gap but I feel my career trajectory would have been better.
    I hope we can send both our kids off to college without job loss. I would prefer a different line of work, if I were out of a job at 50. Going through repeated lay offs in the same line of work, would make me miserable.

  4. There is definite ageism in the work place. I have experienced it with minimal negative consequences. But for my SO it resulted in being laid off at age 60.5 and not being able to get a comparable job. He took his social security at age 62.

    I think the issue is multifaceted. I think older workers have historically thought after they hit 50 they are “safe” in their career. This seems to now be the age when you are most vulnerable. In SO’s case, he complained about certain training opportunities and internal transfers being denied. He also knew the company was trying to replace the product he worked on, but thought that because it had such a large customer base, the transition to a new product would take more time. IMO, these were clear signs that he needed to take action. He did, but not soon enough.

    In one case, I was able to easily transfer out of the department. In the other case, I ended up initially taking a fairly significant pay cut to move organizations quickly. It was worth it because the boss was successful at forcing people out by setting them up to fail and then firing them because they could not “do the job”, so HR would report that the person was ineligible for retire, making it very hard to get the next job.

    I know there is a change coming in my department in the next 6-9 months that may affect my continued employment in my part-time (20 hr/week) job. I started a new part-time job this month that is 1 hour a week now, but it is getting my foot in the door and has the potential to grow to 20 hrs a week. I’m trying to plan ahead to keep this income stream going until my DD#1 is finished with college.

  5. I’ve always thought this hurts men most;

    I think that could be true. Men are often the ones who are typically called on to “focus on their career.” Which often means management. But, the higher you go, the fewer jobs that are available if you get laid off. If, for example, you have 1 CIO, 2 Directors, 4 mangers and 80 employees in a given metro area, there are going to be 80x more job openings for regular employees compared to CIOs.

    I was reading in one of my industry blogs that there is a big problem with middle managers getting laid off and having a very hard time getting a new job. I recall two jobs ago they were looking to cut the fat so they laid off a bunch of managers and directors. That seems like a big risk going that route. And you could be right that the “reporting analyst” who stayed an analyst due to child care needs or whatever is in a stronger position.

  6. Sadly, I am not surprised. Age discrimination is illegal, but targeting higher-earners is, and since the two tend to be aligned, it is not at all surprising that the older folks bear the brunt of layoffs.

    We have gone through several layoffs/plant shutdowns, so as much as I think we are in solid positions now, I know better than to never say never. The one thing that I have learned, though, is to follow the money — not in terms of your own personal pay, but to be in the job that is bringing in clients/business for the company instead of on the “expense” side. I mean, I would hope that DH would be safe because he has critical technical expertise, but the reality is that the people who make those kinds of decisions don’t have the technical expertise of their own to understand just how critical his is. OTOH, the fact that the group he manages has gotten $X in contracts, and that $X has gotten bigger every year he’s been there, is the kind of thing those guys do care about.

    Then again, it’s advanced tech, and there are always corporate politics and changes of “strategy” and such, so you never know when the whole thing is going to fall apart. Which brings me back to “never say never” and explains why I was so focused on saving saving saving for our first decade or so after we moved back here. And why I was so, so happy a few years ago to realize that we wouldn’t have to uproot ourselves if it all happened again.

  7. “Many Americans assume that by the time they reach their 50s they’ll have steady work, time to save and the right to make their own decisions about when to retire.”

    I don’t assume this – I may be even overly paranoid about age discrimination, but I feel like it’s already happening, and I’m only in my early 40’s. I am very worried about it – it is a big focus of my career decisions right now. This is also one of the main reasons why we are saving aggressively & keeping fixed costs low while in our 40’s. At least DS should be out of college by the time I’m 55, so I won’t have kids in college when I’m in my 60’s like the guy in the article.

  8. I agree with SSM on appearance of women. Two women I know decided to “go gray” and report that both people they know and people they met treat them differently. Friend 1 made a big deal about how she was going to try this new “gray hair” trend and did get help from her colorist to get a “nice overall” gray rather than letting it grow out. She had decided to go back to a dark blonde. Several people we both know think that she dyed her “natural” hair gray and is now going back to her “natural” color after about a year.

  9. I was laid off at age 51 from an employer I had been with for over 25 years. But compared to the people featured in this article, I am lucky. I received a years’ severance and was hired after being out of work for only 7 months. My new job is in my field, pays a lot more, and I have an easier commute. The new company appears stable and I am hoping to work here until I retire.

  10. Well that’s just scary. {makes note to talk wtih DH about upping the savings rates and figuring out more pre- and post-tax solutions…}

  11. I was laid off at 45 from an employer I’d been with for just under 20 years.

    I caught on with a startup, making 15% less than before, in about 4 months, but that lasted only 6 months before I left (they really wanted a skillset different that what I possess(ed) even though I was completely honest about things during the interview process, so we parted ways). That year was fine financially between severance from job #1, startup salary, brief severance from startup.

    I was able to catch on with a ‘consulting assignment’ (euphemism for temp work) in my field quickly, but at ~45% lower than job #1. This was steady work and with some minor adjustments to our lifestyle we were ok. Not saving for retirement or college, but still ok. This was followed by a subsequent gig for a total of 1.5 years.

    Then it took me 6months to get the next assignment which lasted until I took this position 11+ years ago. When I started my pay was 15% less than job 1, 4 years later.

    But I was fortunate to join right before all the recession-causing news broke (actually the day I started was the day Merrill announced its first big write off in mortgage-backed securities) and it’s truly been great since. Compensation is below where I had projected it to be at this point, but in true portfolio management style, DW’s has grown more rapidly so we’re just fine.

    I can’t see mass layoffs hitting our business and personally I keep getting more meaty, strategic projects so I’m confident of having a way to earn my keep for a while yet. But one can never rest.

    My experiences in 2003-2007 taught me the value of networking. I’m infinitely better at it than I was pre-layoff, but still have to force myself to do it.

  12. but targeting higher-earners is, and since the two tend to be aligned, it is not at all surprising that the older folks bear the brunt of layoffs.

    I was wondering about that. As far as I know Medicare, insurers, etc. pay the same for a 25 year old nurse as a 65 year old nurse and the same for a 35 year ER doc as a 65 year old one. As a result, while you make good money as a nurse or doctor, it’s pretty much a plateau. In other jobs it seems you get raises just for being there and as a result your pay at 55 can be significantly higher than someone who is 25 despite the job providing the same value add.

  13. I see this here, but it is done infrequently in small doses, so that it does not appear obvious. If you look at all the small doses together, the trend is obvious.

    Do you think long term healthcare costs plays into this?

  14. To be clear, I did not mean long term care insurance as a product. I meant the cost that employers pay to offer health insurance to an older worker vs a younger worker.

  15. I don’t know if I believe that it is better for women or men. IME, both are targeted if they are in senior positions. At the mid level, I haven’t seem much difference either. I’ve mostly seen junior roles get wiped out by outsourcing without regard to age, although there tend to be some long-tenured employees mixed in with recent grads in those roles.

    My current industry is dominated by youth, which makes me contemplate if I should change industries again before I get to the other side of 45. But so far, the opportunities in my own company have been better than the ones I’ve gotten elsewhere. I do worry quite a bit about being downsized when I’m in my late 40’s/early 50’s which I think would be the worst time, personally. I still will really want to be making a salary close to what I am making now, but I’ll start to really run into barriers finding a new job.

  16. “In other jobs it seems you get raises just for being there and as a result your pay at 55 can be significantly higher than someone who is 25 despite the job providing the same value add.”

    I agree. Yes, there’s value in experience but the ratio of years on the job to compensation should rarely be 1:1. So don’t count on it! Made me think of this.

  17. Do you think long term healthcare costs plays into this?

    I’d be curious to know much the cost varies. Say you have a 55 yo two income couple each with their own insurance vs. one 30 year old guy with 2 kids and a pregnant stay at home wife.

  18. “Do you think long term healthcare costs plays into this?”

    I don’t know. Aren’t women of childbearing age some of the most expensive employees from a health care standpoint, as a demographic group? (of course there is discrimination there too – but I made it through that part of my career personally unscathed)

  19. Swim – I don’t think the healthcare cost trend is the key driver. A large employer I know well is self-insured and the biggest claims they’ve had to fund over the past few years are “million $ babies” (preemies or born with other substantial care needs) and cancer cases. Many of the latter for people diagnosed much younger than typical.

    I think the driver is the need to cut costs and labor/comp is the easiest was to do it. 1 – $100k person can be let go and the work spread out over the remaining 4 people and some eliminated. If the spread isn’t feasible the high earner is let go and a job gets posted for a lower grade & lower pay replacement.

  20. @Rhett – And if you are talking about family coverage – are teenage/young adult children, on average, more or less expensive than young kids? I would think that the older kids are cheaper, on average, from an insurance standpoint. But I’m just guessing.

  21. @Fred – Yes, I think the salary is the biggest driver, especially if the person has worked their way up to a high level and can be replaced by a downgraded backfill at a lower salary (and title).

  22. A big concern of mine is health insurance, especially since I’m carrying the insurance for my family. What will I do for health insurance if I can’t find a job and medicare doesn’t kick in until 65? I guess there is ACA, if it’s still around. I haven’t done enough research to understand the true cost. DH works for a small firm and insurance for a family is exhorbitant, like several thousand a month.

    I was part of a mass layoff at 49. It might have been age related but I think it had more to do with the fact that I was the only person on my team with kids, and my manager had a lot preconcieved angst about conflicting responsbilities for working mothers. Anyway, I found another job pretty quickly (thanks to a lead and recommendation from a co-worker’s husband) and I was at my new job within 6 weeks of the layoff.

    Now, at the back end of my 50’s, I am most certainly one of the older ones here. There are a few items in my safety net but I’m fully aware that even safety nets fail at times:
    –My boss is older than me, and he appreciates what I do.
    –My particular skill set is something that most people aren’t qualified to do and if they are, they don’t like to do it.
    –I do my best not to look and act like a dinosaur.
    –I maintain my professional credentials and keep up my tech skills.
    –I try to be someone that people genuinely like to work with.

    My biggest financial concern for years was being able to pay for college for all three of my kids. I recently ran the numbers . . . even if I get laid off tomorrow, I have enough sacked away so that college will be funded for the remaining two still in school. That is such a relief.

  23. In my experience, there is a big reason that management/prof women (mostly with specialized expertise or good networks) who are laid off or involuntarily retired are more able to find work quickly. More women than men quickly swallow the bitter pill of lost status and take what is available. They accept the contracting/consulting job in which they will have to sit in a cube not an office, be responsible for providing sophisticated advice and since they have no subordinates also prep the spreadsheets and slides for the C suite presentation. Or even the job that is 100% spreadsheets and slides.

  24. Meme,

    Perhaps it’s also that women are socialized to be more pleasant and agreeable than men? It sure seems like people become crankier and crankier as they age. Maybe women are just better able to keep that hidden.

  25. I was thankful both times for the unemployment checks. Even though we lead a modest lifestyle compared with our joint income, we didn’t have to make changes to things like day care and later private school. I had a discussion with a 50 something guy from BoA who was laid off in the financial crisis, his advice was not to think of private school as untouchable when prolonged job loss hits.

  26. And although I dyed my hair from 35 to 55 and that was a professional necessity, I found no issues with gray after I involuntarily left the full time workforce at 57. I was a subject expert looking for consulting work, full time work with benefits was off the table by then. I only had to find insurance for myself, since my youngest kid was 27 by then. I could have paid even more than the ACA cost for corporate post retirement coverage (not subsidized because I didn’t have the requisite years of service for the subsidy).

  27. Rhett – Perhaps for most women, but no one ever accused me of being agreeable. After the second layoff, I went into a recruiters office and he was brutal in his assessment. But he also was good at his job, and in a week found me a high level staffing job through the staffing side of the business and it was converted into a W-2 contracting job after the required year.

  28. I worry a lot about my DH. He is in the prime age group to become unemployable should he lose his current position. He is at the top of his game, with huge amounts of experience, glowing performance reviews and a reputation as the person who can both wear a quant hat and a software development hat. As long as his company is doing well, I am sure he is safe – but if they tank, which could happen since the hedge fund industry is not what it one was – I doubt he could find anything comparable. Tech is so youth driven. Since I have good insurance and tenure, I am not as worried about insurance coverage, but he makes a good bit more money than I do so we need his salary. And also, I think being forced out of the labor market would be very, very hard for him. His job, in many ways, is very intellectual and he loves it.

  29. I have seen tons of people, both men and women, forced out at 40+ who never got back into the job market, or who ended up in jobs well below their abilities. It happened to both BILs in their 40’s. It happened to several of my co-workers in industry. I also saw two cases in which women went out on maternity leave and got laid off right at the end of leave. There is just so much rank discrimination out there.

  30. Once you go on Medicare, I assume you can’t cover your kids, right? This likely doesn’t happen all that often, but with kids eligible for coverage on employer plans until age 26, I could see that being forced onto Medicare could have bad consequences for kids who have major healthcare needs and were counting on being carried on their parents plan. And how about spouses – for example, a stay at home spouse?

  31. the day I started was the day Merrill announced its first big write off in mortgage-backed securities

    Same with me only a few months earlier than that. I think I was the only one I knew who didn’t get laid off at some point between 2007 and 2009.

  32. I think about being forced out of my job late 40s/early 50s, but I try to not worry about it. If DH and I both are employed for 15 more years, our mortgage is paid and our kids are out of college. We would be able to live on one income easily but may have reduced retirement contributions. We’ve focused our savings on retirement in 401ks and IRAs. We are moving our focus on building up more savings outside of those accounts so that it is available in our early 50s.

    I try to minimize the risk of being laid off at work by being invaluable. I don’t think I’ll ever lead a big group, but I’ve consistently throughout my career been the go-to person for my boss. I like to clean up messes and make things more efficient. I like to be challenged. I make my boss’s job easier. Right now, I rank on the high end compared to my peers. This is a good reminder as I enter my 40s to make sure that I continue to push myself to be on the top end.

  33. “’Many Americans assume that by the time they reach their 50s they’ll have steady work, time to save and the right to make their own decisions about when to retire.’

    I don’t assume this”

    Oh, I don’t assume it either — never have. But I do think this is a prominent mindset. In particular, one of the recurring themes I heard growing up is that in your 20s and 30s you have a lot of costs setting up your own life (mortgage/car, plus now student loans); in your 30s and 40s and early 50s, you have kid expenses to cover and their college to save for; but that by the time you are into your 50s, those expenses start to drop off right about when you hit your peak earning years, and so you’ll have plenty of breathing room to sock a lot of money away for retirement then.

    Now, personally, I have never believed that, as it completely ignores the power of compounding. But it worked ok for my parents and grandparents, with their stable employment and pensions and such (meaning that all they needed to save was for extras over and above pension/SS). But in a world where people need to save for their own retirement AND are very likely to be un- or under-employed right when they are expecting to focus on retirement savings, it’s an extremely dangerous mindset.

  34. “But I do think this is a prominent mindset.”

    Oh I do too. I hear it when people pressure/question us about not upgrading our housing from the “starter” model. Also in that vein, is an assumption that getting a big 30 year mortgage in your 40’s for that “dream house” is no big deal because you’ll be working for 25+ more years to pay it off.

    It worked out okay for my parents too, but I certainly don’t want to count on it working for me.

  35. In the home country people are compelled to save as much as they can because pensions are no longer enough. Also retirement ages barely touch 60, with mandatory retirement from ages 55 to 58. People of my parents generation and younger are discovering that they are having much longer lives post retirement than their parents. Unlike the U.S. where there is planning for second phase of your life, home country retirees are in uncharted waters.

  36. hit your peak earning years,

    Was that ever really that common? I get the sense that if you graduated from Ohio State in 1962 you could have gotten a job at The Phone Company. It came with a pension and while you might not be in a union, so many employees were, the company tended to have a union mindset where raises and promotions were based largely on seniority.

    It sure doesn’t seem that way anymore.

  37. Rhett – I agree with your scenario but maybe it’s just a bit more nuanced. i.e. by the time you hit 45-50, (that would be 1985-1990), the kids were out of college, out of the house, mortgage done or almost done. Your career might have plateaued so your income growth was going to be 2.5-3%/yr. But your acquisitive/parenting stage was past so you could save/invest more of your net pay to pad your nest egg over the next 15-20 years. So it’d really be the prime saving years.

    (Ignoring here all the upheaval in the telecom industry which started with the breakup of AT&T and would certainly have impacted many folks in this situation).

  38. “Basically in exchange for cheaper products we gave up a lot of stability.”

    In one short sentence you captured what I have tried to articulate for years.

  39. I tried to get people interested in the Tucker Carlson debate over on last week’s political thread. I think the discussion that it caused on the conservative side is really worth following

  40. Rhett – Wasn’t the family structure coming apart more due to to social changes – women taking more control over their economic and marital situations ?
    In the home country divorce has certainly become more common especially among the more educated with steady jobs.

  41. Wasn’t the family structure coming apart more due to to social changes –

    Possibly. But the part that has been impacted by the deregulation of business and trade is certainly something we have control over.

  42. “Aren’t women of childbearing age some of the most expensive employees from a health care standpoint, as a demographic group?”

    Yes, according to a friend who works in the financial side of the medical industry.

  43. “Once you go on Medicare, I assume you can’t cover your kids, right? This likely doesn’t happen all that often, but with kids eligible for coverage on employer plans until age 26, I could see that being forced onto Medicare could have bad consequences for kids who have major healthcare needs and were counting on being carried on their parents plan.”

    That could be me. I plan to be long retired an on Medicare by the time DD hits 26. Our current plan is a combination of DD getting her own coverage, and DW retiring after me.

    “And how about spouses – for example, a stay at home spouse?”

    That’s a pretty common problem, given that it’s probably more common for the working spouse, in families with a SAHP, to be the older of the two spouses.

    I believe some retirement plans will cover spouses until they are eligible for Medicare.

  44. “That’s a pretty common problem, given that it’s probably more common for the working spouse, in families with a SAHP, to be the older of the two spouses.”

    That could be a really serious issue for people with a non working spouse

  45. My retirement plan – based on which coverage you choose – covers the retiree the same as an employee until the employee hits 65 and then becomes my Medicare Parts B & D. Your “dependents” are covered and premiums are charged based on their relationship (spouse and/or child) to the retiree and they maintain their coverage on the plan appropriate to them based on age and location. For example, DD#1 switched to the “out of state” plan because she is in college in another state. Her plan is more flexible, but a few copays are more because they don’t have the same volume to negotiate with.

    I will be under 65 if DD#2 finishes her college experience in 5 or fewer years. However, SO will have passed 75. Waiting to have kids until later allows you to build up savings on the front end (if you do), but you have very few, if any, years between them being “independent” and you turning 65.

  46. “That’s a pretty common problem, given that it’s probably more common for the working spouse, in families with a SAHP, to be the older of the two spouses.”

    The issue of health coverage is a common problem among older couples I know. Typically one of the spouse’s decision to keep working is partly based on the desire to continue employer health coverage for the other spouse or child. Although ACA or other coverage is available for them, they balk at the higher costs. In two cases the under-employed adult children used Medicaid for a while before they found jobs with benefits.

  47. On the “cost of coverage” to the employer – it depends. If you have a small enough group or a group with particular characteristics, then the insurance can adjust the rate for your demographics/health issues. If you group exceeds a certain size, then you get a more “generic” rate because (1) your workforce tends to turn over more and (2) the workforce more closely mirrors the general population.

  48. OK, this is off topic, but we have often discussed housing development and the need to build more in high cost areas, such as our lovely Westchester County. There has been a lot of new housing development but now a new wrench has been thrown into development plans – ConEd has announced they will be taking no new customers in southern Westchester after March. They say they don’t have capacity. Hmm….
    https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2019/01/18/con-edison-imposes-gas-moratorium-in-westchester-county-802490

  49. Mooshi, West coast cities are encouraging higher density and I don’t think the laws passed consider utility issues. All of the pipeline utilities- gas, water and sewer- depend heavily on density and are not easily changed.

  50. One thing I have always wondered is why a “family” health plan through an employer costs you the same no matter how many children you have. (Not sure if this is also true on the ACA exchanges, but I think it is.) Why does someone with one child pay the same as someone with six children?

  51. On topic, when I went out on my own several years ago, I thought to myself, “well, if it doesn’t work out, I can always go back to being employed.” Now, at 51, I’m realizing that that might not be realistic any more. Happily, I like being out on my own, but it’s still a little scary to realize that “Plan B” is becoming less and less of a viable plan.

  52. Mooshi, the point you raise about medical insurance is directly OT and is a huge problem for older people laid off before retirement, especially those with family members relying on them for medical insurance.

  53. “One thing I have always wondered is why a “family” health plan through an employer costs you the same no matter how many children you have.”

    Or how employees with families are often subsidized at higher rates than single employees?

    A couple employers that offered me jobs out of college had ‘cafeteria plans’ for benefits that didn’t do that. Each employee had so many benefits dollars to allocate as they saw fit, so employees with families might choose to allocate a much larger %age of their benefits to medical insurance than single employees, who could opt instead for other benefits, IIRC one of which was more vacation days.

  54. “All of the pipeline utilities- gas, water and sewer- depend heavily on density and are not easily changed.”

    Our mayor wants people to build additional housing on their lots, typically studio or one-bedroom units, to alleviate our housing crunch, but a lot of people who tried to do so were unable to get building permits because they would exceed allowable sewer system loads.

    I thought that if the existing home had all of its toilets upgraded to 1GPF or less, and all of its faucets upgraded to low flow, the existing sewer system should be able to handle the added units.

  55. Being on Medicaid when you are “underemployed” is a state-specific privilege. I believe the income threshold for Idaho Medicaid is around $900/month. Idaho elected to not expand coverage, so there are no subsidized options for folks making around 12k-30k per year (unsure on upper limit). Anyway, the point is, don’t expect Medicaid to cover your non disabled 24 year old child who works part time at a bar while playing in a band.

  56. So this past week on the Wondery Podcast Safe for Work they were discussing ageism and makin age an asset at work.. It is worth a listen. https://wondery.com/shows/safe-for-work/#

    They had on Chip Conley who was discussing his new book “Wisdom at Work: The making of the Modern Elder”.

    I think it is the salary more so then thinking someone is “out of touch” During my last layoff, we could reapply for the reorganized positions, which asked for 1-3 years of experience as opposed to the 12 to 15 or more most of us had. And no one is safe no matter how much you’ve down for a company or how much you know. We are all replaceable.

  57. “Why does someone with one child pay the same as someone with six children?”
    Generally children are cheap to insure, so it may just be easier administratively.

  58. “Generally children are cheap to insure, so it may just be easier administratively.”

    Not if any of the children are women of childbearing age, which is probably not uncommon now that kids up to 26 can be covered by their parents’ plans.

  59. Since I have tenure now I’m less worried about this, but I definitely am fighting aging and will color my hair, etc., when needed to still appear with it. DH (early 40s) is now the experienced boss-type on all his new startups, but the founders seem to look up to him because of that – he is in an advisory role and not part of the C-suite team, which may help.

  60. Off topic: I don’t know if it was L or Lauren who suggested fleece lined tights but THANK YOU. They have really helped me enjoy this winter so much more. They are comfy, soft, and so warm.

  61. I don’t think the laws passed consider utility issues

    That sounds suspiciously like some of my co-workers.

    Them: The system goes down at random for 12 hours a month.
    Me: Why?
    Then: These 10 reasons.
    Me: OK let’s fix reason 1.
    Then: What about the other 9 reasons?!?
    Me: We can get to those tomorrow. Why don’t we focus on the manageable chunk we can fix today?

    In this case it’s, why can’t we build enough housing? These 10 reasons. OK let’s start with the transit bill to solve reason 1. But what about the other 9 reasons? We can work on those tomorrow.

  62. Rocky: I picked them up at Marshall’s and got 3 different brands. They all worked equally well. They were about $5 each

  63. Rhett, your approach works as long as politicians/voters understand that there are 10 issues to be fixed and that fixing one of them will not fully solve the problem. This should tie in nicely to Thursday’s utilities discussion.

  64. “In this case it’s, why can’t we build enough housing? These 10 reasons. OK let’s start with the transit bill to solve reason 1. But what about the other 9 reasons? We can work on those tomorrow.”

    You seem to be assuming that goal is actually to build enough housing rather than to come up with a reason why new housing can’t be built.

  65. I have fleece lined running tights, and workout pants from Athleta. So comfy, but I also have a couple of pairs of tights that I got last year at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. Not a name brand, but so awesome during the middle of winter.

    It was in the twenties today, but sunny and little wind. It felt like a heat wave. I went to school pick up without a jacket. It was two days of loud wind and I was exhausted from waking up all night so I am happy to have this mini break from the extreme cold.

    My uncle is 65 and he still works for Goldman. I think he has survived major layoffs because he remained at the VP level. He never wanted the jobs that would bring the Director or Managing Director titles because those positions are ALWAYS a quick hit for expensive talent.

    My friend just survived a big RIF at a another money center commercial bank. There were 6 Managing Directors in her group and now there are three. In Jan 2018, they had a rule that each manager could only be a certain number of levels down from the head of the Bank. This was to reduce the number of layers. They did the same exercise a year later, but they cut much deeper. These cuts often impact the older (more expensive) talent.

    It’s very challenging to stay employed if you’re mid 50s or older at the financial firms.

  66. I like the Athleta polartec leggings because the dept store ones are always too short. I am about halfway between regular and tall but in leggings, always tall!

    Used to Lurk, exactly, I am hoping his companies will provide similar remuneration at some point! :)

  67. “more very cheap kids and very expensive kids.”
    The thing is, there are lots and lots of very cheap kids, and very few expensive kids. Children just don’t get massively, expensively sick at the same rate as adults. And keep in mind, for most people, the big expenditures are when they are very old.

  68. Children just don’t get massively, expensively sick at the same rate as adults.

    I don’t know if that’s exactly true. IIRC the first 6 months and the last 6 months represent a very significant percentage of healthcare spending.

  69. You seem to be assuming that goal is actually to build enough housing rather than to come up with a reason why new housing can’t be built.

    That’s the goal of the person who proposed the legislation. NIMBY assholes will obviously do anything in their power to stop it.

  70. “Children just don’t get massively, expensively sick at the same rate as adults.”

    Yes, but remember that a non-trivial number of them will be diagnosed with chronic and expensive conditions that will require many decades of expensive care. For example, DH has a colleague whose child has a rare genetic disorder that nearly killed her before it was finally diagnosed. She is a miracle baby who has already outlived her two-year life expectancy by more than three years, but she requires a ventilator, 24-hour nursing care at home, and expensive drugs. The university has probably spent more on this child than all of their rare adult cancer patients combined.

  71. The super expensive kids typically won’t figure into a company’s overall expenditure due to Stop Loss Insurance. But if you have 25% of your workforce age 50+ you have lots of medical expenditures that are below the stop loss limits, not to mention high disability and life insurance rates. Frankly, older people are risky and expensive.

    A good friend of mine was laid off about 6 months ago. She is in her 50s and has started botox and peels to do anything to appear younger. She works in an industry that skews young.

  72. You seem to be assuming that goal is actually to build enough housing rather than to come up with a reason why new housing can’t be built.

    I agree with this. New housing here very often tearing down old houses and building more units on existing large lots. I don’t think this is happening enough in HCOL areas. Zoning restrictions probably prevent this from happening.
    That said, I visited one house built in 2000 recently. The houses are so tightly built that you can hardly back out onto the access road that serves that bunch of houses. Nice house but the house is too big for the lot and the rooms are irregular in shape

  73. The problem with trying to appear younger in 2019 is that any potential employer can find out your real age before you even walk in the door so they might never bother to speak to you about the open position. DH talks a lot about DD in his office because some people his age have grandchildren vs. HS freshman. She has helped us to seem younger than our age because we know a lot about current pop culture, music, clothing, and lots of other stuff that we would probably never know if she was older. Also, most of our local friends are younger because we met them through school or other activities.

  74. “due to Stop Loss Insurance”

    But sometimes the premium cost for that will be more costly than just absorbing it if the company is self-insured. It’s just so damn complicated.

  75. My workplace recalibrated staff levels frequently. In the latest round, they announced fewer spots at a senior level and asked people to apply to the new positions. Several senior people said that they had enough and those close to 60 decided not to apply. Those who did not get the new positions will be given severance or if they can find themselves new roles they can stick on.
    I had the opposite thought to Lauren. Lately I have been thinking that I would have loved to have both kids on to college by age 50. It’s more like mid 50 now. Many of my friends have older kids. I wish the younger DH and myself had not over thought the marriage, house, kids business.

  76. “Lately I have been thinking that I would have loved to have both kids on to college by age 50.”

    In some ways I would have liked that, too. But there are many avenues to good outcomes. We, despite major layoffs and career changes in our 30s, were relatively frugal and spent our younger years building up our retirement nest egg. We know others who spent their early years living the high life, traveling extensively and otherwise spending extravagantly so now they’re pinching pennies as they deal with putting kids through college or other expenses. At the same time, we cannot count on staying healthy to enjoy our old age, so there’s that.

    This thread makes me want to advise young people to:
    Plan to hit your peak earning years before age 50. Maybe you’ll continue to grow your income after that but don’t count on it.
    Stay “young” and humble in your willingness to learn and modify your work habits. Don’t start to feel entitled just because you are more experienced than your co-workers.

  77. My fleece leggings have made all the difference in my ability to enjoy the frigid outdoors. I slip them on under my regular pants whenever I’m going to be outdoors for more than a few minutes.

    The utility restriction is unfortunate in some ways, but at least it will serve to curb new building in my area that is one of the most congested in our county.

  78. RMS – I ran across an article that talked about the affect of the Shinto religious beliefs and how those can be seen in the Kondo approach. It was interesting and explained why she wants you to thank things.

  79. This thread makes me want to advise young people to:

    I’d also say that it’s important to keep in mind that “they*” have no loyalty to you so you should have no loyalty to them. You’ve worked your ass off for 20 years to be a VP at 5th 3rd? OK well the new CEO thinks we’re top heavy so…. don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

  80. “Plan to hit your peak earning years hit before age 50.”

    I don’t know — in some professions that isn’t necessarily how it works. Thinking of DH in academics, who took two decades to build the CV that led to the high earnings as he approached 50. Attorneys in private practice may confront a similar earnings trajectory. Maybe it’s different in the business or finance world?

  81. “I don’t know — in some professions that isn’t necessarily how it works. ”

    That’s very true, but don’t count on it. Even the brilliant academic or lawyer can find themselves shunted to the side due to circumstances beyond their control.

  82. I’m sorry I missed this conversation. I effectively “retired early” at 40 to stay home with my then toddler. I left my tech job with my eyes wide open about age discrimination. I’ve worked at a few companies and I always noticed that there was rarely anyone over the age of 50. I knew I would be pretty unemployable if I decided to return to the workforce. Now that I’m approaching 50, it seems less likely. We’ve always kept our expenses low, so I do not foresee returning in the near future as DH will probably retire in 2-3 years anyway (he is older than me). Fortunately, DH is in a blue collar industry with very few young people. He gets job offers all the time.

  83. Even the brilliant academic or lawyer can find themselves shunted to the side due to circumstances beyond their control.

    I’ve read that in the old days law firms would keep on partners who, as their contacts retired, lost part of their book of business. But these days partners get cut as soon as their billings slip. It’s not anywhere like the sinecure it was in the past.

  84. “Even the brilliant academic or lawyer can find themselves shunted to the side due to circumstances beyond their control.”

    Yes, but in some fields the circumstances beyond your control include the ability to max out on income before age 50. And, in a tenure environment, it’s far more common to see the unproductive prof hanging in there until past 80 than a brilliant younger one shunted to the side. The latter will always have outside offers if that happens.

    I’m not convinced that our kids will pay attention to any of our advice along these lines. They are young now and believe that they will always be young.

  85. “I’ve read that in the old days law firms would keep on partners who, as their contacts retired, lost part of their book of business.”

    But their share of firm profits would reflect their contribution thereto. Some of these guys just wanted a place to go every day. We had a few in our firm.

  86. My consultant husband just learned of a legal ruling that could radically undercut his line of business. Someone in their 40s or 50s who spent years building up this specialty could be out on the street and/or take a big cut in comp.

  87. Plan to hit your peak earning years hit before age 50.

    Yeah, I agree with those who say that you can’t always plan for that.

  88. “I’m not convinced that our kids will pay attention to any of our advice along these lines. ”

    True. I didn’t. :)

  89. But their share of firm profits would reflect their contribution thereto.

    I’ve read that these days they just cut them loose. You can be “of counsel” or whatever if you’re lucky.

  90. But these days partners get cut as soon as their billings slip.

    Depends on the firm. In DH’s firm, even the partners have to kill what they eat, so there are a couple of guys with plenty of money who still come in once or twice a week to work with their fave client and have an excuse to get out of the house. When DH started, one of the “name” partners was still toddling in once a week in his 90s.

  91. I thought about stepping out of the workforce when I first had kids. But, when I looked at what I do and how dependent that is on being “current” in job knowledge and contacts, I realized that I would basically be starting over with an entry level job, Even then, the “perception” of what an entry level person would “look” like in terms of education and experience would likely have screened me out.

    My advice to youngers is don’t blow off learning things that seem boring or won’t be needed later. When I NEEDED a different job ASAP, it was knowing about an area that was to be 20% of the job that most people dread learning about. I was initially exposed more than 20 years before, but because it was something most people didn’t know about, it seemed to always fall to me in every organization. Mostly it was 5% or less of my job. But, knowing about it and being able to talk about it was what set me apart from the other candidates.

  92. “I’m not convinced that our kids will pay attention to any of our advice along these lines.”

    Or our advice along any lines…

  93. July — That might be a good topic for another day. What advice of yours have your children actually taken? If they didn’t take your advice on something, how did it turn out? (i.e., did the outcome make you think, “Well, they proved me wrong on that one”, or did it make you think, “I told you so!”) If you had to rank all the pieces of advice that you give your kids, what are the top two or three that you hope they follow, even if they disregard everything else?

  94. An add-on to the above proposed topic: What advice that your parents gave you are you particularly glad you took or did not take? What advice do you regret taking or not taking?

  95. I think that these are all good bits of advice.

    For Rhett’s – what I tend to see with the younger people (including my younger self) is the feeling that you are very special and therefore irreplaceable and untouchable. Wrong. Everyone is replaceable. Everyone! I personally learned that lesson through getting laid off myself, but I think some people start to absorb it after many years of seeing the churn of Corporate America second hand too. That said – there are some rewards for loyalty and a good reputation, so don’t burn bridges or think the grass is always greener, but always keep your options open and your network/resume up-to-date as well.

    My parents didn’t give me much career advice. My grandmother told me to make sure that I knew how to type and do basic bookkeeping so I always have something to fall back on. While the specifics of that advice are a bit outdated, I don’t think the spirit of it is wrong.

  96. I just realized that most of my friends are still working for banks, asset managers, investment banks or similar and most are between 50 and 60. It is the cohort of people that I worked with when I started in banking after college and my managers that are 5- 10 years older. I also used to think that everyone was young in these places, but my own experience demonstrates the opposite because almost 100% of my managers are still working and they are all between 55 and 63.

  97. “Lately I have been thinking that I would have loved to have both kids on to college by age 50.”

    This discussion has suggested the opposite to me.

    The possibility of being unemployed or underemployed in one’s 50s and 60s suggests it makes sense to spend one’s 20s and 30s building a solid financial base. Have kids in the late 30s through 40s, and spend that time doing the juggle, continuing to build the financial base while also parenting. Then as work possibly slows down in one’s 50s, one ideally will have laid the financial basis to allow oneself to spend more time as a parent– we’ve discussed here recently how the tween/teen years can take more time than the earlier years. Then kids on to college when one is in one’s late 50s to 60s.

    This timeline also allows one to check off a lot of bucket list items in one’s 20s and 30s, before kids, when one is likely at/near one’s physical prime.

    The biggest downside to this that I see is limited time with grandkids.

  98. “Have kids in the late 30s through 40s”

    You say this as though you’ve never heard of the effects of age on fertility, maternal health, likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities, and many other concerns.

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