When Age is an Advantage

Older Workers / Part 1:
When Age Is An Advantage

Reverse Mortgage News Blog

Dylan sang, “The times they are a-changin’,” and the septuagenarian’s lyrics presaged today’s workforce. Gone is the gold watch and golden years playing golf or relaxing on the front porch. Today’s older workers are in a silver state of mind — and it contains silver linings. Whereas once older workers were considered on their way out, between the Boomer Age Wave and a tremulous economy, there are more seniors in the workforce now than ever before — and they’re savvier about what it takes to get and stay there.

LinkedIn profile? Check. A presence on other social sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+? Very possibly. And if an older adult has been self employed, sold the business to retire, and is now seeking part-time work, either to make ends meet, stay connected, or both, they’re in for a positive surprise: some postings actually require potential employees to be “old enough” for the job!

Consider a recent ad on the venerable CraigsList.com seeking a Senior Citizen Sports Writer for a national sports humor website. The ad stated: “You need to be over the age of 60 and be willing to contribute to a weekly sports column.”

Now that middle-aged and older employees comprise the lion’s share of the workforce, it behooves businesses to cater to their well-being — something reverse mortgage professionals are ideally positioned to do. A healthy, happy senior makes the best HECM prospect, whether that’s this year, or in a decade’s time.

A recent national study of workers aged 53 to 85, all of whom worked at least 20 hours a week, revealed the following happy findings:

  • 98 percent said their personal lives had no effect on their work
  • 85 percent reported work seldom interfered with their personal lives
  • More than 80 percent felt secure in their position, a surprising result considering the extent of age-related employment discrimination
  • Fewer than half felt stressed due to time pressure at work
  • Just over half felt that competing demands were a strong source of stress.

Without children at home, much of the time challenges that face younger workers are gone, researchers acknowledge. Yet pressures still exist, often in the form of rapid technological advances that make multimodal multi-tasking more prevalent than ever before.

The key for both older workers and their younger colleagues is age-old wisdom: knowing how to take care of yourself. To maintain the same edge and enthusiasm that showed up in this study, older employees are well advised to:

  • Sleep on it. While lack of sleep is a major complaint among younger workers juggling family responsibilities along with a job, getting enough rest can also be problematic for older adults who may have a harder time falling asleep or awaken frequently during the night. If sleep is an issue, take naps when possible, but don’t intentionally skimp on the shut-eye. Sleep deprivation reduces both immunity and job effectiveness.
  • Stay flexible. Exercise keeps both body and brain nimble and able to tackle stressors on the job. You don’t necessarily need to join a gym; simple stretches and walking are highly restorative.
  • Take charge. Older workers are likely to be experienced at time management and may have evolved excellent workplace strategies over the years. Something as basic as a to-do list, whether on an old-fashioned notepad or a BlackBerry, helps people prioritize and set boundaries.

So encourage the seniors you meet with to enjoy their second — or third, or fourth — career reinvention, which can provide a nice supplement to a reverse mortgage, or vice versa. Or a HECM might be seen as sequential in their life progression: an encore career in their 60s and 70s, a reverse mortgage in their 80s and beyond. Because as the rising tide of elders makes clear, aging isn’t what it used to be.

11 comments

Michele Kole April 2, 2013 at 8:21 am

Very refreshing and nice to see these happy statistics. At 62 I’ve re-invented myself a few times and now enjoying being in the workforce even more! It’s great to be acknowledged for experience and wisdom that only comes with age. I’m a reverse mortgage specialist and helping my fellow boomers reap the benefits of what they’ve worked their whole lives for. Thank you, Amara, for your wonderful perspective.

Reply
CLIFF RIDDLE April 2, 2013 at 10:10 am

AT MY YOUNG AGE OF 76 I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WHEN I GET OLD,,,,,,
I LOVE DOING REVERSE MORTGAGES ,,,,
I WISH I COULD FIND A 60 OR OLDER THAT WANTS TO WORK,,, I COULD USE A COUPLE OF L. O.s

Reply
Amara Rose April 2, 2013 at 10:32 am

And thank you, Michele, for eloquently expressing exactly what the article’s about. We’re reinventing every aspect of aging due to sheer numbers — and moxie. It’s going to be a lot of fun…

Reply
Amara Rose April 2, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hi Cliff ~

What a wonderful outlook you have! Perhaps you could take a tip from the Craig’s List ad and post on whatever job bulletin boards a reverse mortgage professional would visit, requesting a senior loan officer, in every sense of the term 🙂

Good luck ~

Reply
The_Critic April 2, 2013 at 11:43 am

Once again good stuff!! This kind of information about seniors is quite useful.

Can I suggest that you also bring out the negatives as well? For example, there is much data on not just the amount or types of debt seniors have but also the disproportionate amount of higher interest rate debt and high penalty payoff debt they have.

We need to free seniors from the horrible, horrible debt trap many have succumbed to. Slavery in the free world can generally be defined by debt. A HECM can be all but a “Thirteenth Amendment” to the Constitution for many debt ridden seniors.

One of my friends tells seniors when they are making a HECM decision: “Remember every dollar of interest you pay on your existing mortgage (or some other debt they intend on paying off with the HECM) is a dollar of cash you most likely can NEVER recover.”

Reply
Amara Rose April 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Hi The_Critic ~

I think you stated the value of a HECM for debt reduction beautifully! Thanks for reading, and for sharing your knowledge for everyone’s benefit.

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Don McCue May 22, 2013 at 9:19 am

Aging gracefully in a new more aware society ain’t it grand!! (626) 482.9771
M y company: REVERSE MORTGAGES PLUS…

I will offer my experience and opinion on RETIREMENT, LONG TERM CARE, SELLING YOUR REAL ESTATE vs REFINANCING or a REVERSE MORTGAGE…NO CHARGE. 🙂

Reply

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