Age Is a State of Grace, Part 2: Dream Jobs for Elders

“114 isn’t as old as it used to be; they say it’s the new 104.”

~ Craig Ferguson

reverse mortgage newsLast month we discussed how some seniors look down their noses at the idea of retiring from the work world, as though the suggestion is an errant piece of lint on their clothing, and focused on just how essential these extra dollars might be for someone in their 60s and 70s.

Such concerns seem like child’s play for some of the nation’s oldest workers, who have vowed never to retire — primarily because they enjoy their jobs so much.

Take Betty Reid Soskin, 93 — but don’t take her too far from the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National HistoricalPark in Richmond, California, where she’s been a park ranger since she was a youthful 86. Soskin says all her previous jobs, in politics, as a record store owner, and as an office worker, have been preparation for her current work, in which she shares with park visitors what it was like to work in a segregated union hall during World War II. “It’s rather an enviable spot to be in,” says Soskin proudly. “I wouldn’t think of retiring.”

At 91, Kenneth Curzon is a cruiser. Though he could certainly be relaxing on the front porch of his house with a reverse mortgage to fund his days, even if he had a HECM, you wouldn’t find him sitting on the porch. Instead, Curzon cruises the parking lot of Scripps Memorial Hospital starting at 6:15 a.m., a job he’s loved for the past 24 years. The hospital CEO doesn’t believe he’s ever arrived before Curzon in the morning. “If they came to me and said I need to step aside then I would do that, but I would probably look for another job,” Curzon said.

Novaleen Slatton, 90, says the same: “I don’t want to stay at home by myself and look at four walls. So many people have retired, and then they say they’re bored to death.” Instead, Slatton works three days a week as receptionist at her local Chamber of Commerce, using her earnings to contribute to savings accounts for her three grandchildren, who are in college or just launching their careers. When she’s not at work, Slatton goes to the races — that’s horse races — with her brother.

Do any of your reverse mortgage clients or prospects still work, not necessarily because they need the money but to continue to contribute their skills and wisdom to the world? If some of your senior contacts are experiencing low spirits, perhaps a part-time dream job could be the cure.

6 comments

Joyce Hanson November 12, 2014 at 11:07 am

I love this article! I too am never going to retire! I tell everyone in the mortgage business “I will be the Betty White of the Mortgage business” I can’t imagine not going to the office everyday and interacting with the people!
I love helping Senior’s with Reverse Mortgages, have been doing them for 20 years!. after spending 40+ years in the business and seeing the different changes, it is rewarding to be part of it all…….

Reply
The_Cynic November 13, 2014 at 1:50 pm

It is clear that the exceptions prove the rules. There are no older seniors running day-to-operations at any Fortune 500. There are no doctors who have hospital rights at any significant hospital who are in their 80s or 90s.

Yeah, the greeters at Wal-Mart are generally older people but not the butcher, the manager, or the sales clerk. The head of the legal department is not 70 or 80, nor is head of marketing and thousands of others. Those still employed after their 70s is the smallest segment and percentage of workers by age who are at least 25 years old.

What we know today is that seniors are discriminated against and such discrimination has a name, age discrimination.

While it is exciting to read the things covered in the article, they are not the norm.

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CLIFF RIDDLE November 13, 2014 at 3:06 pm

i retired twice and because they wouldn’t let me fish and hunt all year round I found my dream job helping seniors by doing reverse mortgages and estate planing

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Amara Rose November 14, 2014 at 8:47 am

Joyce and Cliff,

You are both an inspiration to older adults everywhere. As the Boomers swell the ranks of those 65+ in the coming years I expect we’ll see a lot more very senior people in very senior positions!

Reply
No More Nest Egg! Now What? | HECMWorld.com February 11, 2019 at 7:43 pm

[…] week we looked at some of the country’s oldest retirees, who found their callings and joy late in lif, and want to keep working for pleasure as well as […]

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Their Nest Egg is Gone. Now What? | HECMWorld.com February 12, 2019 at 1:00 am

[…] looked at some of the country’s oldest retirees, who found their callings and joy late in life and want to keep working for pleasure as well as […]

Reply

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