Workplace Age Discrimination

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Shortly after I was “released” from my job in electronics manufacturing , AARP came out with an article titled “Workplace Age Discrimination Still Flourishes in America”. At the time of my employment release, I was 57 years old. During my employment, I never experienced any age discrimination. It was only when the company decided to cut back on their workforce that age felt like it may have been a factor. I wasn’t the oldest worker released on that day. There was a mixture of younger and older workers. The people in the Human Resources department are aware of the rules on age discrimination and just how far they can go.

I see a lot of the 45-and-over crowd taking jobs at the Home Depot or similar retail jobs, just to pay the bills and get health insurance. A large percentage have given up on the job hunt and called it a day. Many experienced workers have been unceremoniously pushed out of the job market and did not leave on their own accord. The number of people over the age of 55 who were in the workforce, is down by 2 million, compared to pre-pandemic levels. My job loss happened 8 months before the pandemic. The pandemic just accelerated the trend for older workers. If you are over 55 and healthy enough to work 40 hours per week, than continue working for as long as you can. Many at this age start to experience health issues making it hard to perform alongside younger workers.

Everyone’s situation is unique. Macro trends end up affecting us all eventually. I have health issues that would prevent me from taking a job at Home Depot. Standing, being on my feet all day, is out of the question. Unlike the majority of people my age, I’ve been saving for retirement since I first started working in 1982. Even with 39 years of saving, I only started actively investing during the last 10 years. I did make a brief attempt at investing during the Dotcom bubble of 2000. That was about the time that Etrade was becoming popular as an online trading platform. To make a long story short, I lost some money, got discouraged, and closed my Etrade account after only a few years. I am more careful now, after having learned that lesson. Even though I have more money to invest now, I fell like it has been a slow uphill climb. Because the retirement fund will determine how well I live over the next (hopefully) 20+ years, It never feels like it is growing fast enough.

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