“If they’re over age 55, it’s unlikely they’ll ever be back in the work force.” – Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich
I’m not 55 yet, but I’m awfully close. If my entrepreneurial efforts fail, I will probably be looking for work at 55. I know I’ll have a huge challenge re-entering the employed work force, but I refuse to believe that I’ll never find a job again. This is not just a financial consideration. I’ve realized that I’ll never be ready for retirement. The downtime I incur in my current activities is hard to bear. Once the novelty of not going to an office each day wore off, I realized that “retirement” may not be as appealing as advertised. In fact, the prospect of not doing anything meaningful or useful the rest of my life is very scary and very depressing. I know there are volunteer activities; I’ve tried a number of them. They aren’t engaging enough to replace paid work, even part time work. I miss being involved with others in an effort to build a business. Money is the scorecard and volunteer work doesn’t provide the same satisfaction. Plus, I now realize I will need more money – the market downturns and subsequent flat stock market returns have dimmed my financial future.
If Mr. Reich is right (and I don’t think he is), the waste of human talent will be immense. It will be both a psychological and financial catastrophe for the United States.