Working Seniors Earn More

Working Seniors Earning More

According to a new study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College1, the earned income of people in their 60s and 70s who are still working is growing faster than for those in their "prime" working years - age 35 to 54. The study concludes that these findings are influenced by the following three factors:

  1. Older workers today tend to be more college educated, whereas in previous generations older workers were less educated. This higher education level enables seniors to work longer in white collar positions, whereas in previous generations seniors were limited in how long they could work due to physical constraints associated with more blue collar roles.

  2. While earnings for both older men and women have grown over the years, there has been a significant increase for men. Back in 1985, elderly men tended to earn about 70 cents for every $1.00 of average annual income earned by men in their prime working years. However, as of 2010 that has increased to 92 cents per dollar. 

  3. The study found that older workers who are paid by the hour generally are on par with those in peak working years - which is considered a measure of equal productivity.

This is good news for baby boomers that see themselves working later into their senior years than their parents. As the oldest of the boomers turn 67 this year, it is likely these earnings numbers will continue to improve - a sign that continued good health and a lifetime of experience is increasing in value.

1 Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, "The Impact of Population Aging and Delayed Retirement on Workforce Productivity," May 2013;

Number of Home Health Workers to decline

The data highlighted in the AARP study is startling. In 2010, there were 7.2 individuals of prime caregiving age — 45 to 64 years old — for every person age 80 or older. By 2030, the “caregiver support ratio” (the proportion of people in prime caregiving years to those age 80 or above) will drop to 4.1, then plunge to 2.9, by 2050, according to AARP’s projections.

“What these numbers tell us is that relying on family and friends to provide long-term care may be unrealistic in the future,” 

All this contradicts some widely held beliefs: 68 percent of Americans age 40 and older are counting on their families to supply long-term care when and if it’s needed, according to a survey by Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research published this year.

The points raised in the report are an important contribution to a discussion now under way as the national Commission on Long-Term Care prepares to issue a report outlining policy recommendations in September.  Data is from AARP

The Ethical Will

Written by Dr. Andrew Thomas Weil, renowned author, teacher and recognized expert on holistic health,Healthy Aging, a Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being encourages people to write an ethical will. Unlike a legal will, an ethical will is more of a spiritual account in which you take stock of your values, lessons and expressions of love and forgiveness. It's a document you may wish to share with family and friends while you're still alive.

There are no hard-and-fast rules on to how to draft an ethical will. For many, it's a stream of conscious essay in which you speak of the things important to you. Others write it as a memoir to recount family stories and anecdotes. When you think about it, so many family histories are lost because no one bothers to write them down; writing an ethical will gives you the opportunity to pen these experiences for your children and future generations. You may wish to document traditions-no matter how trivial-that have either held throughout your family's history or that you just started with your own family. The more detail you include, the more your writings will be enjoyed by others.

An ethical will needn't only be a historical account. Use it to express your feelings, beliefs and values and to share lessons learned. The more you take the time to share your experiences, what you learned from them and why they are important to you, the more meaningful they will be to your children, grandchildren and others in the future - as ethical wills can be handed down through the generations.

Another good reason to write an ethical will is to explain why you may be planning to leave assets to certain people, entities or charitable organizations outside of your family. Conveying your thoughts and passions can help alleviate any ill will your family may feel when learning that they will not inherit all of your assets. Furthermore, if you have established a charitable foundation or donor advised fund, you may communicate your wishes as to why you would like your family to continue to support your philanthropic objectives.