15 jaw-dropping predictions for workers over 50. These are some of the fascinating forecasts I’ve just heard regarding the future of work for Americans over 50. To help set the scene, let me share what Roy Bahat, head of Bloomberg Beta and co-chair of The Shift Commission on Work, Workers and Technology, told the Milken Institute Global Conference I recently attended in Los Angeles: “As much as we like to talk about millennials, the future of work is much older.” By 2024, his Shift Commission report notes, nearly one-quarter of the workforce is projected to be 55 or older — more than double the share in 1994. Here are 15 forecasts for the future of work for Americans over 50, split by time period: In the next 5 years Many 50+ workers will delay retirement a few years or work part-time in retirement for extra income, say Green, Mahaffie and Jarratt. Why not ones for their 50+ workers? “The trend of working well into the third quarter of life, for pay and/or satisfaction, will be increasingly expected and common.” But much older workers may be forced to retire by law. Samuel predicts “new mandatory retirement regulations will push 80-somethings out of the workplace.” The key word for workers over 50 will be “alongside.” For instance, they’ll often be working alongside AI-engineered robots (rather than losing jobs to them), say Green, Mahaffie and Jarratt. This echoes the recent Next Avenue blog post I wrote, “Why Robots Won’t Be Coming for All Our Jobs.” Also, “there may be more situations of volunteers working alongside paid workers, maybe even managing projects or teams,” write the futurist trio. The three futurists wrote: “White-collar workers who are downsized or displaced will be more likely to find replacement jobs, but often for less money.” Say goodbye, too, to the traditional linear life of education, work and then retirement. “Genius clubs” and other forms of organized groups will likely emerge to “organize and channel older workers’ talents, products and services for pay and “do-good” projects, say Green, Mahaffie and Jarratt.
I have a retired friend who knows he needs growth to ensure his nest egg will last throughout retirement, but at the same time is nervous about the investing in the stock market. Any advice for how he should invest?–D.F.
First, let me say that I don’t blame you (I mean your friend) for being skittish. Even though stock prices have more than tripled after bottoming out in the wake of the financial crisis a little more than eight years ago and now stand at or near record highs, there’s that nagging concern in the back of many investors’ minds that the market could suddenly reverse course and we could be looking at another major selloff and a prolonged slump.
And, of course, at some point that will happen, as it has many times before. We just don’t know when or what will trigger the downturn. So the question is how do we invest our nest egg so we can take advantage of stocks’ potential for long-term growth without leaving ourselves too vulnerable to devastating setbacks that could jeopardize our retirement security?
The answer comes down to balance. But not just balance in an investing sense, or creating an investing strategy that reflects an acceptable tradeoff between risk and reward. I’m talking about balance in an emotional sense too, achieving a level of equanimity that helps us keep our composure when the markets are in turmoil, so we don’t do something we’ll later regret, like selling stocks in a panic at depressed prices.
The first step toward achieving investing balance is to build a portfolio of stocks and bonds that can generate acceptable returns while also providing reasonable downsize protection. For help in creating such a stocks-bonds mix, you can go to Vanguard’s free risk tolerance-asset allocation tool.
The took will also give you a sense of how such a blend of stocks and bonds has performed in the past, and you can also see how many years the various portfolios have suffered a loss and how each has performed on average over many decades.
You shouldn’t think of this as any sort of guarantee of how a given combination of stocks and bonds will fare in the future. If anything, many pros believe average returns going ahead for both stocks and bonds will be considerably lower than in the past. But at least you’ll have a good idea of how different mixes have behaved under a variety of market conditions.
In your zeal to protect yourself against setbacks, however, you…