7 tips for older women who are working past retirement age

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We hear a lot about the graying of America and the growth of our aging population. But many Baby Boomers who reach retirement age aren’t blissfully living out their golden years in some posh retirement community. In a post-recession America, more older women in particular are working than ever before.

According to figures from the Labor Department, one in 12 women worked past the traditional retirement age of 65 back in 1992. Today that number is nearly one in seven. Projections show it will become one in five by 2024.

Read more: This couple replaced both of their incomes by selling on Amazon

More debt and less savings are the primary reasons why a lot of women are working longer. Add in the fact that women generally have longer lifespans than men, and you soon see older women face some unique challenges once they cross 65. Not to mention the fact that 64% of older workers report facing age discrimination — regardless of gender!

So what can you do if you’re an older women who is looking for work? Consider the following…

Two ways to maximize whatever you’ve saved so far

Immediate annuities

When you retire, you may not have enough money to provide for your monthly needs from savings. So there are companies that turn a supply of money — you typically need a minimum of $100,000 — into a lifetime stream of income. Immediate payout annuities (aka life annuities) are entirely legitimate, but they have so little in the way of commissions that they’re never pushed by salespeople.

You can get a quote for an immediate annuity from ImmediateAnnuities.com. If you have military service, you’ll also want to get a quote from USAA and maybe TIAA-Cref. Whatever you do, make sure you stick with an insurer who is rated A++ by A.M. Best. An A++ rating indicates the utmost financial strength and that the insurer will be there for the long haul.

Here’s a common concern about immediate annuities: What if you pour all your money into an immediate payout annuity and then you die shortly after? It’s true that all the money will be gone and there will be none for your heirs. If that’s your concern, then you can opt for a special provision called ‘period certain,’ which means that you’ll get a guaranteed payout (typically for 20 years) even in the event of your death. Your monthly benefit will drop by about 10% if you take the period certain option, but at least it provides something guaranteed to your heirs.

Longevity insurance

Another kind of annuity is a longevity annuity (aka longevity insurance or deferred-income annuities.) This is a simple insurance product you buy at retirement age that doesn’t start paying a living benefit until you hit 85.

The Life Insurance and Market Research Association reports sales of longevity insurance policies nearly tripled from 2012 to 2014. During that time they went from $1 billion to $2.7 billion, according to the latest estimates.


The idea is that with a longevity policy in place, you could plan to blow through all the cash in your retirement plan through age 84. Because the minute you turn 85, you get a check every month for as long as you live.

Insurers offer a great benefit on longevity policies. They know from actuarial tables that most people who buy the policy won’t live to receive any money. But if you do live to age 85, you get that nice monthly check.

You won’t hear a lot of insurance agents talk about longevity policies because the commissions on them are so small. But they can be a great idea for so many situations where people might otherwise outlive their money. If you want to explore the idea of buying a policy, ask the agent for ‘the insurance policy that doesn’t pay any money until age 85.’ Different people call it different things, but they’ll know what you mean based on that description.

Here’s what to do if you haven’t saved anything

The two tips above pertain to people who have amassed savings during a working lifetime. But if you’re planning to work past retirement age, you’re probably in a different boat. If you’re working because you simply have no money in your later years, consider the following:

Plan to defer your retirement

Work at least part-time past the age when you’d hoped to retire. If you are physically able and planned to stop working in your 60s but don’t have a lot saved, consider working as long you’re healthy. Keep this mantra in mind: 70 is the new 65! Your Social Security benefits stop accruing at 70, so that makes this age kind of an ideal jumping off point from the working world.

Read more: New laws that will affect Social Security benefits in 2016

Be sure you’re saving

If your employer doesn’t offer any kind of savings plan, you can do it on your own with an IRA. See Clark’s investment guide for more details.

Consider investing, not just saving

In the short term, yes, your portfolio can take some significant hits. But in the long run, there’s hope for great returns on your dough.

Don’t overlook the power of face-to-face networking

When you’re out there looking for a job, here’s a truism to remember: Nobody likes to be asked for a job, but everybody loves to give advice. So identify some key people in the industry you’re eyeing and see if you can set a face-to-face meeting with them. Interview them for their career advice. Also, don’t overlook the possibilities of doing internships or job shadowing.

The beauty of networking is that most jobs are filled by hirers who are likely to bring in someone they know or know of for an interview. A friend of a friend, a colleague of a colleague. People think that networking is passé. No way! It will get you in the door. Sometimes that’s all you need to shine.


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Read more: Get a tech degree that lands you a job — or your money back!