More Employers Now Seeking Older Workers

Many job seekers over a certain age feel discouraged by the fact that some employers may consider them old. In fact, statistics do show that there is some ageism in play in the hiring process; in 2004, job seekers 55 years old and older took 25.8 weeks to find jobs, while the job search lasted only 18.9 weeks for younger workers, according to the AARP.

Sometimes older workers are discriminated against because they are stereotyped as being unwilling or unable to adapt and to use technology and also because they command higher pay than workers straight out of school. There are also a lot of companies unwilling to invest time and training in employees who they think are just going to retire in a few years anyway.

There are definite and obvious benefits to hiring older employees, though. Older workers bring to the table years of experience and tend to stick with jobs longer than their younger counterparts.

To combat ageism in the hiring process, the AARP created the AARP National Employment Team three years ago; the group is comprised of a list of employers, in both the public and private sectors, looking to hire workers 50 years old and older for full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs. The Associated Press reported about two weeks ago that three federal government agencies and six private companies had been added to the list, bringing the total number of employers to 38.

The job opportunities are available for free on the AARP's website.

Deborah Russell, the AARP's director of workforce issues, said 69 percent of baby boomers intend to work past age 65--the traditional retirement age--and that most plan to do so to shore up their savings to cover the high costs of medical care.

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Age and Decision Making Ability

There may be a reason why so many victims of scams seem to be older adults: Researchers have found that decision making ability decreases with age, according to the New York Times. The study, led by Natalie L. Denburg of the University of Iowa, appeared in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Test subjects were divided into two groups, one of 26- to 55-year-olds and one of 56- to 85-year-olds. "The goal was to see how well the older volunteers used the skills often demanded of them when making decisions in real life about activities like investments, insurance and estate planning," according to the New York Times.

The study "used a gambling-style test in which people draw from four different decks of cards. Two decks, not to mince words, are for suckers," according to the New York Times. "They give short-term rewards but long-term losses. The other two decks do the opposite. Most people draw a lot from the bad decks first and switch. In the study, many of the older participants stuck with the bad decks."

The study attributed the decreased ability aging adults have to make good decisions to changes in the prefrontal part of the brain that influences behavior.

Those who are approaching retirement or are already retired are perhaps the investors who need to be making the best investment decisions simply because they have less time to recover from mistakes. And, just like the older adults in the study, perhaps older investors would be content to stick with the short-term rewards.

Investors of all ages who seek out immediate and/or large returns are susceptible to falling victim to scams. But older adults, making less sound decisions than in their youth, may be especially likely to become victims of scams. There are plenty of stories of older adults who put all of their money into one investment only to lose it all. Older investors, and investors of all ages, should remember to not put all their eggs in one basket, just in case one of their investments falls through.

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Young Investors are Alternative Investors

Millionaires from Generation X, aged 28 to 42, allocate 23 percent of their portfolios "to alternative asset classes, such as hedge funds, private equity, investment real estate and commodities," according to a Northern Trust survey published Jan. 25.

Gen X millionaires are "proving to be more sophisticated in their investment style than older millionaire generations" because of their interest in alternative investments and new investment products, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and structured notes, according to Northern Trust.

This is something that holds true among my circle of friends, many of whom are making their first forays into investing. They talk about their real estate deals, the small businesses they start and their Kiva loans, not the stocks they buy.

The thing that stuck out the most to me about this survey is that 41 percent of the Gen X millionaires who are aware of socially responsible investments have some money in them, according to Northern Trust; in contrast, only 18 percent of baby boomer millionaires who are aware of socially responsible investments have actually made any.

The younger generations have more time to spend on this planet. Maybe that's why they are more willing than older generations to invest their money to try to save it.

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What is CommonCensus?

CommonCensus is a blog brought to you by NuWire Investor. CommonCensus takes a look at demographic trends and provides commentary and analysis on how they might affect investors and the economy.

Millions of baby boomers are set to retire in the coming years, for example. That will impact not only the job market but also real estate markets across the country, as many retirees will opt to downsize to smaller homes or move to sunnier locations.

Knowledge of demographic trends can benefit investors because such knowledge can translate into knowledge of markets.


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