Your Money ;
; Out of a job, but too young to retire.
; Tapping resources better saved for later.
; Where will they be in 20 years?
Disgruntled with corpo- rate America after being laid off three times in 14
years, Jan Gissel decided to
take charge of her destiny.
She dipped into her retirement funds, accumulated
over a long marketing career,
and bought a franchise seven years ago that provided
technical support to small
Then the recession swept
through the nation, bulldozing businesses like Gissel’s
By Carole Fleck
going to hire
me at 63?”
Jan Gissel retired in
into ruin. Last December the 63-year-
2009 and took Social
old entrepreneur walked away from
her franchise and reluctantly settled
“Royalties had to be paid every month
whether the business brought in any
money or not,” says Gissel, who lives
in a $225,000 townhouse in Orange
County, Calif. “I kept pulling more
money out of my retirement funds.
It left me pretty much devastated.
“Fortunately, I’m old enough to
qualify for early Social Security re-
tirement benefits and a reverse mort-
gage on my home,” she says. “Unfor-
tunately, I’m too old to snag one of
the few jobs available in this econo-
my. Who’s going to hire me at 63?”
Gissel is part of a rising tide of
people who blame the recession for
pushing them toward an early and
They are being forced to make fi-
nancial decisions more typically re-
served for later in life, like filing for
Social Security benefits or taking a
Turning to such resources too
soon comes with a
big risk: running out
of money in old age.
2007, the United States
has lost more than 8
million jobs. Among
workers age 55 and up, the jobless rate
has more than doubled, from 3. 2 per-
cent to 6. 9 percent. That translates to
2.1 million older people out of work.
The persistently weak labor mar-
ket has kept them unemployed. The
average duration of joblessness for
workers age 55 and up expanded
from 20 weeks to 36 weeks between
December 2007 and February 2010,
according to AARP’s Public Policy
Institute (PPI). Consequently, it’s no
wonder that the number of “discour-