Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

Baby Boomers; Boom or Bust? YOU make the choice!

Are you a Baby Boomer?  The generation of people most likely hit the hardest during the Great Recession?  We came out of college having to fight for a job due to the sheer number of us graduating, but the times were good and we managed to get hired. Yes, hired by companies that promised us "safe" corporate jobs up to the point of retirement.

The winds of change began to happen in the mid 80's with the great 401K's that were introduced that eventually phased out our nice pensions, stronger winds began in the 90's..did anyone feel the breeze? This is when huge mergers and downsizings began and the lucky people in their 50's back then were given early pensions and medical (like my boss).

The winds began to whip up into a hurricane by 2009 and our age group of now 50 year olds were swept away with 3 to 12 month severance packages and the "wonderful" services of Outplacement Services (what is the rate of placement for those over 50 using that expensive service?). The lucky few in our age group (unless you are a Fireman, Policeman or teacher) may have an old style pension left, but probably won't be getting more than 1K a month at age 55 since the mergers and acquisitions of the 90's cut them short or were slowly phased out due to 401K transitions.

I don't believe any one age group has every been caught in the changing tides of the job marketplace as much as ours. I was fortunate enough to sense and forecast this trend in the 1990's, so when I lost my job in 2005, when things were good, I left corporate America for safer waters. I had another nice Region VP job lined up ready to go and, with sweaty palms, I turned down the RVP job for a job paying nothing, in fact it cost me $6,000!  No income and a family of 5 to support, my oldest getting ready to go to college and I decided to start a business at age 49!  It was more successful then my wildest dreams and I WAS HAVING FUN, more fun than in any other previous "Job"!  Bottom line, It can be done and I did it all over again last year with a new age 53.

Yes, there is age discrimination, like all forms of discrimination it is typically unspoken and hidden by smiles and nodding heads. So once we get over that, then you must find a way to carve out something new. It is tough, but maybe it is time for something bold and new....what do you have to lose? Nothing, right? You aren't starting something new and afraid of losing your job....that already happened. If there is no other job right now and you have been interviewing for 6 to 12 months.....then.....what do you have to lose? 

Well, at least that is the way I looked at it in 2005...and our (I co-owned the company) business flourished...went fantastic until the recession. So, I retooled and began my own business in 2010. I founded my new business last year on writing about career and life topics; developing a network and resource for those in our industry (young and old) and providing a resource for companies AND candidates to network and find each other!  I have also been heavily involved the past 2 years learning a new occupation that is quite compatible with recruiting and writing and let's just say there is a reason why I Tweet about new stocks and the financials of our medical companies! 

The point?  Always keep looking for new things to learn that just may lead to a new or additional occupation!  You may just find your passion too!  It may not pay you what you use to make, and you may need to get additional training, but our age group must look at how to generate our own money. What else are you going to do if no one will hire you? You must hire yourself....or retrain where age really does not matter (there are occupations where age can be seen as a plus!).

I wrote an article last summer and within it you can see how my unemployment led me to rethink my life and the way it helped me realize I had nothing to lose...I had much to gain....and I have:

All the best to each of you and if this helps one person...then I did my job today!

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Tags: over 50


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Comment by Linda Hertz on January 31, 2011 at 9:56pm

Linda Hertz
Comment by Linda Hertz on January 30, 2011 at 1:49pm

Thank Kathy for your comments!  I have found quite a bit of factual information about Baby Boomers and there has been interest in this article and the earlier forum links too that are on this website that I will place HERE.


I was reading The Economist Magazine and just as I was getting ready to toss the January 1st issue, "As Boomer Wrinkle", an article published but without the autor identified had some interesting statistics I would like to share here:

  • The oldest of Baby Boomers began entering the workforce in the 1960's
  • Baby Boomers are considered to be those born between 1946 to 1964...the first of this group of 78 Million born within this time frame turn 65 in 2011..THIS YEAR.
  • Retiring boomers will squeeze the economy from two directions: the number of people on federally funded Medicare will grow from 47M in 2010 to an estimated 80M in two decades time.  Enrollment in Social Security will grow from 44M to 73M.  As reported by The Economist, the cost of these two programs will grow from 8.4% GDP in 2010 to 11.2% by 2030.
  • Keep in mind, as boomers retire...or ( I would like to add get fired and can't get new employment), the workforce will grow more slowly, as will the taxes to finance their benefits. 

So, if you currently are employed please do prepare yourself financially to take care of yourself without the benefits of these two programs...and maybe even your defined pension (if you still have one).   I have many executives call me who were over 50 and downsized these past two years...they make over 300K and after taxes, private schools for their kids, the country club, fast cars, big house and etc.,....they had nothing but a small 401K (they could keep or transfer to an IRA) and forced to cash out of stock options (if they were worth anything in one taxable lump).  They tell me they look at what is left and even though they made all that money...they did not invest it with the idea they would have to live off they spent it on a nice lifestyle.  In today's workforce I believe one always needs to say, "but what if my job went away within a month"....could we get by for a year, two years?  If not, get busy and prepare for the day that comes OR when you retire and the above programs are gone or greatly reduced.  They are kicking around that high net worth individuals will NOT get any of the above programs EVEN though they have supported and invested in those programs since they pulled their first paycheck! 


The take away here, is that it is indeed true that the only certainty in life is Death and Taxes....only with the later, you are not certain how much and if you will reap the benefit of those taxes before the real certainty: Death!

Comment by Kathy Holdaway on January 26, 2011 at 11:34am
Bravo!  Well said Linda, very inspiring.


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