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Older Women Workers Squashed

They're forced to retire. But how to survive?

Photo: whaddayear via

When I first started writing about working women (almost 30 years ago), they were already being called "the Sandwich Generation." That was designed to indicate women trying to be housemates, even mothers, and job holders.

That was the point in time in which most of our grandmothers and many of our mothers were working 'cause they had to, not 'cause they wanted to. It was also a point in time where the rich were already getting--and keeping--increasing income; regular folks found even COLA dollars were not true cost of living adjustments. Of course that gap just keeps widening.

Some of these ladies were starting true careers; e.g., astronauts, politicians, journalists, and more. Others had careers but they were more traditional, like teachers and nurses. Some were sort of in careers, but not ones where they'd usually go too far, like a receptionist. But many were women in less than bountiful "just-bring-in-dollars" jobs. They worked in factories, supermarkets, department stores, and other retailers.

Retiring to where?

Reading AARP, you'd think retirees had great savings. I know when it was founded so many had modest pensions, or were just starting to learn about Social Security, wills, and other aging issues. So they got great advice.

Pick up one of their current publications, though, and you'll see it addressing a population segment that's now gloriously saved. Sure maybe half- or even a quarter-million dollars could be considered modest today. I know the costs of long-term care; I've been covering its challenges almost from the get-go. And living to the 80s, 90s, maybe even older, means far more savings are needed to meet daily life needs even if you stay fairly healthy.

Still, we're lucky if most Americans have five HUNDRED--not five hundred thousand--dollars saved. And as one Forbes story points out, women especially are likely to be challenged once they "retire" (aka get forced out) from a job they've had for 10, 20, or more years.