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Updated 24 April 2013

Retrenchment harder on the elderly

Retrenchment doesn’t get easier the closer you are to retiring anyway.

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Retrenchment doesn’t get easier the closer you are to retiring anyway.

In a Yale University of Medicine study involving more than 3,000 people between the ages of 51 and 61, it emerged that the opposite, in fact, is true.

Although it is often assumed that if one only has a few more years to work, the blow of retrenchment should not be as painful, it appears that older people in fact have a harder time of it. For one thing, many older people are not in a position – despite severance packages – to survive financially when they are not working. Also, older people tend to be unemployed for far longer, says the study. Partly this is because older peoples’ skills are not always as transferable to new positions, which could lead to a reduction in their income, even when they find new employment.

As people usually accumulate a significant chunk of their retirement wealth in the decade before their retirement, retrenchment during this time could lead to significant financial losses.

Hardest hit are older people who are single, as they tend to lack the social support that married people have.

On retirement, it is always a good idea to keep being actively involved with the community in some way, the study found.

(Liesl Powell, Health24, updated March 2011)

(Picture: retrenched man from Shutterstock)

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