Americans in their 50s especially hard-hit by recession
In this bloody free-for-all of a recession, Americans in their 50s are really taking it hard on the chin.
"Is it because we're in our 50s?'' Kahn wonders. "What else could it be? Someone on the other end is looking at our résumés, doing the math and thinking, this woman's a fuddy-duddy. I feel like we've been put out to pasture. It's like we're reaching retirement age, but we're not ready for retirement."
Peek inside this statistical slaughterhouse: As older Americans headed for retirement, the recession cut into their plans, sending retirement account balances down 32 percent from a peak of $8.7 trillion in September 2007 to $5.9 trillion in March 2009, according to AARP. As the recession kicked in, more than one of every four foreclosures and delinquencies involved Americans age 50 and older, this on top of the decade's already sharp increase in bankruptcy filings for the 55-and-above set.
Some may never find another job: A Pew Economic Policy Group report in April said nearly 30 percent of jobless people 55 or older have been out of work for a year or longer, a higher rate than any other age group.
It is a demographic squeeze play of historic proportion, with a jobless rate not seen since the Great Depression.
In a sign of the angst gripping many who see their retirement fading into the future, a poll this year of people ages 44 to 75 found that more than three in five fear depleting their assets more than they fear dying.
"Typically," he says, "they've been downsized out of a job or else put into another position with more responsibility for less pay, and that puts even more stress on their lives, financially and emotionally."