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No Country For Young Men: 78-Year-Old Former Exec Still Flipping Burgers For Minimum Wage

We noted last week that recent job data shows a strong tendency for "hiring grandparents" as only the over-50s cohort have seen real employment gains since the financial crisis. No one epitomizes that reality better than 78-year-old Tom Palome who, as Bloomberg reports, went from VP or marketing for Oral-B to flipping burgers for minimum wage - because, like the great majority of seniors, he hadn't saved enough to retire comfortably.

As Palome notes, he is "a poster child for what a lot of folks my age are going through," as the ranks of employed Americans who were 65 and older jumped 67% last year to about 7.2 million from a decade ago, many of whom lack sufficient retirement savings. "I'm at the age where I'm not going to get out of this alive,"said Palome with a smile, "I plan to work until I can’t walk. I’m still the burger man."

 

As Bloomberg reports,

“Inactivity drives me crazy,” said Tom Palome, a 78-year-old former marketing executive who works as a short-order cook and bartender to make ends meet.

 

The income supplements the $1,200 a month he receives from Social Security plus $600 from a pension from his last corporate job, enabling him to pay for airplane tickets to visit his children and two grandsons, home repairs and other extras.

 

A year ago, Bloomberg News profiled Palome’s odyssey through the working world of older Americans who haven’t saved enough to retire comfortably.

 

...

 

“It was overwhelming at first,” said Palome. “Suddenly I was the poster child for what a lot of folks my age are going through.”

 

As baby boomers age, the ranks of employed Americans who were 65 and older jumped 67 percent last year to about 7.2 million from a decade ago, many of whom lack sufficient retirement savings.

 

...

 

For the working elderly, in the race against the clock, the clock will win eventually.

 

“I’m at the age where I’m not going to get out of this world alive,” said Palome with a smile.

 

“It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you enjoy doing it. Otherwise you’ll perform poorly,” he said. “I plan to work until I can’t walk. I’m still the burger man.”

*  *  *

The most recent "good" jobs data showed the senior cohort as the big winner (or loser depending on your perspective)

 

Apparently someone forgot to tell those 55 and older they are retiring in droves.