Former Oral-B VP Now Flipping Burgers

Tom Palome didn't save enough for retirement; neither do many others

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 24, 2013 10:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – That people aren't saving enough for retirement is not exactly breaking news. But Bloomberg tells the story in terms that truly resonate. Tom Palome, 77, used to be a VP at Oral-B, making a six-figure salary. But like many middle-class retirees, he didn't save much for retirement, and he's now taken two part-time jobs as a result: flipping burgers at a golf club for $7.98 an hour plus tips, and doing food demos at Sam's Club for $10 an hour. Palome didn't fritter away his earnings: He put his kids through college, gave them money for down payments, and helped his aging parents. But the $90,000 he had saved shrunk to $40,000 when the financial crisis hit. And though he could technically scrape by without his part-time jobs (Social Security and a pension provide $1,600 a month), the $1,400 he makes with them goes to savings and "extras."

"People who built successful careers, put their kids through college, and saved what they could, are still facing downward mobility," says an economist. Former managers and professionals are now fighting one another for low-income jobs, and 67% more over-65s are still working compared to 10 years ago. Most of them have no retirement account assets, and for those aged 55 to 64, retirement account assets are much lower on average than they need to be. (Ten to 20 times annual income is recommended.) "I never thought I'd live this long," Palome says. Now, "I earn in a week what I used to earn in an hour." Click for the full piece.

  (Shutterstock)
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