Cracking The Code To A Later-In-Life Career Change: Living On

By Marcia Pledger
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Two decades ago, less than one-third of people age 55 and over were employed or looking for work. Today, it’s 40 percent.

CLEVELAND, Ohio

For some Baby Boomers, just being able to get online might seem like cause for celebration.

Then there’s Rosemarie “Cookie” Krizmanich. At 61, she started her fourth career; this time working as an IT business systems analyst.

Krizmanich is not alone. With the average age of retirement rising, many people over 50 may have 15, 20, or even 30 years of working life left. For many, like Krizmanich, finances dictate that she keep working. And like many others, she’s doing so, but in a new career.

Her first two careers, as a medical technician at a Kaiser hospital, and as a journalist at CNN in its infancy, didn’t have good retirement plans. At the time, CNN had no plan and after 10 years at Kaiser, she was only vested for two of them.

“If I took that in a payment plan when eligible, I would get about $20 a month,” she said, noting that she did invest in 401k plans at various jobs, but feared uncertainty in the stock market and not having enough money to live on with limited savings and a small Social Security check. Krizmanich is single, with no children.

Two decades ago, less than one-third of people age 55 and over were employed or looking for work. Today, it’s 40 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number, known as a labor force participation rate, is expected to increase fastest for the oldest segments of the population: most notably, people ages 65 to 74, and 75 and older, through 2024.

The year before Progressive Insurance hired Krizmanich, she didn’t know anything about navigating the back-end of technology. She was working as a nursery consultant and master gardener at Home Depot in Brooklyn Heights, where she still works on weekends.

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