Aging workers are worried about a future of limited savings, modest social security, and lengthening retirements. We live in a world of risk. We take out a little insurance to cover some of our concerns and a lot to cover other potentially major catastrophes. People pay a few or many hundreds of dollars a month to insure themselves and their families against all manner of disaster.
There is life insurance, auto insurance, homeowner and renter coverage, and more. There is even a growing category of small “final expense” policies hawked by celebrities like Alex Trebek to save loved ones from unexpected funeral costs and unknown credit card debt.
Some, like life insurance, have a significant payout, but one which the payer may not get to enjoy personally. Decades of auto insurance may or may not ever offer a return. The whole exercise is not gambling, but it is hardly an investment of guaranteed reward. Instead, monthly premiums are an investment in peace of mind and a hedge against the unknown and unwanted.
But where does one go to insure against the great calamity of being retired before you are ready?
The sudden loss of one’s job has far greater impact than most auto accidents. Yet aside from limited unemployment insurance, unanticipated termination can put a sudden end to the income that supports families—and pays all the other insurance premiums.
But who offers work insurance to protect against premature retirement? What company, what broker, what financial institution can prevent this calamity or make you whole once it has happened? The obvious answer is: None. Such a thing is not available in our vast marketplace. You can’t get it online or at the bank. When it comes to insuring yourself against this event, you are on your own. Or are you?
“We must indeed hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately”
Wise Ben Franklin said this. He knew that there were not individual solutions to every problem. And the matter of work insurance is a classic case. Our vibrant markets excel in selling individual solutions. But the tradition of premature retirement, of terminating employees according to an arbitrary “sell-by” date, is not an individual risk. It is a societal problem experienced by individuals of a certain age. It needs a societal or collective solution—what you might call “virtual work insurance”.
Respectful Exits is a campaign to secure greater protection against the threat and risk of early job loss. Its simple goal is to extend the work-lives of those who choose to work longer and continue contributing beyond arbitrary dates set by outdated tradition. We believe that by acting together we can transform the way aging employees work and retire. We are in the business of insuring continued work and the income and other rewards that come with it.
Can virtual work insurance happen?'Extending work, keeping aging workers valuable, and enabling flexible and phased rather than abrupt retirement are all feasible changes. We just need to work together to change employer practices,' says Paul Rupert, CEO of Respectful ExitsClick To Tweet
Extending work, keeping aging workers valuable, and enabling flexible and phased rather than abrupt retirement are all feasible changes. We just need to work together to change employer practices. Millions of us have experienced workplace movements in the last two decades that replaced rigid schedules with flexible ways of working and smoke-filled workplaces with smoke-free ones. What seemed impossible at the outset ultimately proved doable. All it took was committed people digging in and persistently pursuing a shared agenda. With education, persuasion, and pressure as needed, we can create virtual work insurance.
Quantifying the gains that come from building a robust campaign together
Modest investments of time and money can yield incremental and then significant changes. At the most basic level, people facing twenty years or more of retirement with limited prospects could benefit from one, two, or three “extra” years of work. What would this mean?
There are several likely outcomes that follow on ending the “sell-by” date and extending work:
- Each extra year’s extended work can:
- Raise the age at which you retire, delaying the time when you face no or reduced earning
- Enable additional payment into savings and/or pension accounts
- Defer Social Security payments, thus increasing the amount of your eventual benefit
- Avoid or reduce the period between employer-provided health insurance and Medicare
- Working longer voluntarily and easing into retirement correlates with better health outcomes
- Continuing to contribute and maintaining social ties can enhance satisfaction and mental health
No insurance comes with absolute guarantees, and so-called virtual work insurance can be no exception. But the return on a modest investment in Respectful Exits offers the possibility of a substantial and positive gain that few insurance policies provide.
Our large and powerful campaign and your robust negotiations with employers can have an impact far greater than bowing to isolation and fear.
Join our campaign now! The best insurance against an uncertain future is positive action.