The days of retiring at 55 and being financially secure are a distant memory, according to a study released last month by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)—especially among African-Americans in the metro New York metro area.
The ongoing poor economy and apprehension about the recovery of the labor markets are the key reasons why more than half of African-American New Yorkers age 50 and older are delaying retirement. In addition, some respondents, about 13 percent, said they expect to never retire and will always work in some capacity. “This survey paints a picture of older African-American workers who are coming to terms with a tough economy,” said Lois Wagh Aronstein, New York State director of AARP. “While older African-Americans would like to enjoy retirement, for an alarmingly large number, this is a dream delayed or slipping out of reach.” Aronstein added that the study was done in conjunction with the National Urban League and surveyed dozens of human resource executives, private and public sector educators and local politicos.
The release of the AARP report comes just months after the National Council on Aging (NCOA) noted that the unemployment rate among older African-Americans and Latinos is inordinately high and individuals who may have retired are being forced back to work.
“Whether they’ve been laid off, had a family emergency or simply can’t survive on their retirement income, many older people desperately need to find a job or return to work,” said Sandra Nathan, senior vice president for the NCOA, a Washington-based think tank that examines trends and issues affecting older Americans.
Randal Pinkett, CEO of BCT Partners, an information technology and management consulting firm in Newark and the author of the best selling book, Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness, said African-Americans need to update and amend past financial strategies and goals in order to maintain wealth. “African-Americans who cling to strategies that worked in the past will likely feel frustrated as they progress at a snail’s pace or, worse, lose ground in the future,” he said. “We must redefine the game now. We still face tremendous challenges.”
Finally, while it may be difficult to locate a large number of young, African- American couples who are planning to retire early, a few do exist. For example, Andre’ and Yohance Jackson of Washington, D.C. are each in their late thirties and work as government contractors. The couple has been married for eight years and plan on leaving corporate America financially secure come retirement time. “We would like to travel around the world once we retire,” Andre Jackson said. “By carefully planning our financial future now and remaining virtually debt free, we’ll be able to retire when we’re 60.” To view the complete AARP retirement study, visit the web site www.aarp.org/ny.