55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal: Your Guide to a Better Life

55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal: Your Guide to a Better Life

by Elizabeth White


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A practical plan for the millions of people in their fifties and sixties who find themselves out of work, unable to find a job, and financially incapable of retiring, Elizabeth White shows how to get past any blame or shame, overcome denial, and find a path to a new normal.

Elizabeth White has an impressive resume, which includes advanced degrees from Harvard and Johns Hopkins and a distinguished employment history. She started a business that failed and then tried to reenter the work force in her mid-fifties, only to learn that there is little demand for workers her age. For a while Elizabeth lived in denial, but then had to adjust to her new reality, shedding the gym membership, getting a roommate, forgoing restaurant meals, and so on. She soon learned she wasn’t alone: there are millions of Americans in her predicament and worse, exhausted from trying to survive and overcome every day.

In 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal, Elizabeth invites you to look beyond your immediate circumstances to what is possible in the new normal of financial insecurity. You’re in your fifties and sixties, and may have saved nothing or not nearly enough to retire. It’s too late for blame or shame—and it wouldn’t help anyway. What you want to know is what you can do now to have a shot at a decent retirement.

“This relevant and well-researched book will appeal not only to those 55 plus, but to the generation coming right behind them who may face similar issues” (Booklist, starred review). 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal is a must-have for anyone whose income has suddenly diminished or even disappeared. “Providing practical solutions with a focus on retirement and maximizing savings, White maintains authority with a realistic, empathetic tone throughout. This deeply useful work will resonate with aging readers of all income levels and situations” (Publishers Weekly). If you’re ready to get serious about feeling good again, this book is for you.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501196836
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 01/28/2020
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 592,185
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth White is an author and aging solutions advocate for older adults facing uncertain work and financial insecurity. Most recently she served as Special Advisor to the Executive Director of Senior Service America. Before joining SSA, she was the Chief Operating Officer of a midsize nonprofit focused on improving economic conditions in Africa. She is also an entrepreneur, having cofounded and led a chain of decorative home stores in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York. She began her career in international development at the World Bank. Ms. White earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Masters in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and a BS in Political Science from Oberlin College. She resides in Washington, DC, with her daughter and grandson.

Table of Contents

Author's Note: About Me 1

Preface You Know Her 7

Chapter 1 Lost, Ashamed, and Shell-shocked 9

Chapter 2 Old-school Wisdom from an Elderly Black Woman 23

Chapter 3 Shock and Awe: You Call This Retirement? 29

Chapter 4 After a Lifetime of Work, How Did We Land Here? 45

Chapter 5 Grabbing Denial by the Lapels 63

Chapter 6 Smalling Up: Rethinking Limits, Lack, and Deprivation 79

Chapter 7 Circling the Drain 99

Chapter 8 Borrowing Money from Family and Friends 121

Chapter 9 The Changing World of Work 131

Chapter 10 Thinking Outside the Box Country 171

Chapter 11 Retirement Security Requires Housing Security 191

Chapter 12 Strategic Responses to Housing 225

Conclusion 239

Acknowledgments 241

Notes 243

Index 255

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