55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal

Lizzy White

Elizabeth White calls herself the “poster child for broke baby boomers.” It’s not a moniker you would expect for this attractive, sixty-something lady with advanced degrees from Harvard and Johns Hopkins.

But it happened. After a distinguished career living in places like Paris and Gambia, West Africa, and working for the likes of the World Bank, White ended up (in her words) “55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal.”

When the shock of not getting any responses to her resume wore off, she looked around and noticed that there were millions of others in the same predicament. Not only were good-paying job prospects bleak for aging boomers, their 401(k)’s were woefully inadequate, and, therefore, quickly depleted.

White has stats to back it up. “According to the Federal Reserve, the median amount in 401(k) savings for all working households was $2,500, factoring in all those zeros for households with no savings at all. For near-retirement households age 55 to 64, the median account balance was $14,500.”

But White has not surrendered to victimhood. She says her book is about “how we can learn from one another and share what we know. It’s about the practical steps we can take to secure ourselves in our fourth quarter.”

White says she may be broke, but she is not broken. She admonishes readers to stop mourning and start managing their losses.

How does one do that? White offers a number of practical steps, including “smalling-up” (figuring out what you can afford and getting rid of the rest) and forming “reliance circles” (a small group of friends to “support each other and to discuss issues on aging and living a good life on limited income”).

In addition, she suggests what I do in my book—developing multiple income streams (things like Uber driving and hosting a bnb) to help make up the shortfall. White’s list of examples is the best I’ve seen and the book is worth its price for that alone (chapter 9).

55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal is available on Amazon.com.




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