Monday, February 3, 2014

Finding a job isn’t what it used to be

A few days ago, a couple of my grandchildren were visiting. They know that I’m in the financial services profession and that I write a column. When I asked them if there was a particular topic they wanted me to write about, one suggested Zambonis and the other said garbage trucks. Don’t worry, neither has a place in a personal finance column, but it reminded me that, years ago, my firm hosted the late Art Linkletter at one of our retirement education seminars.

In the early days of television, long before HD, Mr. Linkletter had a show with a feature called “Kids say the darndest things.” He was also one of our nation’s first retiree advocates, and famous for the quote, “Old age is not for sissies.”

Connecting the dots between the innocence of youth and retirement are the many years of being in the workforce. For many, working is a task or a chore, done for a paycheck. For others, like me, it’s not so much work as it is a passion or career.

In other words, work is more than just a paycheck. If you look beyond the news reports that show unemployment numbers going down, you’d find that there are a staggering amount of Americans who would rather be in the workforce than wringing their hands and giving up.

As parents and grandparents, we have to do our very best to prepare our families for a world that will be far more complex than we could ever imagine. When Art Linkletter first aired, there were only a few stations. Television pictures were fuzzy and in black and white. One can only imagine what TV technology will bring into our homes in the years ahead.

I recently came across a study published by which indicated that people would not only move out of state to take a job, but also that four of ten young adults factor in health care benefits in the job selection process.

I mention this because there’s an image of 30-year-olds living in the basement, dependent on the Bank of Mom and Dad. Uncle Sam is about to spend millions encouraging youth to sign up for health insurance coverage. I’m a bit baffled because the study already shows that health care coverage is important to young adults.

What doesn’t get written about often enough are the young adults who boldly leave the comfort of home for their jobs rather than live in the basement. Most of the young adults I know are driven and have no desire to remain dependent on their parents.

For example, my youngest son graduated from college in a very tight job market. He left the comforts of home to find work in Texas. He soon found it, and worked around the clock for a low wage doing some of the dirtiest jobs in the Texas oil fields.

It paid off. In just over a year, his talent and work ethic were recognized and now, just a few years later, he has climbed the corporate ladder. He’s doing so well, he can now afford to fly mom and dad in for a visit. I would like to tell my youngest son, the Texan, how proud I am and wish him a Happy Birthday.

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