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Unstable job market

Niazi admits in her column that she knows she hasn’t chosen the most stable career as a writer and journalist.

With her economic instability, her version of a midlife crisis includes looking into getting her real estate license, researching how to become a plumber’s apprentice, and Googling which graduate degrees will bring her a “steady job that pays good and will let you retire one day with dignity.”

“I have 20 years of experience in my field at this point,” Niazi wrote. “And the majority of the time when I apply for a job, I never hear back.”

The U.S. unemployment rate is around 4%, but this doesn't mean it's easy for everyone to land a job. As CNBC reports, “the hiring rate for all workers is at 3.6% of those counted in the labor force, just off the low of the post-Covid era … Prior to the pandemic, the hiring rate was last below the current level in August 2014. It’s getting worse for younger workers.”

Older Americans are also seeing a different future than what they might have imagined. After the 2008 Great Recession’s hit to both the job market and the stock market, many middle-aged people watched their savings disappear overnight. Not only could those people not afford a midlife crisis, they realized they may not be able to afford retirement either.

Now, those middle aged people are inching closer to retirement — or already living it. Fidelity dubbed their third act the “new retirement,” one that includes working. The financial institution discovered in a recent survey that 57% of American adults plan to keep working past age 65.

Though employers have started to embrace older workers, it still means that older people don’t get to have their well-deserved, restful third act.

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Housing bubble

Niazi writes about her friend who can’t leave her bad marriage because she can’t afford a new place to rent — especially not one in their kids’ school district.

“Any single change in our jobs, homes, or health could upend our entire lives in ways that are just financially impossible,” she said.

And that’s just rent. As housing prices continue to skyrocket, the National Association of Realtors says that the median age for a first-time homebuyer is now 35-years-old — approximately the same age as someone on the cusp of a midlife crisis.

If you are one of the lucky people to buy a home, you probably don’t have a lot of money saved to buy a motorcycle or quit your job to travel. Even if you continue to rent, the median national rent for a two-bedroom apartment sits at $1,865, according to Zumper. After paying for your other necessities, many young people decry that they have no money for any kind of fun.

Niazi expresses a feeling that most midlifers can probably relate to: “I don’t need new highlights or a sports car; I just want the ability to plan for a secure future.”

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Sabina Wex is a writer and podcast producer in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, CBC and more.

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