Retired Marketing Executive Flips Burgers To Make Ends Meet

Dan Fastenberg
<b class="credit">Bloomberg</b>
Bloomberg

A managerial career in corporate America is supposed to provide enough of a cushion to last through retirement. But five years into the financial crisis, even workers who once earned six-digit salaries are seeking low-wage service jobs to make sure they stay afloat. As part of its series on the "Future of Retirement," Bloomberg News just profiled one such worker -- Tom Palome, who as a marketing executive worked for companies like Oral B. But at the age of 77, Palome now works part-time in low-paying service jobs making $10 an hour to demonstrate food for Sam's Club and $8 an hour flipping burgers for a golf club in Tampa, Florida.

"I earn in a week what I used to earn in an hour," he told Bloomberg.

Why does Palome need to work the low-paying jobs? According to the report, he hasn't had a major financial failing, but he has had to deal with a family crisis. Back in 1983, his wife Edna died in a car crash and so he was left to raise their three children on his own. He's also turned down offers for help; his children have said he could move in with him, but he said he preferred to remain independent.

Palome needs the work because his savings ran thin. The $90,000 he had in savings dropped to $40,000 after the financial crisis struck in 2008. "Longevity should be a blessing, but if you haven't planned for it, you're going to work much longer than you ever dreamed of doing," he told Bloomberg.