Thinking You’ll Cruise into Retirement? Think Again!

Steve McDonald By Steve McDonald, Bond Strategist, The Oxford Club



If you’re planning to work in retirement, you’ll want to listen up to today’s Two-Minute Retirement Solution. It may be time to consider nontraditional job opportunities available to seniors.

But first, take a look at this quote I recently came across:

     There will be delays, setbacks and gruesome accidents, some people will call for putting an end to this. And others will refuse to use them. But this is happening.

That should make you sit up and take notice! The “gruesome” part is what caught my attention.

What’s the writer referring to? Driverless cars.

Yes, the idea of self-driving cars ruling the roads instead of taxis, Ubers, limos and semitrucks armed with drivers. And by “semi,” I’m talking about the big 18-wheel tractor-trailers.

This technology is especially significant to the retired population because a growing number of retirees make extra cash by driving limos and taxis or working for a ride-sharing service like Uber. And truck driving is gaining in popularity with seniors, too.

Just a year or two ago, Uber reported that nearly one-fourth of its drivers were 50 or older. And half of Uber’s drivers reported having no experience driving for hire before signing on with the ride company.

At the end of 2014, Uber reportedly employed 160,000 drivers. That number has probably grown over the last two years, but one-quarter of 160,000 means there were about 40,000 retirement-aged drivers.

That’s a lot of retired or nearly retired people who would be put out of work by driverless cars – from just one company in one industry.

Uber has already started a test program in Pittsburgh that allows customers to order a self-driving car through the app. So, despite doubts around the concept, it’s happening.

Driverless technology will threaten 4.1 million car and truck driver jobs in the U.S. And there’s a sizeable number of retired folks working in the industry.

Placing a human being in each and every vehicle is the highest cost faced by businesses in the transportation industry. And cost-cutting drives everything, so you already know where this is going…

But here’s where it gets funny.

Right now, there’s still a person in every so-called “driverless vehicle” on the road – just in case something goes wrong.

So, if humans are being paid to supervise the self-driving cars, where are the savings?

I find it hard to believe that we’ll ever have multiton trucks on the roads with no drivers controlling them.

And any regulator or legislator who considers allowing the technology should have their families put at risk in vehicles around these behemoths. Tractor-trailers of that size are dangerous enough with drivers in them!

Some folks say this whole thing is hype and false hope, but I have news for you… If the ride-sharing and trucking industries can find a way to eliminate the biggest cost in their businesses, they’ll do it.

As far as I’m concerned, one thing is for sure: I will not get in a driverless car. So if you’re an Uber driver, you’ll have at least one customer left!

So you can add taxis, trucks and Uber (in addition to fast-food restaurants and telephone operators) to the growing list of jobs and businesses that will be wiped out by automation, computers and robots.

Good investing,