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Former Exec, 77, Says He Earns His Old Hourly Rate In A Week

A former advertising executive's story of relying on two part-time jobs to help him get by during retirement is attracting attention and impassioned comments at Bloomberg News.

At 77, Tom Palome is a former vice president of marketing for Oral-B who paid off a mortgage and put his kids through college, Bloomberg says. But he didn't have enough savings to maintain his lifestyle in retirement, especially after the 2008 economic crisis. So he now works at a grill and at a Sam's Club in the Tampa, Fla., area.

"What I make in a week at these jobs, I probably made in an hour during the highlight of my career," Palome tells Bloomberg's Carol Hymowitz. He estimates that he earns about $10 an hour at each of his jobs.

The money from those part-time jobs isn't Palome's only income; he has a pension and receives Social Security payments. He uses that money — about $1,400 a month — to help pay for things like visits to see his grandsons, or trips to the theater.

Palome's advice for people in his position is straightforward. Be positive, he says. Respect the work you do. And get some rest.

"I'm not going to sit on my laurels and say I was an executive making six figures and traveling the world," he tells Hymowitz. "I tell people I demonstrate food and I do short-order cooking. I don't mind saying it. What's important is that I can work today."

On the Bloomberg site, one reader commented on Palome's story, "The concept of Retirement may prove to be a short-term phenomenon."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.