CENTER FOR GERONTOLOGY | Distinguished Speakers Series

ELIZABETH WHITE  |  Fifty-Five, Underemployed, and Faking Normal

Friday, December 6, 2019
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Krentz Center, Room 120
Concordia University Chicago
7400 Augusta Street
River Forest, Illinois

Millions of Americans in their fifties, sixties and beyond haven’t been able to save enough for retirement. The economic risks of old age are further magnified for women. For people of color, there’s a widening divide in retirement security relative to other Americans.

Living within a society that prizes success and greets failure with contempt, older adults with financial insecurity often pretend to be all right when they’re not, leading to secrecy, shame, and loneliness. We can’t begin to address what we don’t acknowledge, says author and inspirational speaker Elizabeth White. Ms. White encourages financially vulnerable older adults to “open the kimono” and risk having honest conversations.

White’s popular book, Fifty-Five, Underemployed, and Faking Normal, combines expert research and interviews with older adults to assemble a toolkit of financial, psychological, and lifestyle strategies for boomers. Ms. White offers compelling answers to the essential questions: How can we face the dissonance between our expectations and financial reality? How can we live richly textured lives on modest incomes? How can “circles of resilience” restore a sense of connection and community? What do we need in our lives to feel truly grounded and content?

Don’t miss this inspiring presentation by a thought leader and compassionate advocate for millions of midlifers who relate to the shame and fear she’s named and brought into the open.

Elizabeth White’s book, Fifty-Five, Underemployed, and Faking Normal, will be available for sale at the event. A reception and book-signing will follow the talk.

This event is free and open to the public. It is the kickoff event for the Center for Gerontology’s 2019 Holiday Camp for Seniors, which will be held on the Concordia-Chicago campus, December 6–8, 2019. 



Elizabeth White is an author and advocate for older adults who face uncertain work and financial jeopardy. Ms. White’s book, Fifty-five, Underemployed, and Faking Normal (published by Simon & Schuster), is for and about the millions of older Americans who, despite career choice and decent incomes, are facing the prospect of downward mobility in old age.

White holds a BS in Political Science from Oberlin College, an MA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA from Harvard University. After finishing business school, White became a retail entrepreneur, co-founding a chain of decorative home stores in Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New York; when that business failed, she found herself broke in her 50s.

Most recently, White served as special advisor to the executive director of Senior Service America. Previously, she was chief operating officer of a midsize non-profit focused on improving economic conditions in Africa. She began her career in international development at the World Bank.

White’s TEDx talk has drawn more than 1.7 million views; she is a three-time guest on PBS NewsHour. Her essays have appeared in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Next Avenue and The Washington Post. 

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