My short response to "how chemists keep their jobs past 50" is to go "academic". Let me briefly explain. As part of a corporate acquisition several decades ago, I along with several hundred other drug discovery scientists were laid off (aka fired). I was 49 at the time and wanted my next job to be such that I had some control of when I retired.
I decided the only way to keep doing science and retire under more or less my terms was to go the academic route. There is no question that getting grants, tenure and good students was challenging at the beginning but after a few years, I was doing the science I wanted to do with more or less no boss(es).
After several decades of doing the job of my dreams, I got sick of the cold wintry weather and being far away from my kids/grandkids and decided to retire at 70+. At my exit interview, a high-level HR representative asked me why on earth I am retiring. How's that for feeling "loved"?
If my university employer were in, for example, Florida or Arizona and my kids/grandkids lived close by, I would still be employed.Thanks to Anon for their contribution. Readers, have a story of staying a chemist after 50 to contribute? Write in to firstname.lastname@example.org; confidentiality and final publication decision is yours.