Retirement no longer means working until age 65 and then leaving the work force permanently. Canada eliminating the mandatory retirement age of 65 and the trend of individuals living longer has created a new way of looking at retirement. This new understanding of retirement extends beyond Canada’s borders as the world’s population ages.
The reasons for choosing to retire are as diverse as the aging population. Changes in health, financial security, caring for a loved one, or losing a job are some of the reasons people decide to retire.
Leaving work may not be an option for some older adults. For those older adults who continue to work, many are doing so out of financial necessity. According to an article entitled Canadians Facing a Longer Wait for Retirement the average Canadian is working longer. Since the polling began in 2008 the most commonly reported reason for working longer has changed from “job satisfaction” to “paying for basic living expenses”.
The Conference Board of Canada report found that “almost 60 per cent of those on the cusp of retirement (55-64 years of age), and a little over 40 per cent of those aged 65+ report that they have not put enough money aside. Women and those with lower levels of household income were even less likely to have put money aside”.
There are those who intend to continue working simply because they enjoy working. An article in The Guardian highlights the stories of older adults who are still enjoying their jobs. Pat Thompson, age 73, who works on offshore oil rigs explains “I feel more tired when I am not working – I tend to sit around and go to bed early – but when I’m offshore, I am in the office by six o’clock in the morning and I’m not in bed till nine or 10 at night. I thrive on that – I don’t know why. My grandchildren say I am mad, but I’m not one for housework or knitting: I like working”.
An article entitled Baby Boomers Can’t Quit: Still Want to Work After They Retire opines that retirement doesn’t mean not working anymore, but rather taking on “encore careers where people finally get a chance to do something they’re passionate about”. The article suggests that “it’s now taking on the definition along the order of you’re no longer doing your primary career”.
Leaving a long-term job to retire can also result in a return to the workforce. An article entitled Most Older Workers Who Leave Career Jobs Return to Work Within a Decade: Statistics Canada explained that “of those Canadians who exited a long-term job at age 55 to 59, 60% were re-employed in some capacity within 10 years”.
With all the different ways older adults are approaching retirement the traditional model no longer exists. When and how do you plan on retiring?