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Is Retirement Becoming a Thing of the Past?

Is Retirement Becoming a Thing of the Past?


More Baby Boomers Are Saying “No” to Retirement

The key question that was asked by a baby boomer in a recent Globe and Mail article about retirement was this:

Why would you want to spend the last quarter of your life doing nothing?

Why, Indeed?

It was a question asked, as well as a sentiment shared, by many of the Canadians interviewed by Jennifer Lewington in a special article in the Globe and Mail entitled Active baby boomers rewrite the retirement myth.

Retirement is Being Redefined

Many of the “retirees” have chosen to extend their working lives beyond retirement age for three reasons.

  1. They wish to keep their minds – and themselves – active.
  2. They want to keep the money coming in and their wallets topped up – perhaps to pay off lingering debt or to be able to offer financial support to family members.
  3. Their life expectancy is going to be, most likely, longer than previous generations. (When baby boomers were born, life expectancy was 63 years, now it’s expected to be another 15-20 years – according to Nora Spinks, chief executive officer of the Vanier Institute of the Family.)
  4. They also seek the companionship and social networking a job provides.

Statistics Say…

  1. More than half (53.5%) of senior men aged 65 reported working in 2015, according to Statistics Canada, including 22.9% employed full time through the year.
  2. By comparison, 38.8% of senior women were working at age 65 in 2015, almost twice the level in 1995. As well, the proportion of females working at age 70 rose to 17.1% in 2015 – up from 6.4% in 1995.

To Be or Not to Be

Many seniors, like real estate agent Dave McMillan, say they “un-retired” twice. Dave’s now 71 years old and works as a licensed realtor in London, Ontario. This second career comes after a long work life in the banking and business sectors.

He found financial issues played some part in his decision to keep working: a separation from his wife at age 63 meant he had to provide support for her and some family members. And lately some health issues also put an added drain on his finances.

If you are not working, then money gets eaten up fairly quickly.

…he says. And, he adds:

There is too much going on. Life is too precious and I could not close up shop.

What is great at this stage of life is that, as he states:

I can go away for a week or decide I’m not going to work for the rest of the week.

After working for major non-profit organizations for 43 years, another gentleman, Bill VanGorder, chose to retire at the age of 63. His wife followed suit.

According to him, his retirement lasted a mere three months.

When you retire and your health is as good as ours is, touch wood, you want to do more than sit around the house and look out the window.

…says Mr. VanGorder, now 75. He operates a Halifax-based business with his wife Esther, 58, distributing a line of adult-fitness walking poles in Atlantic Canada.

People like Dave McMillan and the VanGorders are among a growing phenomenon: retirees who work well into their 70s and 80s. And who are enjoying their new careers with gusto!

A Fancy Name for the Phenomenon

They are rewriting what is retirement and we now refer to it as ‘career redefinement’.

…says Nora Spinks – especially as the baby-boomer generation is outliving their forebears.



About the author

Everything Retirement is passionate about creating stronger relationships with our members, clients and communities to improve their financial well-being and enrich people’s lives. We provide retirees and pre-retirees with the practical tools necessary to embark on a life of retirement with knowledge, insight and optimism.