January 18, 2021

Your retirement may include work – and quite a bit of it

Writing in the Financial Post, financial expert and columnist Jason Heath suggest cutting ties with work is no longer synonymous with the term “retirement.”

He notes that things have changed since the first pension plan was rolled out in Germany back in 1889. At that point, he writes, the state decided to look after former workers (via a pension) once they reached age 70. The goal was to free up jobs for younger workers, Heath notes.

However, in those days, the average German died around age 70, “so German retirement tended to be short-lived.” By comparison, he points out, Canadians (on average) want to retire around age 64.3, and there is a 50 per cent probability that women aged 65 today will live to 90, and men to 89.

“Typical Canadian retirees should therefore plan for a retirement of more than 30 years, much longer than their late-19th-century German counterparts,” Heath writes. That’s a very long time, and that’s why Heath sees continuing some form of employment as being a key piece of the retirement puzzle.

His first thought – why not try to work at what you do now, but part-time?

“If you can do a phased retirement, transitioning to part time, it can be a great option to dip your toes into the retirement pool slowly,” he explains. Continuing to work a bit will put less strain on your retirement savings – or allow you to build more, the thinking goes.

Another option is to take the knowledge you gained while at work, and offer consulting services for companies in your field. This idea can offer you a little more flexibility – you can set your own hours – and by working for several companies you will meet some new people.

A third idea – work, but at something else, maybe something that you did a long time ago and really liked.

“What did you enjoy doing when you were younger, maybe even as a child? There may be some clues here as to what new job you should consider in retirement,” he tells us. Save with SPP remembers the good old days of working, as a student, at a large hardware store, cutting curtain rods and window blinds – could such a second career be on the agenda?

If you don’t really need extra money, but want to still feel part of a team, Heath says volunteering may be your work of choice. “Sometimes volunteer work can be more lucrative in non-monetary ways than any job during your career,” he explains.

Heath says a little work at the front end of retirement won’t just help you financially, but it will boost your mental health and keep you engaged. “Some of the happiest and healthiest retirees I have met are still quite busy in retirement, whether they are in their 50s or 80s. This is one of the most important lessons I have learned during my own career, and something I imagine as I envision my own retirement,” he concludes.

Are you looking to increase your retirement savings as the golden years approach? A great all-in-one Swiss army knife for retirement can be the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, which is celebrating 35 years of operations this year. The SPP allows you to save any way you like – a lump sum, a regular automated contribution from your bank; you can even contribute with your credit card. But there’s more than just saving with SPP. Experts will invest your nest egg over the years, at a very low rate, and at retirement, those hard-saved dollars can be converted to a lifetime pension you’ll receive every month. Be sure to check out SPP!

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Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

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