Will they still need you, will they still feed you, when you’re 64?

May 25, 2023

Boomers will recall what happened where our parents retired. It was literally, in most cases, getting the gold watch at 65 and leaving the workforce entirely for a leisurely life of golf, visiting relatives, the bridge club, and so on.

Turn the clock forward from the 1980s to the present, and it’s a very different story.

According to Statistics Canada, the percentage of Canadians of senior age is growing. In 2020, the agency reports, “18 per cent of the Canadian population were aged 65 and older,” a percentage expected to grow to 24 per cent by the end of the 2030s.

Our older folks “are living longer and healthier than previous generations,” and that’s one reason why more of them than ever are working or volunteering, the article notes. Stats Canada reports that 13.8 per cent of Canadian seniors were working or volunteering in 2020, up from just six per cent 20 years earlier.

Is it just health and vitality that’s keeping older folks working?

A recent H&R Block Canada survey found that 50 per cent of those surveyed planned “to have a side gig when they retire.”

That may be driven by the reality that they can’t afford to fully retire at 65, notes the media release setting out the survey results. “Fifty-two per cent don’t feel they have enough money left at the end of the month to save for their retirement,” the release notes. And only 46 per cent “feel good about their retirement strategy,” the release notes.

“Not so long ago, the traditional vision of retirement was that at around 65 years old, Canadians ‘hung up their hats’ and celebrated the end of full-time employment. Enjoying the steady income of their company/government pension, they were ready to embrace new life ventures in pursuit of the things they never previously had time for,” states Peter Bruno, President of H&R Block Canada, in the release. “What we’re seeing now is that the vision for retirement has evolved dramatically – fuelled by shifts in tax-friendly savings plan options, evolving workforce realities, the gig economy, and the prevailing economic environment.”  

An article in Business Insider suggests the rising cost of living is also a factor.

“Seniors are re-entering the workforce in growing numbers,” the article reports, citing a report from USA Today. “As inflation squeezes them out of retirement, many are taking jobs as cashiers, retail associates, and hosts at local restaurants, among other service industry jobs,” Business Insider reports.

Steve Weeks, 69, says he went back to work at a Florida restaurant because “the extra money is helpful.” The article goes on to say that older workers are seen by many as being “more dependable, displaying higher levels of punctuality, lower absenteeism, and less inclination towards job-hopping.”

There can be other, non-monetary benefits derived from working into your senior years, reports Harvard Health Publishing.

“There’s increasing evidence that the payoff of working past age 65 may go beyond income. Some studies have linked working past retirement with better health and longevity,” the article notes.

“A 2016 study of about 3,000 people, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, suggested that working even one more year beyond retirement age was associated with a nine per cent to 11 per cent lower risk of dying during the 18-year study period, regardless of health,” the article continues.

Another study found that “people who worked past age 65 were about three times more likely to report being in good health and about half as likely to have serious health problems, such as cancer or heart disease,” the article notes. Research has also established a link between working past retirement age and “a reduced risk of dementia and heart attack.”

Most of the folks we know still working at part-time or volunteer jobs cite the benefit of being part of a time, and having a purpose and sense of belonging. You do miss social interaction with workplace friends after you hang up the ID badge.

If you’re a member of the Saskatchewan Pension Plan (SPP), and plan to work beyond age 65, be aware that the plan allows you to start turning savings into income as late as late as age 71. So if you work after turning 65, you can still contribute to your SPP pension nest egg for another six years. It’s another helpful feature of SPP, which has helped deliver retirement security since 1986.

Another great bit of news — SPP members can now make annual contributions equal to their available registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) room! There is no longer an annual limit on how much you can contribute to SPP, and as well, there is no limit on how much you can transfer into SPP from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP). SPP retirement saving is now limitless!

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

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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