May 13, 2024

The idea of stepping away from work and into retirement is becoming an unaffordable “luxury” south of the border, reports Business Insider.

Many older Americans, the article notes, are in “tough financial straits,” and “the decline of pensions and the rise of student-loan debt are contributing to the retirement crisis.”

As a result, many Americans in their 70s are “still punching the clock” and working.

“As much as I love my job and what I do, in my darkest private moments, I think I’m going to die in this job. I’m going to die in this office because I have no way to get out,” says Marcia, a senior in her mid-70s, in the article.

Medical bills left over from her late husband’s care are part of the reason she’s still working, Business Insider notes.

Marcia is one of many retirees who feel left behind by the American dream’s promise that a life of hard work would be rewarded with years of rest. Now, as with many traditional economic milestones, retirement has become a luxury reserved only for those who can afford it. More people over 65 are working as pensions disappear, people live longer, and Social Security benefits are seemingly always in peril,” the article continues.

The declining availability of workplace pensions in the U.S. is definitely part of the problem, the article notes.

“Just under 20 per cent of Americans 65 and older were employed in 2023, up from 11 per cent in 1987,” the article reports, citing research from Pew. And it may be that more older people are working because they have no alternative, the article points out.

“In 2007, 21 per cent of low-income households had a retirement account balance; by 2019, that fell to 10 per cent, according to an analysis from the Government Accountability Office. And as younger generations try to save while also paying off homes and student loans, it might only worsen,” Business Insider tells us.

The article introduces us to Steve Biddle, 69, who “lives in a small, low-income apartment in North Carolina” and who is “worried that at some point, he’ll become infirm and unable to work.”

“I’m scared to death of the possibility of homelessness. I don’t think I could handle that very well,” he tells Business Insider. “I think I’ll always be able to have a place to be, but there are so many homeless folks my age that it scares me to death.”

The article concludes with some American realities that are somewhat the same here – if there’s not a good workplace savings plan, and you don’t have enough to save on your own, and government pension benefits are modest, then indeed you will probably continue to work well past traditional retirement age.

If having guaranteed retirement income is a priority for you, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan has a range of annuity products available as retirement option. All provide you with monthly income for life. Some options also provide benefits for a surviving spouse or beneficiary. SPP is open to any Canadian with RRSP room, so if you don’t have a pension plan at work, SPP is an option worth exploring.

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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