Now that I’ve turned 70 I don’t have to feel guilty about being retired. I don’t have to pay attention to all those economic pundits who keep saying that I screwed up Canada’s economy by retiring early. They maintain that productivity will suffer and we’ll all lose if all those hard working boomers stop at 65 or – God forbid – earlier than that.
In the US, a survey by Merrill Edge concluded that close to 65% of working boomers want to carry on past 65. But how many actually do? Survey says: (wait for it) 17%. All those folks who haven’t planned to retire – either mentally or financially – may be in for a shock.
There are some things that have to go right for you – and some you can control, some you can’t:
- You have to be in a job where you won’t age out – be a human resources person, a French teacher, something in STEM, a health care worker, a pharmacist – it’s not good to be a roofer or professional dancer.
- Don’t work at something that can be outsourced, automated, or is becoming obsolete – not promising if you’re a letter carrier, a librarian or a linotype operator.
- Stay healthy – there are a lot of physical and mental problems that can hit you in your 60s – or a loved one might need care as a result of something catastrophic.
- Be an extrovert – these folks find the social aspects of their job stimulating and want to keep going – as well they tend to be more optimistic. Early retirement seems to be the goal of introverts, who will often sacrifice a lot financially while they are working to make it happen.
- Hope your company doesn’t pull the rug out from under you. Every factory but one that I’ve ever worked in has been closed and all the jobs are gone now. Even a mighty research facility like Unilever Vlaardingen (seen above) will close in a couple of years. They won’t leave the Netherlands, but a lot of positions will be eliminated. You can bet they’ll be the older higher priced folks that get chopped.
- If you still have a job – even if uncertain – you’ll want to stay in it. Leaving for retirement or to look for something part time is a guarantee you won’t be working again in your field. If you fancy a job as a Wal-Mart greeter, A&W cook or Home Depot clerk for sure get out there.
- Maybe you can start a part time or even full time business – but do your research. Make sure you have a business plan that makes sense, or some secondary income. There are a lot of “consultants” out there doing diddly.
As for me – well I retired when it made sense. We’ve been OK financially and we’ve enjoyed our grandchildren.
I’ve had 12 years living in a great part of Ontario, and that is a bonus I would never have expected to happen. I’ve been lucky.
Maybe I’m not contributing a lot to the economy but I try to keep learning, write my blog, and help others out with their IT problems for free.
I think the Canadian economy can get by without whatever feeble productivity I could muster today. If not – God help us.