Mandatory retirement does not exist anymore. There was a time when forced people into retirement because they were old. This happened 40 to 50 years ago when retirement happened at 65 and we statistically lived till 70. Retirement was the last stage in life when we relaxed and did nothing.
Times have changed a lot. Mandatory retirement does not exist and now the retiree is younger than we’ve ever seen. Not just younger by age but more importantly physically and mentally younger. Today’s retiree is capable of living healthy active lives and may live 10 to 30 years after retirement.
Retirement is about choice
As a result, retirement is more about choice and freedom. Retirement is supposed to be something we choose to do. Retirement is something we plan to do. According to the RBC Retirement Myths and Realities Poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid, 85 per cent of Boomers with more than $100,000 in financial assets believe they will retire on their own terms.
For many people, retirement is a choice but not for everyone. According to the same poll only 62 per cent of Baby Boomers made the choice when to retire. That means 38% did not choose their retirement date due to downsizing, job loss or health issues. What was really shocking was that 20 per cent of those forced to retire had one month notice or less about leaving the workforce permanently. An estimated 42 per cent had no more than six months notice before they retired.
Critical importance of planning and preparation
This study reminds us that anything can happen and life can throw curve balls at us. In my opinion, this study highlights the importance of retirement planning. Planning is simply looking into the future to make the future as predictable as possible.
Some leave retirement to chance and while that outcome can sometimes work out, it’s better to have a plan to create more security and certainty. It’s not perfect but it is better to have a plan than to not have a plan.
Many people have a bad case of retirement anxiety. Anxiety often comes from a lack of clarity and too much uncertainty. Planning helps to alleviate this anxiety by planning a future outcome.
Health is important too
Health and wellness can play a big role when deciding to leave the workforce. In fact, health was cited as the most important reason followed by saving enough money and being unhappy at work. Pre-retirees need to incorporate healthy living plans into their retirement plans.
More than half of retired workers over the age of 55 have been diagnosed with three or more chronic conditions — including high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis — according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Similar to RBC's findings, one in four retired Canadians cited poor health as the reason they left the workforce, shows the CCPA's Working After Age 65 report.
For most people, we look forward to retirement because it’s supposed to be the best years of our lives. Having our health is very important to these golden years. Without your health, it’s hard to imagine a fun, busy, active and independent lifestyle.
If you want to be more in control of your retirement, be sure to plan ahead and work on your health.