Will you retire or keep working?

Stats Canada says that those who are 50 when asked about their retirement plans say that they plan to stay working until 64 and a bit. That is their intention. It may be their reality but, for some, a health concern of their own or that of a loved one may put a detour in that plan. For others, a layoff, a pink slip, a relocation, a disappearing position, or a tempting package will cause the required recalibration. The latter as a reason for retirement has doubled in the last few years. Retirement can be the best of times or the worst of times depending on the circumstances and attitudes of the retirees.

Related article: Is retirement really the best years of your life?

Those who have controlled their love of spending lived within their means, and/or started saving early in their lives, tend to be happier and less stressed when contemplating the gift of modern times, their retirements. Circumstances and human nature often throw a monkey wrench into retirement plans, however. Many boomers are underfunded. Situations like grey divorce, low returns on investment over the last decade, health issues, the high life, the sandwich generation squeeze, as well as career interruptions, have put many in the position of having to keep on working for some time.

“I’m never going to retire!”

I hear this more and more. A healthy 60-year-old has a 50% chance of making it to 90 years of age. Can you really see yourself at 85 doing what you do now? The good news and the bad news are the same here…you could live a long time! That is why I take the never retire idea with a grain of salt. Retirement may be delayed for financial realities or because work is what makes life great for some, but, at some point, a change is going to come.

If you are lucky, you will retire. It is a gift. Get excited, learn new skills, try new experiences, make fun plans, and figure out how to add value to your own life, your family’s, or that of your country or community. Figure out how to relocate if that is what you wish. Lots of folks are starting businesses, using their experience and contacts to get new and different jobs, or volunteering at home or abroad. Figure out how to regenerate. Bring back a dream from earlier in your life and make it happen now. Engage in a passion that you have not had the time to up until now. Get excited by the possibilities!

Retirement can be whatever you want it to be

The new retirement is unique to each person. It is engaged, flexible, and hugely varied. It is living on a sailboat in Central America, volunteering with a fundraising campaign, building a Habitat for Humanity home, taking up a new sport, starting your own B & B, joining a band and cutting a CD, living in France for part of the year, and the options are endless when you have your health, some resources, and a good imagination. The Boomer generation has set its own pioneering paths before and is doing that again with a richness of retirement experience.

The boomerpreneur trend is happening with everything from the buying of franchises to on-line marketing start-up companies. Career fairs for older workers, 50+ career counseling and retraining, and websites like help create options for Boomers interested in new careers and skills. Creative travel options from home exchanges to working abroad show the ingenuity and inventiveness of these new retirees.

No matter how or when you retire, treat it as the gift of a new life and make the very best you can of the opportunity.


  1. Michelle

    I think I’ll just continue doing something that I love and hopefully it pays! 🙂

    • Donna McCaw

      That sounds like a great idea! That is what I am doing too. So far so good.

  2. Canadianbudgetbinder

    I’m only in my mid 30’s, mortgage paid,newer vehicles paid and just graduated (again) and am working in a job I love. One of our relatives a Lawyer is in his 70’s and going strong, loves his career..How long I will be able to do what I do is another story however there are many opportunities with my skills that I can move into different roles. I don’t know if I will retire early I’ll probably just keep on going to see where this life takes me.

  3. frank reid

    I stopped working at my career 5 years ago when I was 54. I am busier now then when I worked. I do a little contract work, write books, work in the theatre and volunteer my time. I will never retire until they pack me away in a pine box!

    • Jim Yih

      Sounds like a great life Frank! Congratulations!

  4. Pauline

    Like you say, retirement is unique for everyone. I prefer to stop the rat race early, but keep working on personal projects longer than most. If I make it this far!

  5. Meredith at Efficertain

    More and more people seem to be pushing back on the old mindset of a hard cutoff from the working years to retirement. They are looking at semi-retirement work, paying “hobbies”, passive income streams, and transitioning earlier in life from work that’s real toil to work they really enjoy. So far only a few employers are responding to this mindshift with work opportunities that suit. No doubt, with time, more employers will join in. That being said, Donna makes another excellent point that people working in “retirement” at what they are passionate about will not be able to do that forever. For most of us, there will definitely come a day when physical or mental burnout sets in and we really wind back our activity, no matter the interest we have. To plan for anything else would be naïve. Good article

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