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Older Canadians delaying retirement could benefit workplaces

Survey about working seniors released same-day as Finance Minister's repackaged supports announcement.

Thursday June 16, 2022 | NATIONAL

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends


It’s hardly a secret that many people in their 60s and even their 70s are still working. This is not a new phenomenon.

In particular since the impact of the 2008 economic crash, many people who were living close to the line or who had no retirement savings found themselves at the mercy of creditors and job or business instability.

Today the results of a new survey called ‘Retirement Interrupted’ (which would be more correctly named Retirement Rescheduled) were released.

Federal government supports:

Also, today federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivered a repackaged announcement about supports for income-impacted Canadians (including families and seniors), that were already in the 2022 Budget announced in April.

chrystia freeland, finance minister
Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland reannounced fiscal supports, June 16, 2022 in Toronto.

Increases tied to the rate of inflation will be issued to recipients of the Canada Child Benefit, GST rebate, Old Age Security (for those over 75, which leaves people age 65 to 75 still presumptively in the workforce), and Guaranteed Income Supplement (for lowest-income seniors).

There will also be a $500 one-time payment to renters to help with the cost of living.

The already-announced promise of $10-a-day child care was included in Freeland’s speech today. That will help families with children.

But a good chunk of Canadians are caught in the middle of all of these announcements — they have modest to middle-range incomes, they may or may not own a home, they aren’t seniors, and they may not have young children requiring child care.

Adaptations by seniors and workplaces:

Seniors who expected to retire perhaps in their early 60s are having to reevaluate their income options, within various realities like the cost of housing, the degree of opportunities for employment, and their capabilities from a health perspective.

older worker, home office
Older worker in home office.

The workforce may be finding new opportunities if the create jobs that better suit older persons, while at the same time bringing the benefit of wisdom and long-working-years expertise into businesses of all sizes. This makes more sense than trying to place seniors into jobs that require too much physical exertion or high-end computer skills.

“One of the things about growing old, is you become lived history,” said a local school trustee recently (Bob Phillips, SD62 School Trustee, June 14, 2022).

Older workers can provide continuity as other staff retire, or come and go mid-career. Many offices lose a great deal of internal office intel (with spin-off effects to suppliers and associates) when people leave companies and don’t leave any continuity notes behind.

Working from home:

In fact, the realization during COVID — for many workers and workplaces — that working from home is productive and provides good life balance, should be capitalized on now as the economy adapts in this decade.

Older workers would be ideally suited to working from home while contributing to the active workplace remotely and/or part-time in pesron.

Survey results:

The survey announced today looked at workers age 55+, but today age 55 is hardly ‘old’ for most people — both in terms of health and also income-generating expectation.

Commissioned by Bromwich+Smith and Advisorsavvy, the survey results show that half of older Canadians (54%) have delayed retirement because of mounting inflation and cost of living this year alone.

Retirement Interrupted, the first of a two-part series conducted by Angus Reid (1,515 Canadians), puts a 2022 lens on the financial challenges of the 55+ cohort as they get set to launch into the third act of life.

Four-in-10 older Canadians have delayed (or plan to delay) their retirement because they have too much debt, while 62 per cent have delayed retirement because they don’t have enough savings or investments.

Retirement Interrupted: Reasons for delayed retirement
Canadians 55+

I have delayed (or plan to delay) my retirement because I don’t have enough savings/investments

62

%
I have delayed (or plan to delay) my retirement because of rising inflation/cost of living this year
54

%

I have delayed (or plan to delay) my retirement because I have too much debt
40%

I have delayed (or plan to delay) my retirement because my children still require financial support
26%

I have delayed (or plan to delay) my retirement because I love my job too much to quit
23%

I have delayed (or plan to delay) my retirement because of the COVID-19 pandemic
21%

I have delayed (or plan to delay) my retirement because I am taking care of my partner/spouse
13%

I have delayed (or plan to delay) my retirement because I am taking care of a parent or other family member
10%

Compounded by COVID economy demands:

“Canadians are all feeling a bit exhausted from the last two years, between multiple waves of COVID-19 and a tattered economy,” said Laurie Campbell, Director, Client Financial Wellness at Bromwich+Smith. “For those close to retirement, 2022 might seem like the best year to do so. But with inflation still high and bank accounts and retirement savings being depleted, it might be wise to ask yourself, can I retire in 2022?”

Back to the survey, older Canadians were also asked about their retirement expectations and fears of possible scenarios including never being able to retire (63% were worried about this), running out of money after they retire (something feared by 71%), or having to go back to work to afford the cost-of-living increases (24%).

The affordability of getting old: Money and retirement
Canadians 55+

I am worried about running out of money after I retire
71%

I worry I will never have enough money to retire
63%

I expect to retire within 5 years
54%

I expect to retire within 10 years
49%

I will have to sell my house in order to retire
25%

I am worried I will have to go back to work to afford the cost of living
24%

“The results of the survey are somewhat dispiriting,” said Solomon Amos, founder of Advisorsavvy. “There have been economic shocks throughout time, but the last couple years have tested many people, and put the importance of proper retirement planning into plain view.”