Why some older Canadians choose to keep working

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There was a time when most people felt old by the time they reached age 65.

Thankfully, that’s less common these days. Where most people’s work was once physically demanding, our economy has shifted to what economists and sociologists call knowledge-based jobs.

That change gives more people the option to work longer, which can be helpful if they’re behind on their retirement savings.

It also leaves many Canadians who reach their early 60s with a decision: whether to retire at 65 or stay in the workforce. Or, perhaps they might even start a second career that takes them in a new direction, or set up as a consultant to the industry they’ve just left.

Part of the answer can be found by looking closely at your personal economic circumstances. If you haven’t saved enough to retire at 65, examine your spending patterns and savings to determine if it’s more financially practical to retire at 70 or 72.

You might also consider staying in the workforce but reducing your hours so that you have income to take long-planned trips, make needed home improvements before your income decreases from its current level, or finish paying off the mortgage on a home or cottage.

In many ways, age really is just a number.

The traditional age-65 retirement was established in the 19th century – when a large percentage of the population never reached that age. It remained a standard for decades, since average life expectancies hovered around the mid-70s throughout most of the 20th century.

But now, with average life expectancies ready to reach into the 80s, it may no longer make sense for people to plan to hang up their tools at 65.

Remaining in the workforce can allow you to save more for the time when you’ll eventually want to retire. What’s more, work you enjoy can add meaning to your day and you may view it as a good alternative to decades of unstructured free time.

You, of course, are the one who knows when it’s best to start retirement. But, unlike prior generations, Canadians heading towards retirement today have more options.


CPP Investment Board, Investing Today for Your Tomorrow.

The content on this site is provided for information purposes only. CPPIB is not a financial advisor, and the content on this site does not provide financial advice. Every person’s financial planning needs are different. For advice on how you should prepare financially for retirement, please consult a credentialed professional financial advisor.

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