Retirement Isn’t in Our Vocabulary

black headset hanging on black and gray microphone

“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Attributed to various sources from Confucius to Mark Twain

“When do you think you’ll retire?” We get that question a lot. And it’s a reasonable one. Derek is older than the traditional retirement age. The average age of retirement for Canadian men is 65.5 years. For women, it’s 63.6 years. I’m not there yet. And we work for ourselves, which means it’s up to us to decide when we’ll stop. Perhaps when we get tired of the long commute to the basement. Or when our knees no longer allow us to do the stairs.

Many of our friends are retired. They’ve worked in traditional 9-5 jobs or they ran their own businesses. At a certain point they decided they had had enough. Our plan is to keep going. It’s mostly because we love the work, but also, who doesn’t want a little extra jingle in their jeans? And voice-over is something we can continue to do regardless of our ages, as long as our voices hold up.

Most Canadians approaching retirement won’t have a choice about whether or not to work past the end of their regular career. Or they’ll need to make deep cuts in their lifestyles to afford to stop working. A survey by Deloitte released this week finds only 14% of upcoming retirees are confident that they will live comfortably. They’re saving money for future care needs. Most others will have to make big changes to make their money last. We’re talking about middle class adults who have saved at least something for their old age.

The Government’s Contributions

Everyone seems to have a different take on Canada Pension Plan – CPP. You’re eligible at 60 but many people delay it so they’ll get a bigger payment once they opt in. I’m of a different mindset. It’s my philosophy that I could get mowed down by a bus or taken out another way at any moment. That’s my money, I paid into it, and I’d like to receive it now, thank you. To each their own.

And then there’s Old Age Security that kicks in at 65. That’s non-negotiable – you must take it! At age 75, it goes up by 10%. These benefits are great but the government sure hopes you’ve got RRSPs or another income source. Deloitte’s survey shows about one-million adults in this country will have to rely on government benefits alone. When costs go up, they might have to make tough decisions. Gold watches and fat pensions simply don’t exist for a lot of people. They certainly aren’t available to the self-employed.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world that hasn’t raised the age of retirement. It’s still 65. The US is moving it to 67 by 2027. In Ireland it’s 66, Portugal 68, Italy 71, and in the Netherlands it’s 74. It’s to compensate for longer life spans. When seniors access benefits later in life, the money will last longer. The Netherlands has one of the richest government pensions in the world.

The Bank of Montreal says we need $1.7-million to retire with. I had to stifle a guffaw. Although, they did suggest that we can count our real estate in that amount. It’s still way beyond the means of more than half of Canadians. Sheesh, “our” kids are struggling to buy a home or pay rent and many parents are helping them if they can. The parents’ own needs take a backseat.

Derek and I mention gratitude every day. We love what we do and we are so thankful that we can do it. It ebbs and flows. We have the ability to take time off when we want it, which we never take for granted. Some clients are gems and others are super annoying. In other words, it’s a job! But it’s a job where we can be as busy or as idle as we’d like. Whether we are working as a team, or on our own projects, true retirement isn’t our game plan. We’ll just have to see whether fate plays along.

10 thoughts on “Retirement Isn’t in Our Vocabulary”

  1. The Harper government tried to tinker with the RRIF by adjusting the age on which you were required to convert your RRSP to a RRIF which the Liberals changed back when they took power.

    The idea basically was good, but the approach was wrong. Deductions from an RRIF is based on the age difference between your age and 94 and thus each year’s deductions increased but with the population increasingly living beyond 100 this base number was what needed adjusted to at least 98 if not 100.

    If you want to commit political suicide muck with pensions. It can be done, just not by a politician!

  2. Lissa and I just had a discussion on taking CPP early or waiting. She’s going to wait. Part of me wonders if there will be enough CPP down the road.

    $1.7 million to retire didn’t seem so bad until I realized that amount was per person! 😆

    Great article Lisa!

  3. I’m kind of the opposite… if I had the finances to retire today, I would. I’m getting burnt out; my fault, because I don’t know how to say “no”, plus I have freelance stuff on top of full time work. I take on the extra work, so I can save up for when the industry decides that they’re done with me. It’s rare that women stay on in radio to 65, but hey… maybe that’ll change for this generation.(?)
    As for CPP, if I think I’ll take it at 60 as well; my Dad passed away at 62, and didn’t bother, because in his mind, he was a long way from retiring. He loved his job so much and was his own boss! Since we’re not guaranteed time, I’d love some of that money back sooner rather than later!

    1. I hear you Stacey. I couldn’t imagine being allowed to stay in radio until the traditional retirement age. It felt a lot better to decide to leave on my own, not necessarily just because of that, but it didn’t hurt!

  4. I took early CPP and have never regretted it. While I also get OAS, I continue to work from my laptop and have the choice of taking time off whenever I want, which is a nice feeling. I had the same mindset as you do, I paid into CPP and life always throws us a curve.

    1. Interesting question, Dan. I used to blog seven days a week. Then five. Now two. And there are days when I think I’m going to put up an Under Construction sign because nothing has grabbed me enough to make me want to write about it! But it’s still a valuable outlet for me and I enjoy doing it.

      So… I guess my answer is that I don’t know!

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