Not so long ago financial advisers would use the term the 3- legged retirement stool to refer to a person’s most common sources of retirement income:

  • Employer Pensions
  • Social Security
  • Personal Savings

Now, if you have been paying attention to social security reform, changes to employer sponsored pension plans, and the reality that so few North Americans actually save for retirement, then you are aware that a 30-45-year career is not going to support a 30-year retirement.

According to Kerry Hanon, an expert specializing in work transitions for those 50 and older,

“work has become a pillar of retirement plans”.

Richard Johnson, the Director of the Urban Institute’s program on retirement policy, agrees. He explains that because we are living longer and healthier lives, people should start thinking of working beyond the age of 65 to increase savings.

In addition to the financial benefit, work also provides an arena for social gatherings, intellectual stimulation, status, and a sense of accomplishment.

All golden nuggets!

Retirees don’t realize that replacing these work benefits is not so easy to do in retirement.

The value of a working retirement

While it is true that many retirees work for financial reasons, there is a segment of the population that chooses to work because it provides structure to one’s life, meaning to one’s day and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

The key is to PREPARE for this next stage of life.

And if you want to work beyond the age of 65 you need to ensure that your skills are up to date.

Don’t think that your knowledge and experience makes finding employment in the latter years a sure-fire bet – it isn’t.

Sadly, ageism is alive and well in both the United States and Canada making it harder for older workers to land their desired jobs.

And friends, age discrimination starts as young as 45 years old!

Yes, you read that correctly.

Other reasons to consider a working retirement

Your health, the health of your spouse and aging parents all factor in being able to work in retirement.

People often leave work at an earlier age than anticipated to care for a family member in need.

And of course, don’t be shocked that your earnings will most likely be reduced due to decreased working hours and reduced wages.

Few of us land our dream jobs in our 60’s and 70’s.

Be sure to check out my post on bridge work and working in retirement,“I had to surrender and get off my throne” – advice for boomers seeking bridge employment. And don’t forget to watch Elizabeth’s White’s ted talk. Her incredibly moving story will make you rethink work.

Going back into the workforce after you retire my friend makes it harder to land the same status job that you held prior to exiting.

So where does that leave you?

Get educated!

  • What options are available to you at your current workplace?
  • Tell your employer you want to continue working beyond the age of 65
  • Retool and reskill to maintain your competitive edge
  • Rethink other ways to generate income

Consider working for yourself?

One of the latest employment trends in North America is self-employment for older workers.

According to the Kauffman Foundation in the United States, 26% of new entrepreneurs were between the ages of 55-64 in 2015.

A Statistics Canada survey conducted in 2014 reported that 50% of new entrepreneurs fall into then 50-64 age range.

Entrepreneurship is a great option for older workers.

Inspiration and Insight

Check out Richard Eisenberg’s, contributor to Forbes, interview with David Deeds, a Professor of Entrepreneurship. It’s a great read for anyone interested in entrepreneurship in their later years.

If you are American and looking to find out more about entrepreneurship in the US, contact Robert Laura. If you live in the Detroit area he will be hosting a class in October about these issues. Be sure to download his free guide how to start a business for retirement income.

For my fellow Canucks, we also have some great resources here at home.

Wise Seniors in Business has excellent resources for those thinking about jumping on to the entrepreneurship train.

WISE founder and Canada’s leading expert on senior entrepreneurship, Wendy Mayhew, will show you the ropes. Be sure to check out her site and download her free business guide.

Prepare, Prepare and Prepare some more!

I often tell my clients that there has never been a better time in the history of the world to be retired.

However, the sooner you start to plan for your third age, the more options you will have available to you.

To your retirement success!

Dr. Gill