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Making Waves

Working Seniors


By Ross Kentner

For someone who has lived a pretty ordinary life, I was surprised when people exactly like me were described as trendsetters.  It's not the clothes we wear or the cars we drive.  Trendsetters for what is dubbed, "the era of delayed retirement."  Today, 30 per cent of men aged 70 are still working.  So are 17% of women.  Those figures are for 2015 but this is a trend, remember...they're going up, not down.  In 1995, just 10 per cent of seniors worked and that's when a 15-year trend since 1980 bottomed out. 

So what happened in the last 20 years?

  • The percentage of workers covered by a company pension plan fell dramatically

  • Many seniors are helping their adult children financially.  

  • Rates of returns on investments continue to be historically low

  • Rising divorce rates add to financial pressure.

Beyond that, we have probably underestimated the accelerating pace of aging in Canada's population.  For the first time, seniors outnumber children 14 and under.  Doug Norris, chief demographer at Environics says it's starting to have a bigger and bigger impact with profound implications for everything.  

All that said, we're living longer, healthier lives that have to be funded somehow. If you're lucky enough to like your job, work and health go hand in hand.

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