Did you know that according to the Stats Canada report from 2018, over 30% of the people aged 60 and above worked or were looking for work? Over fifty percent of these older adults who were working or looking for work did it only out of necessity. Freedom 55 is just a wishful desire on the horizon as more and more people are now working past their fifties and sixties. Several factors may have contributed to an increase in labor market participation among older people like high life expectancy leads to the need for money for a greater period. More years of good health means you can go out and do those activities, take up less physically demanding jobs so that people can now work with less mobility.

Our guest, Chris is a senior economist contributor at the market place, in American public media’s nationally syndicated public radio for business and economy programs. He’s an economics commentator for Minnesota Public Radio and host of its series, Conversations on the Creative Economy. Chris is a columnist for PBS Next Avenue and the Star Tribune. Chris has been doing this for over twenty-five years, with a great experience.

Why don’t older adults want to retire in the normal, traditional way anymore?

There are a couple of reasons and it centers around the statistics you read at the beginning of the article. There are some positive forces as well as some negative ones. On the positive side of things, people now live longer, live better, live healthier, and live better educated. There are certain changes in our economy that makes it easier to work longer.

Back in the 1950s or 1960s, the economy was majorly dominated by smokestack industries; mining, farming, fishing, etc. Industries like these are tough industries and physically demanding. Today our economies are dominated by different services like healthcare, education. It is much easier to be working in a medical diagnostics office than it is to be working in a coal mine. Another perk of working which is quite underappreciated is that the workplace is also a social institution; people care whether or not you show up, you gossip, a workplace becomes your second home eventually. It’s a community, you know you have to get up in the morning and take a shower, have coffee and get yourself dressed and get yourself to work and so, the demands of this community, the physical and mental demands of this community are essentially good for health. Hence the community aspect of working longer is extremely important.

On the negative side and this is particularly true most of the developed countries, people haven’t saved enough money for their retirement. So, for them, working longer means that they will have more money to live the quality of life that they desire to be living. It is particularly severe in the US because there are a lot of people there who don’t have any retirement savings plan through their employers. So, they have to be reliant on social security. In instances like this, they would prefer working for a longer period so that they’ll have income coming in till they are able to save up enough for their future years.

The fact that so many people haven’t saved much for retirement is not because they went to the mall and couldn’t resist spending on the latest thing. Life is expensive, kids are expensive, owning a home is expensive, all the things that come with living a good life are costly. So, it’s not surprising that people don’t have a whole lot of savings as they’re nearing those traditional retirement years. So, they take it all together and think, “One way to deal with both. The fact that we’re better educated and healthier and living longer and the fact that we need more money is to keep working.”

We at, All Things Seniors, love to help our readers and listeners with these updates so that they have time to age gracefully and live a dignified life.