Introduction to Retirement

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August 21, 2018

Yes, I guess I am old enough to retire – over 80 now, but still very active. Along the way, I have learned a great deal about this process called Retirement, which I thought that I might share with you. Nobody has all the answers or the correct advice. You have to make your own decisions about what makes you happy. 

Let me tell you about how I went about retiring. Before, I left the daily grind of being involved as a CEO of a major corporation; I had been a volunteer or mentor for students at a local community college. These were the early days of computers and since I was deeply involved with technology, they were eager to learn. After, leaving the Corporate World, I did continue to serve as a Director on a couple of private company boards, but accepted a part-time teaching assignment for adult business education at a nearby University. Financially this was not necessary- I had a pension - many investments - no mortgage- children with good careers – a spouse who was not wanting me rush off to the sun and fun and I really had no burning desire to do nothing.

While, teaching was different, it certainly was very time consuming (4 hours of preparation for 1 hour of lecturing) To those thinking about starting to teach, after retiring, think again; to be relevant and keep the attention of the keen students, you have to be prepared to work hard. The teaching assignment did keep me in the business cycle; provided an ever growing network. I met a large number mature students, who have reached out to me ever since to seek advice and gave me paid assignments. The Gen X’s and Y’s and now millenniums, I taught have been a great source personal satisfaction and  allowed me to remain relevant in the fast changing world of business Yes, these activities have provided a solid ongoing fun retirement. 

Yes, there were times; I thought it was time to stop; but each time I found myself asking the tough question … And DO WHAT!

Since the start of the 21st century in 2000, we have seen like never before, rapid technical, global business and social change. I have noticed a number of interesting events. Many of my colleagues, of the Boomer generation those born (1946-1964) who either left the workplace beginning at or before 65, who took pensions and so forth have found out that their savings and other investments are not quite able to handle their expected needs and things they like to enjoy. The recession of 2008 and inflation have all impacted their expectations. The introduction of new technology as well as global economic shifts in many industries forced many companies to shift manufacturing to other countries, undergo mergers and dramatically cut costs and other expenses. Many of these lost jobs involved boomers. Lots of these folks will never recover financially. While, interest rates have remained a very low levels since 2008 until recently levels of personal debt have continued their upward spiral. The fate of the ‘Boomers’ is still an open question. While a large majority have considerable value in residential home assets, the challenge to have cash might be a pressing issue as they age. Like never before, I am encountering, individual 60 years plus reaching out for counsel and wanting to find something to do. In some cases it is financially motivated- while others they simply want to do something useful. Often pinched for capital to travel, the activities of minding the grandchildren for their millenniums, having the 30+ son in the basement and so forth was not what they thought retirement was all about in this new world. 

Perhaps we should begin to take more time to think about the future and what might happen to us. 

Supposedly I was lucky –grew up in the ‘Silent Generation’. Many would say we had it just fine – Not really. In general, we worked hard endured a horrific war (rationing of staples such as butter, sugar and gasoline) exponential economic growth; good times and recessions; political turmoil and in our last years before age of retirement global security risk. Most of us retired before the 21st Century began. Yes, we saw television begin, went from the milk, ice and bread being delivered to our house to having to go to the supermarket (Times changed! Not really-seems like the good old days with these things coming from Grocery Direct, Amazon or Walmart).   

Retirement like other things in life takes planning, not only just the financial issues. We will explore many of these items: 

  • When should you start to think about retirement 
  • Retiring in the Fun and Sun 
  • Seniors and Issues of Health
  • What are the issues of seniors for the future and how might this affect the economy
  • What about Financial advice  

We’ll share with you what both myself and many of my friends who would be classified as retired have experienced. For those of you who are thinking about it, have several more years to go or have already started the process, we think you will enjoy the material. We encourage you to provide your own experiences and thoughts. This will be helpful to others. No individual has all the answers.

Before leave the introduction to Retirement, let’s set the stage and share some statistics provided by Statistics Canada. Later we will take a quick look at our neighbours (USA) to the south. 

Here in Canada the proportion of the senior population (aged 65 and older) has been increasing steadily over the past 40 years. From 1971 to 2010, the proportion of seniors in the population grew from 8% to 14%.According to demographic projections; the proportion of seniors is expected to increase rapidly until 2031, when all the baby boomers will have reached 65. Seniors could represent between 23% and 25% of the total population in 2036.On July 1, 2010, Canada's senior population stood at 4.8 million. 

Of this total, 1.3 million individuals were aged 80 and older, while 6,500 individuals were aged 100 and older.

An Aging Population 

From 2015 to 2021, the number of seniors is projected to exceed the number of children aged 14 and younger for the first time ever. By 2036, the number of seniors could reach between 9.9 and 10.9 million people. The number of people aged 80 and older is expected to more than double to 3.3 million by 2036, according to a medium-growth scenario. The population aged 100 and older could triple to more than 20,000.

In 2010, compared with other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the proportion of seniors in Canada (14.1%) was below the proportions in Japan (23.1%), Germany (20.4%), France (16.7%), the United Kingdom (16.5%) and Australia (14.3%), but slightly above that in the United States (13.0%).

Given the size of the baby-boomer generation in Canada, the share of the senior population could surpass that of other nations in the coming years.

In the USA - The Population Reference Bureau report, “Aging in the United States,” examines recent trends and disparities among adults ages 65 and older, and how baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 will reshape America’s older population. In 2016, baby boomers will be between ages 52 and 70.. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise to nearly 24 percent from 15 percent.

Robert Lane 

Business Advisor 

Laneconsul@sympatico.ca

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