Money & Career

Will you be working until you’re 70?

We just came back from a two-week holiday in Florida. It was lovely and we got used to the sound of the waves, the heat and the bright sunshine. We also got used to watching men and women in their 70s and 80s pack grocery bags and carry them out to our car.

623-03637474d

Masterfile

We just came back from a two-week holiday in Florida. It was lovely and we got used to the sound of the waves, the heat and the bright sunshine. We also got used to watching men and women in their 70s and 80s pack grocery bags and carry them out to our car. At our local Publix grocery store in Sarasota, staff members were mostly over 60 — they did a great job and seemed to enjoy the work (chatting happily with our kids in the aisles and on the way to the car).

When I started my working life some 20 years ago, I thought everyone retired at 65. Back then, they did for the most part. That is not the case today — in fact, my husband and I both figure that we’ll be working well past 65. Why? Because like most people we have seen our hard-earned retirement savings drift all over the map as the stock market has tanked, rallied and then tanked again. It’s not like we can shift into bonds and GICs for a safer bet — yields on those are at all time lows: we wouldn’t be able to keep up with inflation (which is also set to jump substantially, according to some).

My husband and I are also likely to live longer than people have in the past — life spans in Canada have been rising steadily over the past few decades and today, the average man can expect to live to 77, the average woman to 82. That’s a lot of time to save for.

The reality is that without divine intervention or a big lottery win, our working lives will not end at 65 — and in all honesty, I am okay with the fact that I might be working right up to the day I die. I love what I do; if I can still do a good job at 75 or even 80, then that’s great for me.

Of course, I sit and write all day — I am not sure if I could bag groceries with a bad back, or stand at a cash register all day at 78.

What about you? How long do you plan to keep working? Or have you managed to sock away enough to retire at 65?