One hundred years ago, the concept of retirement did not exist. We started working at the age of 15 (usually at a job that required physical labour) and we statistically died at 47 years of age. As jobs changed, life expectancy grew and social patterns developed, so did the concept of retirement. In fact, retirement is a relatively new concept. Since then retirement has changed a lot and change will continue as our demographics change, our culture evolves and as we age. Here are some of the newer retirement trends we recognize for today and tomorrow.
Definition of retirement
When you talk about trends, the place to start is clearly the definition of retirement is changing. At one time, retirement was about a time to relax and take it easy. If you think about retirement 30 to 40 years ago, we worked till age 65 and then we statistically dies at age 70 to 72. Retirement was a very short period and happened because we were getting old. Many retirees back then retired into ‘old age’.
The retiree today is different. The retiree today is younger, healthier, fitter and sharper than any generation before. As a result, retirement is about life and living and keeping busy. It’s about staying active and having fun. Today’s retiree is not only younger in age but also younger in heart and in the soul! The retiree today is busier than we have ever seen. I’m sure you know these people . . . the ones that are busier in retirement than they were before retirement. Not only are they busier but happier too… doing things on their terms and on their schedule.
As a result, the definition of retirement is changing. There are more options for retirement than ever before and as a result there is no universal definition of what retirement means and being able to envision your retirement lifestyle.
Retirement is not about stopping to work
In my opinion, the biggest future trend in retirement is that you will see more people working in retirement. The difference is that people will work doing more of what they love and not what they have to do. We are seeing it today. I know a 61 year old gentleman who is working at the local Home Depot store part time, not because he needs the money but because he loves the interaction with people. I know retirees who have retired from large organizations like Telus or ATCO only to go back and continue to do part time consulting projects working on their terms instead of someone else’s. I know other retirees who have turned their lifetime hobbies into businesses enjoying a little extra income at what they love to do with their time. Retirement today and tomorrow will be full of these types of examples where more and more retirees will work in retirement.