It is time to retire the word "retire."
Canadians have long worried about not saving enough for retirement and fear of outliving their money has mounted.
Before you panic:it might make sense to pause and reflect.
This past year, amid coping with a pandemic and increasing lockdown restrictions, we have come to realize we need less stuff. We long for more socialization, structure and orientation to our day. And while it was once assumed that in order to enjoy a thriving retirement you need to have saved 70% of your pre-retirement income to sustain your same standard of living, for many that simply isn't going to happen.
A recent Scotia Bank report found one-third of Canadians say they won't be able to retire when they planned because of the pandemic and almost half, 44%, who have not retired yet believe they need more than $1 million to fund their ideal retirement.
Assumptions versus facts can keep you up at night. You need to be crystal clear on what you spend your money on and where your money will come from in retirement --government programs, RRSPs, TFSAs, non-registered money and a big one, not often talked about, additional income streams.
If you are thinking about retirement I would argue that now is the time to reassess that assumption of how much you need.
Retirement isn't just about the money. Some might suggest how you want to spend your time in retirement is also worthy of consideration as you could spend a third of your life there.
I reached out to Mike Drak, author of "Retirement Heaven or Hell" and we agreed that the assumptions of the past around retirement simply are not going to work for a lot of people any more. Retirement savings have been a struggle for many and rather than feeling demoralized about how much you have saved maybe reframe it and focus on what you can do about it.
The word "retirement" means to be become reclusive and disappear. Wow, that’s not very exciting but what if you saved what you can? And what if you supplement your income with government programs such as CPP/OAS/GIS, and what if you continued working for longer in a part-time capacity? This would reduce the risk of a low-quality retirement lifestyle.
Drak suggests that working later in life is really not such a bad thing and highlights a few of the benefits:
1) It gives you a good reason to get out of bed in the morning
2) It keeps you healthy and potentiallylivinglonger while at the same time forcingyou to get off the couch
3) You engage with friends and socialization in life is key
4) It keeps your brain sharp and forces you to keep learning new things
By the way, it isn't about just taking on any job or a job you hate. Bad work drains you but what if you found something you loved to do, played to strengths and it helped to give your life more meaning while at the same time reduced the fear of outliving your money?
Like many things pandemic-related, the retirement landscape is shifting and maybe it is time to embrace it.