The Pope retired at 85 – maybe you should too



For Pope Benedict, 85 seemed like the right time to retire.

Raul Castro just announced that he will be the Cuban President for a final five-year term. He is 81.

With very few exceptions, Canada no longer has a mandatory retirement age of 65. So what’s to keep you from working even decades past the traditional retirement age?

More and more Canadians want to work longer — some because they like their jobs, others for financial reasons.

A workplace filled with 75-year-olds raises a variety of issues for both the worker and the employer. We often hear questions like: Do I have to retire when I am 65? If I am asked to leave at 70, can I get severance? Should I ask to work three or four days a week?

These issues are becoming more common, says employment lawyer Janice Rubin.

“Generally speaking you can not make someone retire because they are 65,” she says. “However, employers continue to look for performance and the employee must be able to perform the essential elements of their job. If the employee is struggling, where possible, the employer needs to consider some reasonable form of accommodations.”

Mpopes. Rubin says things that might accommodate health or physical needs of a 75-year-old include a shorter work week that may never have been an issue for younger employees.

This changing landscape is happening quickly, the question of when to retire a constant one.

In my view, people should work for financial reasons to pretty much ensure a comfortable retirement. Fortunately with the elimination of the mandatory retirement age, many can actually work until they reach this point – whether it is to age 55 or 75.

Once you pass the point of financial freedom, then you have a different choice.

That choice is all about whether you are happier working or not. With all of the changes in the working world and in our society, there are now many more options for older Canadians. Some experts believe that the emergence of older workers will help to answer the crisis of an anticipated shortage of workers.

In the ideal world there is an alignment of what the older employee wants and what the company or organization wants. If achieved, there will be a lot more experience in the workplace than ever before.

For the Pope and Raul Castro, their freedom 85 day may look very different than the retirement date for you. But the days of the gold watch at 65 appear to be well behind us.

Written by Ted Rechtshaffen, President & CEO of TriDelta Financial.
Reproduced from the National Post newspaper article 5th March 2013.