July 14, 2022

How to keep working after retirement

By Jillian Stinson

Working after retirement can include anything from continuing your career through consulting or freelance work to something completely different.

The idea of retirement is different for everyone. But more often now, work is creeping its way back into many people’s retirement plans. And not just because of the effect of the pandemic, inflation, recession and market downturn on portfolios

More and more retirement-aged Canadians are opting for a mix of both leisure activities and paid work. That’s compared to the more traditional retirement of previous generations. Sure, some continue working because they need money. However, others stay in (or re-join) the work force for other reasons. The main one? They like the health benefits and social aspects that comes with having a job. 

What does work past retirement mean? 

Boomers are a generation of people who are too young and too healthy to sit back and do nothing. They physically need to keep active. And they want to engage in the business community.  

When it comes to working in or past retirement, career-paths or jobs can include:  

  1. Continuing your career through:
    • full-time work,  
    • part-time work, or 
    • consulting or freelancing.      
  2. Starting something completely different, for example:
    • Pursuing that hobby, that you always wanted to do, but never got the chance. 
    • Working at a local golf course, library or retail store (popular because of flexible hours).

What are the benefits of working past age 65?  

1. Better health  

Studies show that people who work as they get older have lower rates of chronic disease. (i.e. cancer, heart disease and dementia). Another study found that older adults report better cognitive health when they regularly:  

  • exercise and  
  • participate in activities, whether art or other fine-motor activities.  

It stands to reason that the same would apply to those who work past age 65. So long as their job includes regular movement and fine motor or thinking tasks. 

2. More retirement savings  

You can keep saving in a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) until you’re 71. Returning to work, and joining a group RRSP plan, can also help you save more until you’re ready to fully retire. Your advisor can help find the bast way to maximize your RRSP savings. Find a Sun Life advisor.  

3. Health and dental benefits  

Depending on your job, you may also have access to employee benefits. This can help pay for:

  • wellness appointments like massage and physiotherapy 
  • prescription medications, 
  • dental appointments,  
  • therapy,  
  • and more.

What’s it like to work past retirement age? 

“When you’re a kid people often ask, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ Now the question is, ‘what do you want to do when you retire?’” says James Fisher,* who retired after 35 years of working. 

Three months after retirement, Fisher explains that he missed interacting with people and keeping busy. “I still wanted to feel useful,” he says. “I wanted something that was less stressful. But the contact with people was really important to me.”  

After considering working part-time in a new field, he picked up three part-time jobs in line with his background. “For me, it’s a happy time. I feel good and positive about life. I feel like I’m adding value, that I’m contributing. And that I’m still in the game,” says Fisher. 

What are the benefits of hiring an older worker? 

The federal government’s Age-friendly workplaces: Promoting older worker participation guide says older workers: 

  • tend to stay in jobs longer, resulting in less turnover,  
  • have knowledge and experience,  
  • have a strong work ethic, 
  • work well in team settings and  
  • require minimal supervision. 

How does working while collecting CPP/QPP and OAS work? 

You may collect Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension while still working. You will continue to make contributions to age 65 and can elect to contribute 65-70. 

The Québec Pension Plan (QPP) allows you to start getting your QPP retirement pension while you continue to work.  

  • If you work while receiving your QPP pension, you must continue to contribute to the QPP. These contributions give you an increase in your retirement income through the retirement pension supplement. 

You may be allowed to receive the Old Age Security (OAS) pension even if you're still working. 

How can you find a job in retirement?

Whether you’re choosing to work again for financial or personal reasons, consider these tips for finding a job: 

1. Decide what retirement job you want

Before starting your job hunt, think about what you want. Think about what will boost your energy as you transition to retirement.  

Ask yourself, why you’re finding a job after retirement. Knowing why can help you figure out if you want to: 

  • Work part- or full time, in-person or from home
  • Help a non-profit as a paid volunteer 
  • Start your own business or passion project
  • Continue your career path or try something new

2. Update your resume

Has it been a long time since you looked for a job? Make sure your resume is up to speed, accurate and informative.  

Be sure to tailor your resume for the jobs or roles that interest you, for example: 

  • Make sure it reflects the type of role you’re looking for
  • Stand out with a unique design
  • Write personalized cover letters to explain why you’re the perfect person for the job

3. Search online

Spend time searching websites that connect people with job opportunities to find the types of jobs that interest you. If you don’t already, set up a LinkedIn page.  

4. Network and connect with your contacts 

Be sure to advertise the fact that you’re looking for something work-wise or volunteer-wise. Post something in LinkedIn, where you’re sure to get the attention from those who are hiring. You might even inspire someone else who’s in retirement to get back into work.  

Consider sending your resume to your email list with a note saying you’re looking to work. You never know, some jobs may not be advertised.  

5. Give it time

Finding a job can be a tricky process that needs dedication, effort, and a little bit of luck. Try to be patient – with yourself and others – as you search, network, apply and interview. Maybe even think of your job hunt as your retirement hobby – until you land the gig that’s best for you.  

Do you need help saving for retirement? 

Whether you have some retirement savings already, an advisor can help you set your financial goals and make a solid plan to help you reach them. Talk to a Sun Life advisor today.

*Names were changed for privacy.

This article is meant to provide general information only. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada does not provide legal, accounting, taxation, or other professional advice. Please seek advice from a qualified professional, including a thorough examination of your specific legal, accounting and tax situation.

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