Retirement? Why Not Continue Working?

Why not keep working when retirement isn’t an option in your financial plan or part of your goals? André Hétu—Director of the Association Midi-Quarante and specialist in career transition and management for people older than 45—explains why we should.

“I’ve never dwelled on the idea of retirement and still don’t. My 65th year was meaningless to me, life continued like it did the day before.” This past year, André Hétu turned 65 and—still in shape—decided to continue working. Like him, more than half of Quebec workers expect to continue working a job after reaching retirement age—for pleasure rather than necessity.

Setting the record straight

Career transition—whether you turn 35, 52, or 68—start with introspective reflection to understand what we want out of life. Hétu explains, “This repositioning can be profound because of the challenge of discovering your deep aspirations so you can elaborate on your career plan and job search.” He advises his clients, further, to take whatever time is necessary to find their dream job.

Sorting it all out

Parallel to this reflection, questioning your values is essential to rediscover yourself. “From 50 years of age, age gives us the privilege of being free from a snobbish appearance,” remarked Hétu, “making it easier for us to feel what is genuinely our concern.”

It has been a few years since the association launched their pilot project aimed at encouraging grey-haired job seekers to take up jobs that they could never have dreamed of.

“A worker found himself earning fifty-five thousand less per year and decided anyways to pursue this route because he was evidently better off than before, seeing that he spent less.” recounted Hétu. How? Well, he simply, carefully reevaluated his needs and cut daily expenses he deemed superfluous such as owning a boat.

Hétu further testified, “Rediscovering a likeable, stimulating and interesting workplace is a higher priority, than earning a large salary, for people actively participating in the labour market.”

Adapting power

According to the director, spontaneous adaptation to an entirely new reality is far from being the most important skill to learn when it is time to give your career a second wind.

“Our ability to work is significantly different compared to when we were 30, but it’s not a minus—it’s a plus. Our experience and expertise benefits us by manifesting into outstanding efficiency, we just need to be aware of it.”

Even though some people do not hesitate to return to their studies, the answer for many active retirees is to become an independent worker or consultant in their field, to give back what they have acquired.

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