Freedom 55 No Longer Just Financial

It is some time since Darren Barefoot, that well-known Vancouver writer, suggested You’d Be Wise to Avoid Freedom 55 Financial.  He was somewhat irate about his dealings with Freedom 55 Financial, which is a division of London Life Insurance Company.

The Vancouver Sun today is on the same theme as it suggests Companies are shifting to an older workforce.

Freedom 55 is a thing of the past, and many Canadians aren’t banking on Freedom 65, either.  This means a shift to an older workforce, and while it is creating challenges for everyone involved, the trend is also benefiting employers by staving off an anticipated shortage of skilled workers as boomers age.

Barbara Jaworski, CEO of Toronto’s Workplace Institute, which provides consultation and training on mature worker issues explains, “The challenge for employers is to accommodate new sorts of issues that perhaps they’ve never had to deal with in the past.”

She has even coined the term KAA-Boomer!, which she explains as follows:

KAA-Boom is for 45+ Baby Boomers who are interested in their health, lifestyle, people, learning and experiencing their second adulthood.  Businesses should be paying attention to demographics, why workforce strategies need to be rethought and why action should be taken now!  See how the Best Employers for 50 Plus Canadians do it!

As she notes the oldest baby boomers showed little interest in leaving the workforce even before the economic crisis gutted their investments and pension plans.  Deferred retirement is more about baby boomers wanting to stay engaged. Financial necessity has made the option to stop working even less attractive.

Freedom 55 is perhaps linked to what used to be the traditional work life pattern where you started working at say 15 and at three score years and ten (70) you would be lucky to be alive. With many living beyond 90 now and being in good physical shape, life is completely changed.  Now it is time for postponing retirement and thinking instead about a second career.  Freedom 55 may still be the brand for some but many more will be seeking Second Life 55 or Engagement 55.  It’s an inviting prospect.

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