More Seniors Working for Themselves


It’s no secret that older adults are working long past retirement age as more seniors find that at 65, they are not ready to slow down.  With greater longevity, retirement requires more savings but working longer isn’t always solely about earning more.  Many seniors enjoy the social aspects of working and are shifting their focus to more fulfilling work that creates a sense of vitality and relevance.  But how older workers are remaining employed in their golden years is also noteworthy.

No longer bound by heavy financial responsibilities of raising and educating a family, older members of the workforce are increasingly turning to consulting and freelancing, becoming self-employed.  And don’t count out seniors as entrepreneurs; with many years of experience to draw from, older adults are looking at their passions to launch a new career later in life.

And while older adults may want to continue to earn, funding a more adventurous retirement than their parents enjoyed, they also value flexibility and a break from the 9 to 5 daily grind.  Being self-employed gives working grandparents the power to control their own schedule and make time to help out with the grandkids, plan a family trip or take time off in the summer to host the family at a cottage.

According to a recent report in Canadian Business, the over-55 employment rate has steadily increased between 1997 and 2016 from a rate of 22 per cent to nearly 36 per cent of Canadians over the age of 55 who were working.  And alongside this increase is a jump in the number of older workers who are self-employed.

This trend of working past “Freedom 55” is occurring in wealthy countries around the world.  The International Labor Organization estimates that by 2030, working seniors will increase to more than 18 per cent.  The 2014 rate of workers over the age of 55 was 14.3 per cent worldwide but has been historically much higher in Canada for decades.

Self-employed, working seniors is a trend we are sure to be noticing for many years to come.  Don’t count on grandma to be sitting at home in retirement knitting booties or sewing baby clothes, unless of course it’s for her Etsy storefront.