COLUMN: Running to catch up with retirement

Abbotsford News editor Andrew Holota muses on the idea of raising the age of eligibility for the Old Age Security pension.

To the Honourable Ed Fast,

Member of Parliament for Abbotsford, B.C.

Dear Mr. Fast:

May I call you Ed? I always think letters are more friendly if they’re on a first-name basis.

The issue I’d like to address today, Ed, is your government’s tinkering with the Old Age Security pension, and possibly extending it from 65 to 67, thereby keeping people in the workforce longer.

With all due respect, sir, HAVE YOU FOLKS IN OTTAWA GONE SENILE?

Sorry. Did I think that out loud?

As you can see, this matter has me quite concerned – just short of downright agitated, actually.

I am almost 55 years of age. (Please don’t share that with everyone. When I hit 50, I went into denial).

In any event, I am 10 years shy of official retirement. In fact, if the

psychopathic stock market hadn’t scared my investments back into the 1990s, I would be eagerly anticipating my bon voyage from this mortal toil in a mere five years!

However, as you’re no doubt aware, the tender nest eggs of so many of us have been trampled by the panicking weasels of Wall Street.

So, the assertion that any changes your government might make to the OAS will give those of us with retirement on the horizon plenty of time to plan ahead, is frankly, not comforting.

Financial planning in this economic climate is like shooting an arrow directly above oneself and hoping it doesn’t come down on your head.

That aside, let’s talk about the concept of keeping seniors in the workforce longer.

For heaven’s sake, why would you want to do that?

Think about it. Legions of silver-haired employees, having afternoon nappies at their stations, and answering the phones with “eh, what’s that?”

Young people are always complaining about there not being enough jobs. Well, if the 60-somethings would get the heck out of the way, there’d be plenty of work available!

Don’t we want fresh, young minds on the challenges of the day, rather than the generation which created the challenges in the first place?

Why would you want to populate the workforce with people who think tweeting is something birds do, or is a polite way to express gaseous indigestion?

Look, Ed. I’ve worked long and hard in my lifetime. I’ll continue to do so until I hit retirement, which will come before 65 only if I finally hit it big in the Lottto. And that’s assuming stress doesn’t take me out first.

I’d like a bit of time to really enjoy some living before that happens.

And when the time comes, I want to die in my bed, or in an alpine meadow, or on a remote lakeshore with a fly rod in my hand – anywhere but at my desk!

Beyond the office environment, think of construction sites. Just the logistics of getting senior labourers around on their electric scooters is rather daunting, don’t you think? How do you get them up to the 20th floor of a new high-rise?

And when they arrive at their work site, will they remember what they’re supposed to do?

To sum up, I think our society has gone a bit batty with the “70 is the new 60” mantra.

What’s the rush? I think by the time we hit 65 we should all be able to relax and watch the sunset, rather than try to catch up with it.

Anyway, thanks for listening, Ed.

I’ve got to go back to work now.

Regards, Andrew