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Boxing Day Offers Time For Contemplation

Written by Posted On Monday, 24 December 2001 00:00

Why not use the down-time of Canada's statutory holiday, Boxing Day (December 26), and the week up to New Year's Eve to contemplate the future you'd like to have and identify some of the barriers and stepping stones that lie along your chosen path?

This seems appropriate since historians say Boxing Day developed in England because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off. (As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes, hence the name.)

Although most Canadians know that what they earn determines where and how they live, too few make optimistic, concrete goals for improving their housing situation and proactive, strategic plans to ensure the type of income flow they'll need to support their chosen lifestyles. Using the standard financial benchmark that major monthly housing costs (mortgage costs, taxes, heating and condominium fees) should represent about 1/3 of income, what would you need in retirement to finance the home of your dreams? How would a layoff affect your plans?

Courtesy of Statistics Canada , take a look at these work-related profiles and see where you fit in:

  • Early retirement Between 1997 and 2000, 43% of those who retired did so before age 60. That's up from 29% between 1987 and 1990. The most popular retirement age for public-sector employees has dropped to 55, even though most private sector workers retire at about 65 and the majority of self-employed retire even later. Interestingly, the Western provinces have the lowest early retirement rates which may be a reflection of the predominance of small businesses and the agricultural sector, comprised of the least likely to retire early.

    For Consideration: Retirement is no longer a handful of quiet years waiting to die. It has been transformed into an active, involved, decades-long third life, which I call "unretirement" because this is a time for new ventures, new careers, continued education and community involvement for most Canadians. When you shift to the life you really want to live, will you want to work or will you have to?

  • Work from home In 2000, approximately 2.8 million (17%) of Canadian workers did some or all of their work from home. The home-based group may also be adapting to new technology more quickly. In 2000, 83% of home-based workers, compared with 51% of their non-home-based counterparts, reported using a computer in their main job over the previous 12 months. About 77% of home-based workers, compared with 54% of traditional workers, felt their work had been affected by the computer and automated technology over the past five years.

    For Consideration: A commitment to education and an interest in technology are linked to a successful home-based business. Running a business from your home still provides some of the best tax deductions in the Canadian tax system. Perhaps you'll join the growing number of Canadians who retire and start a new business, career or income-earning venture. Since home will be your new headquarters, why not explore the potential of even a part-time home business to get ready for your preferred future?

The question may simply be, on Boxing Day ten years down the road, would you want to be one of those enjoying typical holiday fun -- grabbing bargains at the malls, enjoying outdoor venues, snuggling around the fireplace or sunning yourself in a non-Canadian setting -- or would you expect to be at work?

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PJ Wade

Futurist and Achievement Strategist PJ WADE is “The Catalyst”—intent on Challenging The Best to Become Even Better. A dynamic speaker and author of 8 books and more than 1800 published articles, PJ concentrates on the knowledge, insight, communication prowess, and special decision-making skills essential for professionals and their clients who are determined to thrive in the 21st-Century vortex of change.

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