When is it best to retire?

I will reach the age of 65 later this year.
Shortly after my last birthday, the government sent me a notice to begin applying for my Canada Pension and Old Age Security. I wondered at the time if the government was trying to tell me something.
In the last five or six months, I’ve been reading almost every column that has been written about preparing for retirement that has been written in either the Globe and Mail or the National Post.
I have used the government’s calculator to tell me whether or not I can afford to retire, as well as how much money I will need annually to continue to live at a style that I’m accustomed to.
I think I will be OK. But suddenly around the age of 71, the government has deemed it necessary to take large sums out of the RRSP that I have built up. And it looks like in the first year of withdrawals, the federal government will gather back more in income taxes than I saved in 30 years of RRSP contributions.
An insurance agent here in town always has told me that I would end up paying more in income taxes after I retired than prior to retirement. I didn’t believe him until I made these calculations (the government’s calculator tells me so).
The worst part is that there are no ways to avoid the taxes. It just goes to show that you can’t avoid death or taxes.
But this past weekend, a column in the Globe and Mail caught my attention. The headline was “Dear Seniors: Please don’t retire yet. The Canadian economy.”
The column noted that in the 1960s, there were eight workers for every person in retirement. In 2015, that ratio is 4.5:1. The question remains how can those 4.5 contributors look after all of the retirees.
But all is not bad. In a recent poll by Sun Life Insurance, it found that 32 percent of workers were looking to continue working past the age of 65.
Two questions arose. The first was do these workers need to continue working for economic reasons? The second was why were so many choosing to forego retirement?
Postponing retirement appears to be a good thing for the economy. Canadians are living longer and in white-collar jobs, Canadians remain as productive as ever and their knowledge contributes to the Canadian economy.
But one of the biggest fears of Canadians approaching retirement is that they have seen their investments crumble at least twice in their lives because of recession issues, and are not comfortable that their savings will not exhibit the same downturn in the future.
Working makes seniors feel safe.
The question is when will be the best time to retire?

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