Life in Retirement

Retirement may be new to you, but it isn't to OMERS and to our retired members. Here, we provide information and member advice on how best to prepare for and to enjoy your life after work.

How can I prepare mentally and emotionally to make the most of my retirement?

Awareness: Maintain an alert, active outlook on life to increase your interest in others and theirs in you. As you age, you're more aware of the finite quality of time and life. Limits are understood, and friends and family often take on deeper meaning.

Flexibility: Keep your attitudes toward life, family and friends flexible, interested and open. Changes occur daily—be open to them. 

Independence: To keep financially, mentally and emotionally strong, it's important to make clear and independent choices.

Expansion: Develop new goals, and keep involved in meaningful projects that will help you keep growing.

How am I going to spend my time?

  • When you work full time, you spend more than 2,000 hours per year working and commuting.
  • In this chart - your working time will be time you need to fill in retirement.
  • If you have a partner, the time you spend away from each other during the workday is spent together when you're retired. It will require some readjustment, planning and good communication: clearly expressing thoughts and feelings, careful listening, and mutual decision-making. Couples who talk about and plan for retirement well ahead of time have better success.
  • Recognize that you spend a lot of time in your job, and that it affects your sense of self-worth; you feel like you're contributing to part of a big picture. In retirement, boredom can be a major, negative factor. You will need time to adjust to the new rhythm and reality of being retired.
  • Develop your social network. If work left you with little time for friends, take time to rebuild your friendships in retirement. Replace the friendships you had at work with new friends outside work. Are any of your friends or family members close to retirement age?
  • Make a list of the top 20 things you'd like to do in retirement. Taking courses, gardening, traveling, community theatre, political involvement, volunteering… If you have a partner, have them also make a list.

Working while on pension

What are my choices if I work for an OMERS employer (including my previous employer) while I am receiving an OMERS pension?

  • To ensure that OMERS plan provisions are correctly followed, a bona fide termination has to take place; this generally occurs when the employment relationship is severed. For example, all seniority and benefits are lost, and you receive a Record of Employment.
  • If a bona fide termination takes place, and you start to receive an OMERS pension, but after some time decide to go back to work for another OMERS employer, you will have the option of:
    1. Stopping your pension payments for as long as you are employed and re-enrol in the OMERS plan with the new employer; OR
    2. Continue to receive your OMERS pension payments and do not re-enrol in the OMERS plan with the new employer.
  • You cannot receive a retirement benefit and accrue OMERS service at the same time.
  • If you re-enrol in OMERS, any pension payments received after re-enrolment must be repaid to the plan.
  • If you re-enrol and work up to age 71, your OMERS contributions will stop and you'll start receiving an OMERS pension, regardless of whether you continue working.
  • You cannot accumulate more than 35 years of service.

Working for a non-OMERS employer while on pension

If you start working for a non-OMERS employer after you start your pension, it will not affect your pension payments.

Advice from other OMERS retired members

"Plan early enough so retirement doesn't seem to loom up suddenly before you're ready for it."

"Start early in your preparation, then keep learning and updating your plans and records. Pick a good financial planner who meets your own (family) needs. Include your spouse/partner/dependents in your learning about your financial situation. They need to know all about your pension benefits, especially survivor benefits from OMERS, CPP, OAS, etc. You should also remember about estate planning and making a will." David, 63, retired member and former school custodian

"Retirement is not an extended holiday. Make sure you have interests and/or hobbies not related to the workplace. Keep active physically and make sure you can fill the brain gap left by retirement." Georgie, 62, retired member and former personnel officer

"I learned as much as possible about the [OMERS] pension plan, CPP, and so on." Ron, 57, retired member and former firefighter

"Prepare mentally for retirement. You simply cannot spend the way you did when you were making a full salary, and there is definitely mental preparation for this." Mary, 59, retired member and former head secretary

Read more Advice from OMERS Members.

Health and well-being

  • Physical and mental health will, naturally, be the top concern. While some age-related diseases may affect mental functioning, normal aging doesn't have to mean a big change.
  • You may want to look into long-term care insurance that's designed to cover expenses such as upgrading nursing home accommodations or financing your at-home care.