Joanne Allaire is a Service Delivery Assistant in the Ottawa office of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
After nearly 30 years in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) and 21 years of service in her pension, Joanne Allaire is less than two years away from retirement.
"I've actually worked for the OPS twice," said Joanne, "I first started in 1990 but then I got surplused in 1997 and decided to take a buyout because we were expecting our second child and I decided to stay home with the kids for a couple of years. I returned three years later and started building my pension again."
Two decades later and Joanne will soon reach her 60/20 factor (at least 60 years of age and 20 years of pension service) to qualify for an unreduced pension. Joanne noted that while she is excited for retirement, there are many unknowns that accompany entering a new stage of life.
"The cost of living just keeps going up and up, but it helps knowing that my pension is indexed for inflation."
Fortunately, Joanne and her husband began planning for their retirement at a young age. As a mother of two boys, it is a lesson she has been sure to pass along to her children.
"We started saving in our early twenties. Retirement looks far away when you're younger, but we started early and I'm so glad we didn't wait until the last minute. We started telling our kids at a very young age to put money aside – it'll be worth it in the long run."
Joanne says she intends to spend time in her retirement with her family and her new puppy Willow, doing some travelling and devoting more time to her hobbies (like knitting, crocheting, sewing, gardening, tole painting, and possibly taking up various ethnic cooking classes) – "all the thing's I didn't have time for and have been putting on the back burner."
Recognizing that most workers do not have access to a pension, Joanne noted that she feels very fortunate.
"It's just very nice to feel secure knowing that you will have a great pension waiting for you when you retire."