Tag: retirement planning

This Retiree’s 11 Tips to Creating Your Next3rd You’ll Love

This Retiree’s 11 Tips to Creating Your Next3rd You’ll Love

She lost 60lbs, travelled to four continents, reconnected with family and friends, embarked on meaningful volunteering, and learned new activities in her next3rd, all from a remote northern community.  What are her secrets to living a retirement life with zest?  Read on…

 

Meet Margot

She’s a girl of the north with a big heart, big goals, good humour, and a love of the outdoors.  Her dedication to her career in education left little time for anything but her family.  Now?  Let’s just say her retirement is action packed!

“How is life?  I don’t think it can get much fuller!”

 

Margot started planning her retirement life right away. A “living” plan focusing on her first priorities; her health and fitness, travel, and reconnecting with family and friends.  She’s the one who inspired me to start a ‘60 Things to Do When I’m 60’ list!

“I’ve accomplished 90% of my list with 4 months to go! I’ve learned I can achieve almost any goal I set for myself.”

 

But There’s More…

Not only has Margot reached most of her goals, she has added meaning to life through volunteering.  She’s preparing a presentation on her trip to China for a senior’s group and helps her church in various capacities including singing in the choir. “Singing makes me happy!”   She was part of a group that brought a refugee family to their small community, helped them integrate, and continues to mentor/tutor the children successfully through school.

“It feels good to give back. I feel blessed to be able to help.”

 

How She Did It…

Here are Margot’s 11 tips to living the retirement life you’ve dreamed:

 

  1. Start Financial Planning at Least 10 Years Before Retiring

“You need to know clearly what your financial situation is.”

“For 5 years, we put our income tax refund into a separate ‘travel fund’.”

 

  1. Go to a Seminar about Retirement at Least 1 Year Before Retiring

Learn the steps you need to take to transition smoothly.

 

  1. Take Control of Your Health

Margot changed her sedentary working life to a vibrant active life when she retired.  Now she enjoys, biking, tennis, pickleball, snowshoeing and more.  She also joined a diabetes study as a preventative measure which enabled a healthier diet.  “I feel fitter, healthier and happier.”

 “Prioritize your health from here forward.”  

 

  1. Have a Financial Plan B

Sometimes the unexpected happens.  Margot has seen families struggle financially after a spouse dies younger than expected.

 

  1. Be Positive

Bad stuff happens.  Margot lost her Mum in her first year of retirement.  Yet, she feels blessed for having that year to spend special time with her.

“When you feel fit, healthy, grateful, and are giving back, you can stay positive.”

 

  1. Enjoy What’s Around You, Open Your Mind to New Things and New Fun

“Don’t be afraid to try new things.”  Margot tried rock-climbing, tennis, pickle ball and other active lessons.  She helped her hubby with hands-on reno projects and re-learned how to filet a fish.  (The pickerel up there is amazing!)  She even finished 2nd in her category in a 10km run!

 

  1. Respect That You and Your Partner Have Different Days

How you each spend your day can be different.  Margot’s hubby can clock 10,000 steps working outside, while Margot will go out for a spin.  You don’t have to be, or travel, together all the time.  “You have something to share at the end of the day or trip.”

“You need to have your own space when you retire.”

 

  1. Count on Yourself to Be Disciplined

“I am more disciplined just counting on myself.”  If you have specific goals, or daily practices, its up to you to get them done.  Be it a ride at 6am, or daily meditation, “count on yourself first and that means discipline”.

“If no-one else is around to do it with, I’ll do it anyway.”

 

  1. Plan to Renew Relationships

Margot’s loved ones are scattered across our vast country and she purposely visits or calls long-term friends and her fam jam frequently.  She travelled with various family members, and planned family reunions which strengthened those bonds.

“I feel blessed to re-connect with old friends and bring my family closer.”

 

  1. Make a List of Things to Do for a Milestone

She’s already working on her 65 Things to Do When She’s 65 “This worked really well for me.”  Include little things and big things.  The list mobilized her dreams and really did create a very full retirement.  Full of adventure, meaning, connection and fun!

“I love lists. I love checking things off. I love that my family and friends wanted to make my goals happen with me.”

 

  1. Count Your Blessings

Those are my words.  Margot said, “Be positive again”.  As we chatted, I heard her reflect on how blessed she felt, which in turn gave her a positive feeling. “People want to be around you when you’re positive.” In her first year of retirement, she wrote her top ten things for which she was grateful, daily.  Now she ‘counts her blessing’s each week.

“It helps you be more aware, and it gives you something positive to talk about.”

 

Thanks Margot, have fun working on the new list!

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Retire at 52? How This Retiree Did It Successfully

Retire at 52? How This Retiree Did It Successfully

Retire early or keep working?  How do you make the decision?  This happy retiree weighed both options early, and at key milestones during his 35-year career before making the plunge.  Here’s how he did it.

 

A Man with a Plan

I was struck by Bernard’s positive energy while working on a project with a volunteer board he leads.  He seemed to really enjoy retirement life, full of zest.  I was curious.  What was his story?

Bernard knew what he wanted to do with his life at age 17.  Join the military and make a full career of it.  Even at that young age, Bernard had a plan with retirement in it already.  How many 17-year-olds do that? He planned on a 35-year military career from day one. Knowing he would be young when retirement came along, he needed a careful approach to his finances. He didn’t want to rely solely on his military pension, and so started his RSP soon after he donned his air force uniform.

 “I started to plan financially for retirement early and knew I had to prepare carefully.”

 

Milestone Check and Retirement Journal

Fast forward 20 years.  Bernard asked himself, “what do I really want to do when I retire?”   He saw two paths.   “Retire fully or prepare myself to continue working.” He would jot ideas down as they came to him and regularly check his list over time. He was looking 15 years ahead, and he was looking at retiring to something, not from something.  That’s foresight!

“I knew I didn’t want to spend the day watching TV.  I wanted to be able to do things.” 

 

Contingency Plan

Bernard’s first choice was to fully retire after what became a rewarding and interesting career as an aerospace engineering officer.  But, he wasn’t sure this was wholly possible.  He went back to college and studied human resources management, to expand his civilian career options just in case.  “I diversified myself.”  He felt better prepared for both retire or work eventualities.

“My back-up plan had 3 purposes; one, build a financial buffer, two, have something to do if I was bored and three, give me options if I really liked the work.”

 

The True Retirement Picture Came Later

Bernard’s ideal retirement life started to crystallize four years before retirement.  The ideas in his retirement journal changed and evolved as he matured, and as his family dynamics changed.  “We have to accept that our plans might change.  Be open to change and new ideas.”

“At my 20-year milestone, I wanted to golf in retirement.  Now, golf is not even on my radar.”

 

His retirement canvas? “Really enjoy life. Take life to the fullest.”  That meant, retire fully, volunteer, travel, sports, and enjoy the great outdoors.

“I knew I wouldn’t be traveling or skiing everyday and wanted to do something in between.” 

 

Life of the Youngish Retiree

“Life is great now!” It took Bernard about 6 months to realize he was really retired.  It felt like a vacation at first. He still had some doubts but, in the end, his decision to retire youngish felt very rewarding.

“I was still nervous.  I wore a uniform for 35 years.  And one day I wouldn’t.  That’s a bit scary.  The military is like a huge family, your crutch.”

 

Having a plan helped ease Bernard’s doubts knowing he had already thought about things. Four years after retirement, he wouldn’t change anything.  The only surprise was how busy one can be in retirement. “You have to pace yourself.” He also realized the simple things in life bring happiness.  “Helping neighbours and just being friendly each day.”

“You need a lot less than you think. Life can be much simpler – take the time to enjoy it.”

 

He lives in a village outside Ottawa where he can walk into town.  He and his wife, who retires soon, share one car. (He has a sweet motorcycle for fair weather fun.)  He curls, treks in the alps with his military buddies, hikes with his wife and really is enjoying life. Volunteering for a museum and for a stewardship association gives him a sense of contribution to his community, new social circles and added meaning to his life. “Life is much better actually.”

 

Words of Wisdom

Bernard offers 3 tips:

  1. Early planning is truly important. Write it down, regularly review, and change as needed.   Don’t be afraid to admit to yourself that your retirement dreams are changing.

 

  1. Don’t underestimate your skills and experience – especially military colleagues. You might be surprised how well your skills are transferable.

 

  1. Have the support of your spouse. This is most critical. Retiring early is a team decision and affects your spouse and family.

 

Thanks Bernard!

Care to share?

How Your Money Attitude Can Make or Break Your Retirement

How Your Money Attitude Can Make or Break Your Retirement

It is the strangest feeling. The realization that after decades of career, business and thus wealth growth, the reverse begins.  At least from the financial perspective.  The day you start drawing from your ‘nest egg’ instead of adding to it.  It’s unnerving. How do you make this transition without being totally stressed about your finances?  How do you cope with the unknown variables that can impact your retirement finances such as health issues, how long you’ll live and stock market volatility?


Mind Over Matter?

“You’re going to be OK” we are told by our financial advisor.  But it doesn’t sink in.  The numbers are run, different scenarios explored, assumptions manipulated.  Graphs are shown on the big screen.  Sums are written on the white board.  We still don’t believe it.  Three days prior, early retirement was handed to my hubby without choice.  We were still in shock over the sudden drop in household income.  We were in the scarcity mindset.

And therein lies the problem. Your belief system.  What is your attitude toward money?  A scarce resource? A taboo topic?  What did you learn about money from your parents?  We believed that our retirement funds to which we’ve contributed for 30 years were untouchable.  A finite, scarce resource for later in life, not now.  We believed we didn’t have enough, that we had to add more, not withdraw. The stress kept us awake at night.

Financial security is part peace of mind, part understanding of your financial position and part capability to meet your financial needs.

 

Part 2 and 3

Of financial security can be addressed with a good financial plan – understanding your financial position and determining how to meet your financial needs.  Having a solid plan and understanding its underlying assumptions gives you something real to work with. Knowledge is power. Find a qualified, competent and reputable financial advisor to help you develop financial security.  Nancy Graham of PWL Capital gives you tips on what to ask a prospective advisor in this video.

“The whole point of financial planning is so you won’t be worrying every day about your finances.”  Dr. Richard Johnson

 

How Much is Enough?

Is the number 1 google search topic on retirement.  The answer, my friend, may be in your hands.  Your financial plan is dependent on your retirement life plan.  Take the time to reflect on how you want to live your ‘next3rd’.  Consider hobbies, leisure, residence, health, personal development, travel, family and social activities, volunteerism, work and philanthropy. Separate wants from needs.  Tally it up, map it out and share it with your financial advisor.  Expect to make adjustments.

“If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.” – wise taxi driver

 

Know that You Have Options

No question, having sufficient finances to carry you through retirement is critical to a successful, happy and fulfilling ‘next third’. Financial security is a retirement success factor. While, we won’t really know what our future will bring, we can ease our anxiety and thus enjoy life’s third act by knowing that we could supplement our retirement income if needed.

44% of first retirees continue to work in some fashion, not necessarily for the funds but to remain active – Retirement Options

 

P-Y, shares tips on how he developed a thriving consulting gig in retirement in this post. Denise who shared her retirement wisdom in this post, took on a few “jobettes” when she first retired, including teaching sommelier classes.  Dave, a former engineer became a triathlon coach and Marlene left her project management career to become a people whisperer. Yep, a people whisperer using horses.  My recent Uber driver was a retiree with a clean, new car who liked meeting different people.

Retirement gives you the opportunity to do work you’ve wanted to do on your terms.

 

Be Mindful, Be Informed

When that anxiety feeling about money seeps in, check your thoughts at the door.  Reflect on your attitudes to money and how well these are serving you.  Replace your worries with solid information – your financial plan, and your realistic budget.  Take a breath, knowing that you have interesting choices in retirement. Om!

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