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Life in retirement

By Finbar Garcia LUTCF, FSS, MFA

Having discussed both ‘Planning for Retirement’ (CN June 7) and the ‘Investments Options’ (CN July 5), have you ever considered your life in retirement?

While many of us dream of the great life and enjoyment going into the golden years after having worked for the better part of 40 years, the question you need to ask yourself is, ‘Am I ready…mentally, financially, physically and emotionally?’

You don’t retire for five or ten years; you could go on living for another 25 to 30 years or more.

When you started planning, your focus was on the financial aspect of retirement. However, let’s look at the other aspects.


Most persons approach retirement with pre-retirement leave or reduced duties and working hours. This helps an individual adjust mentally to not going to work regularly or not at all, this approach allows you to adjust your thoughts as you enter this phase of your life. You begin to plan for the golden years.


Well, at this stage you need to be ready. You should not have major expenses, like a home mortgage, and hopefully your children are all grown up and working. Some persons usually purchase a new vehicle from the lump sums they received at retirement, this is to avoid having additional and unnecessary auto expenses. Your monthly budget would be drastically reduced in comparison to when you were fully employed. Don’t be too excited just yet; at times, these budgets go up due to medical expenses.


Family history is a major area that you need to look at. Is there longevity in your family? Are your parents still alive and what is their current health situation? If any ailments, what was the age of onset, and are these lifestyle conditions?

These may sound as minor issues, but wanting to live comfortably in retirement with a limited income and cost of living rising along with inflation, these now become major issues.

The cost of health care in retirement is a major concern to many persons to whom I have spoken. Let’s look at some medical and living expenses that you need to remember.

Living expenses is the day-to-day cost of living times seven days a week, times four weeks per month, twelve months per year…you know what I mean.

These expenses are based on you being able to do things yourself, once you have to hire a helper, your budgeted expenses just increased.

Then come the medical bills. Using my own experience, both as a financial adviser and a product of the Baby Boomers era, some of us are caught taking care of our children and our ageing parents and of course, ourselves. So, saving for our own retirement becomes a challenge at times.


Having an ageing and ailing parent becomes an emotional issue. This becoming more evident as to the saying ‘Once a man, twice a child’. There would come a time during your retirement that there are things you cannot do again, and some things become a risk to you and your life.

If your children are not around with you to assist, then hiring a live-in caregiver may be an option. There are also homes that care for senior citizens. However, to me, this should be the last option, reasons being your comfort and emotional well-being are very important and being in your own home during this phase of your life is essential.

So, as I indicated earlier, these minor issues become major ones.

For the young men and women out there, retirement planning is the first thing you need to do when you start to work.

Until we meet again.

“You can be young without money, but you can’t be old without it”

—Tennessee Williams.

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Did you know that at age 65:

  • 84 per cent are broke
  • 8 per cent are still working
  • 6 per cent are well to do, and only
  • 2 per cent are wealthy