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In Tales from the Golden Age, retirees talk about whether their spending, savings, and post-work life are living up to expectations.
John Tuck, 68, Vancouver
I retired several years ago at the age of 66 after a career in areas such as international trade, specialty chemicals and eventually clean technology. I thought it would be an easy decision to retire. But the closer it got, the harder it became to wrap your head around the lack of employment income. Then the pandemic hit and things shut down, giving me more time to think about my life and how I wanted to spend my time.
I was a consultant in my last year of work, so I didn’t tell my clients I was leaving. You might have been worried that I would change my mind about retiring, but that’s not the case.
Retirement felt a little strange at first. A structured work environment with different demands and pressures on a daily basis is the complete absence of that. It meant that I had to put pressure on myself to do things.It was tough at first, but I was able to enjoy gatherings with friends, doing yoga, biking, hiking, and doing house maintenance and repairs. I have become accustomed to scheduling activities. He also volunteers on the boards of the Canada-Japan Society of Columbia, Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Center and British. I think it’s important to have a little schedule after retirement. Otherwise, you may lose energy and motivation.
I was also fortunate to be able to retire with my wife, Heather, who is four years younger than me. We like gardening and traveling together and get along very well. We have always been in sync about how we deal with our children, the economy and politics.
Financially, we are very good at saving and investing. I’ve paid off my mortgage and have an investment portfolio that I’m confident will last into my mid-nineties, given market fluctuations. This means that we are not too worried about rising inflation or market declines over the past year.
We built that investment portfolio by making some disciplined financial decisions. For example, we interviewed several advisors before choosing the one best suited for us and our financial goals. He also kept an eye on the fees he was paying, avoiding investing in high-fee mutual funds and regularly negotiating advisory fees. Nor have I ever tried to time the market. We invest regularly and have continued to invest during market ups and downs.
Today we have the enviable challenge of moving from the accumulation stage of life to the de-accumulation stage. We are programmed to save, but we are programmed not to spend. But we’re grateful that we can afford to get out of that headspace, buy a new car, travel, and help our kids. Japan where I lived years ago.
Retirement has been going well so far, but it’s a little different than I imagined. We spend most of our lives thinking and planning for retirement. And when it comes, you realize it’s just another stage in life, not a world of always happy dreams. It made me realize the importance of living for today instead of thinking that the future will be better.
As told by Brenda Bowe
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Are you a Canadian retiree interested in discussing your life now that you’ve stopped working? I’m here. If you are interested in being interviewed for this feature and agree to be photographed using your full name, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Include some details about how you saved and invested for retirement and how you live now.
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