The most compelling pictures of Canadians we profiled financially in the last year, as chosen by our photo editor. These are real people who share their financial details and want to to remain anonymous, which leads to interesting photos.
Can couple relocate to a pricier real estate market in retirement?
Barbara and Bob want to spend their retirement nearer to family, which means buying a more expensive property. When Bob retires from a stressful and demanding job in emergency services two years hence, they want to travel the world “within a budget,” Barbara says. She already has retired. He is 58, she is 59.
Age gap looms in couple’s early retirement plans
While it makes sense for Max to retire in five years, Juliette, who is 10 years younger than Max, will be faced with a lower pension and fewer high-income years to save before retirement. They also plan to take one big trip together each year costing $10,000. “Should we get rid of the car or make other cuts to our spending habits to achieve this?” Juliette asks. “What level of post-retirement income is realistic?”
Career change at this stage could swamp retirement goals
Burt and Betty seem to be in an enviable position work-wise – she is a self-employed yoga teacher, while he earns a six-figure salary in education. He’s thinking of changing jobs, casting his teacher’s pension to the wind. Betty likes her work, but is finding it increasingly taxing physically. “If I quit at 55, before the mortgage is paid out, can we afford our present lifestyle?” she wonders.
Single mother needs a firmer rein on her expenses
Louise is 54 and single again with two children. She has been teaching for four years but she’s barely making ends meet. “I would like to know if I am on track for my retirement,” she asks. She plans to quit working at the age of 65. She would sell her suburban Toronto home and buy one in the $180,000 range in a less expensive town in the Niagara region “in order to be mortgage-free."
Engaged couple need to make paying off debt a priority
Ruth is 30, Cameron 33. Both have good jobs, earning a combined $260,000. They have a home in Toronto and a rental property, both with substantial mortgages. Cameron also has $27,000 in consumer debts. “We’re trying to save for a wedding, a hypothetical maternity leave and pay off my boyfriend’s consumer debt – all while saving for retirement,” Ruth says. “I’m worried that we’re not paying down his debt aggressively enough, yet he wants a lavish wedding."
Wanted: A stress-free, debt-free life
Mike and Morley are in their 40s with two children. Although they earn $183,485 between them, “the experience of being in debt has been unbearable,” Mike says. “I have been kept awake by the stress almost constantly,” he adds. They hope to have the last of their loans paid off by summer’s end. Can they fix up the house, buy some new furniture, replace their cars and help with their children’s higher education without going into debt again?
Couple in their 60s want to downsize home, not lifestyle
Tess and Lee, both in their mid-60s, are ready to sell their million-dollar Toronto home and enjoy the fruits of their labour. Rather than downsizing to a luxury condo, they want to rent a nice apartment but are not sure how much they can afford. The couple wants to know how they can keep to a minimum the claw-back of Old Age Security benefits once they invest the proceeds of their house sale? “We’re wondering what strategies we could consider to reduce the potential tax hit,” Tess writes.
Can Iris, 68, retire and still hang on to her house?
sixty-eight and single again, Iris is tiring of her part time public-sector job and yearning to hang up her hat. “I see four possibilities, none of which is great,” she says. “Keep my lovely little home and just continue working at an undesirable job until I keel over, move into my apartment and rent the main house, sell my home and find a rental outside of Toronto (where rent is cheaper), or sell everything and move to an ex-pat community in Ecuador or Mexico.”
Couple's retirement plan meets cold reality
Haley and Hank have worked diligently over the years to pay off the mortgage on their Ontario home and build a nest egg. She is 54, he is 51. She does not expect a severance package if she is let go from her job as a letter carrier, but she will be entitled to a pension at age 60. Hank has no company pension. They’d like to know they can continue to travel when they no longer are working. “We usually take one big trip a year and three to four long-weekend getaways,” Haley says.
Can Elise, 54, down-shift to part-time work by age 60?
Elise’s lifestyle is modest. She enjoys running, cycling and dinners at home. Elise wonders how to allocate the money she has been spending on education once she gets her degree: Pay down her mortgage or catch up with her unused RRSP contributions?