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After a couple of years, the novelty of being retired wore off for Ian Raynor of Strathroy, Ont., who took on new projects to fight the boredom.Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail

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Ian Raynor retired in November 2017 at age 73, after an almost 40-year career in various industries, ranging from agribusiness to pharmaceuticals to property management. “I was ready to retire, to relax a little bit,” says the now 80 year old, in this Tales from the Golden Age article. However, after a couple of years, the novelty of being retired wore off and boredom set in. “I realized I’m not someone who can sit around and do nothing. I needed a project or two to keep busy.”

One of Raynor’s hobbies is growing and showing Dahlias. “It’s an intriguing plant with an extraordinary genetic makeup,” he says. “I belong to Dahlia clubs in Toronto and Hamilton. Every September, I show my blooms. Achieving good results gives you nothing more than bragging rights, but it’s fascinating and enjoyable.” Raynor also likes to play bridge, and with his wife, who’s also retired, go to the local theatre. “We also spend a lot of time with our two kids and two grandkids.”

Raynor also wrote a book that a local company recently published. It’s called A Nation Robbed, about his life growing up in Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe) from the end of the Second World War until the country’s independence. “I felt that outside of southern Africa, little is known about the country’s history. I started researching and writing the book during the pandemic lockdowns and found it very therapeutic.”

The Raynors live fairly comfortably in retirement. However, the rising cost of living has forced the couple to cut back in some areas, such as travel. The financial market volatility also doesn’t help when you live on a fixed income, he notes.

“We’ve also been through four financial advisers in our lifetime, which is not something we’re particularly proud of,” he adds. “In hindsight, we should have better researched who we invested with and if their philosophy aligned with ours.”

Read the full article here.

Are you a Canadian retiree interested in discussing what life is like now that you’ve stopped working? The Globe is looking for people to participate in its Tales from the Golden Age feature, which examines the personal and financial realities of retirement. If you’re interested in being interviewed for this feature and agree to use your full name and have a photo taken, please e-mail us at: Please include a few details about how you saved and invested for retirement and what your life is like now.

Marjorie, 65, confronts unclear financial plan after the unexpected death of her husband

After her husband died unexpectedly, Marjorie struggled to make sense of her new financial circumstances. He had handled the investments.

“Now I’m in the unfortunate situation of having to deal with the finances,” she writes in an e-mail. “I’m paralyzed with fear on how to deal with the portfolio he left.”

For Marjorie, managing her savings and investments would be a steep learning curve. “The information I am getting from family members is all over the place,” she continues.

Yet investing properly is critical to her financial security because her defined benefit (DB) pension, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) benefits fall short of her lifestyle spending. To cover the shortfall, she will have to depend on her savings.

In addition to investing, Marjorie asks about strategies to withdraw from her savings and the tax implications of withdrawals.

“Will I have enough savings to last to age 90?” she asks. Will she have enough to pay for a nursing home later in life if she needs it?

In this Financial Facelift, Warren MacKenzie, a certified financial planner and chartered professional accountant based in Toronto, looks at Marjorie’s situation.

Want a free financial facelift? E-mail

I may not be the most talented harp student but at my age, I have the most chutzpah

“I’m a 66-year-old harp student,” writes Nina Spencer, in this First Person essay. “Others in my class are five, seven, 10, 14 … The next oldest is 30, tops. I fancy myself the sage elder, hoping that they see me as a source of inspiration, in the vein of, ‘You’re never too old …’ or, ‘If she can do it, I can, too!’”

Four years ago, when Spencer first started out, she managed eight in-person lessons before the pandemic locked everyone down. For the next three years, spring recitals were a hodgepodge of students Zoom-playing for family and friends from the comfort of their homes.

“I can play my entire repertoire flawlessly – when no one’s looking,” she says. “But those three spring Zoom recitals generated performance anxiety for me, causing the occasional wince-worthy gaffe.” Something about being watched and recorded, perhaps? But nothing too embarrassing, she adds.

But last year was a whole new ball game. “That spring came with a real venue. A real audience. Harps galore on a real stage. An excited crowd. Clapping. Filming. Fidgeting folks. Coughers. A real recital!”

Read the full article here.

First Person is a daily personal piece submitted by readers. Have a story to tell? See our guidelines at

In case you missed it

How ‘drop-out’ years affect Canadians’ CPP retirement benefits

This is the latest article in our series, Planning for the CPP, in which Globe Advisor reporter Brenda Bouw explores the decisions behind when to take CPP benefits and reviews different aspects of the beloved and often-debated government-sponsored pension plan.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits play a big role in how soon – and how comfortably – many Canadians can retire. The amount received depends largely on a person’s lifetime CPP contributions and when they decide to start taking the pension. Then, it gets a little more nuanced.

CPP calculations also remove or “drop out” Canadians’ no- or low-income years, such as the start of their careers when salaries tend to be lower, time away from the work force to raise kids, or time off due to a disability. CPP benefits are usually higher once these drop-out years are removed.

Understanding how drop-out years impact CPP benefits is critical for advisors when developing financial plans for clients.

The most common CPP provision is the general drop-out years, says Matthew Castling, senior financial planner with the Bender, Bender, & Bortolotti team at PWL Capital Inc. in Vancouver.

When the CPP calculates the base component of a person’s pension, it drops out up to eight years (or 96 months) of their lowest earnings from age 18 to 65. That’s 17 per cent of those 47 years. Mr. Castling notes the 47-year maximum can be further reduced by child-rearing and disability drop-out years, which are done before the general drop-out calculations.

A common scenario Mr. Castling comes across is people who retire before 65 and see their CPP reduced because of the number of zero-contribution years in their calculation. For example, someone who retires at 60 would make no contributions for the five years between 60 and 65. However, Mr. Castling says someone who has made maximum CPP contributions consistently throughout their working life may not be affected by retiring early due to the available drop-out provisions.

Some people who retire early may wish to delay starting their CPP as long as possible as it will result in a higher monthly payment, says Jason Heath, certified financial planner and managing director at Objective Financial Partners Inc. in Markham, Ont.

Read the full article here.

For more from our series, go to Planning for the CPP.

Are you incredibly lazy? These tax filing tips are for you

The deadline for filing taxes in Canada for 2024 is April 30. As the big day approaches, Globe Advisor and Globe Investor have teamed-up to offer advice on how to maximize returns, find credits and avoid an audit. For more from Globe Advisor, visit our homepage.

Few people cherish the opportunity to spend a weekend or more filling out paperwork and sifting through months-old receipts just to let the government know how much money they made last year, writes personal finance reporter Erica Alini, in this Investing article. But, she adds, keeping the tax-filing effort to a minimum will generally cost you.

You’ll have to pay a professional to do the work for you and might miss out on several tax credits and deductions that would lower the amount you owe or boost your refund. In fact, even hiring an accountant might not ensure you’re taking advantage of every tax break you’re eligible for if you haven’t done proper bookkeeping, said Kaitlin Kirk, an Ottawa-based chartered professional accountant.

Her advice to reduce your tax-time workload and stress is to “put in a small amount of effort monthly.”

This is especially important if you’re self-employed, Alini notes, which requires recording not only work-related expenses but money coming in, as clients pay your invoices. If your financial inflows and outflows are relatively straightforward, recording them monthly in an Excel sheet and saving digital receipts in a dedicated folder on your computer – ideally backed up in the cloud – will do, Ms. Kirk said.

But accounting software such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks or Wave can help streamline and speed up that process, Ms. Kirk added. And consider an app such as Dext, which allows you to scan and save your receipts.

The Canada Revenue Agency provides a handy online list of certified tax-filing software. Many of those programs ask for payment only when it’s time to file your completed return, so you can test drive a few of them for free before choosing one, Ms. Kirk said.

Read the full article here.

Retirement Q&A

As part of the ongoing series, Planning for the CPP, we invite readers to ask questions about their Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement benefits and find experts to answer them.

Q: Should I take my CPP at 60 and invest it? I know the returns will depend on stock market returns over time, but can you do some calculations on average returns of, say, 5 per cent? What are the pros and cons of this strategy versus waiting until 65 or 70?

We asked Owen Winkelmolen, an advice-only financial planner and founder of financial planning firm in London, Ont., to answer this one.

There are many pros and cons to delaying CPP benefits. Your question alludes to the famous CPP break-even age question, so let’s explore that first.

Let’s assume your CPP at 65 would be $1,000 a month and your CPP at 60 would be $640 a month, which is 36 per cent lower for starting five years early. If you take the CPP starting at 60, there would be $38,400 in CPP payments made between 60 and 65. However, if you take the CPP starting at 65, these monthly payments are $360 more.

The simplistic break-even analysis for delaying CPP would suggest that your break-even happens after 107 months, $38,400 divided by $360, or around the age of 73 and 11 months. But as your question astutely points out, that doesn’t include investment returns, so how does the break-even age change when we add investment returns?

If we add real investment returns of 3 per cent (5 per cent nominal returns and inflation of 2 per cent), the break-even happens later, at 76 and four months. Investing those early CPP payments between 60 and 65 (or drawing less from your investment portfolio during that time) means the break-even point gets pushed further out. If you delay the CPP from 60 to 70, the break-even point happens even later, at 81 and three months.

This analysis includes several assumptions:

  • That your marginal tax rate is the same now and in the future. If your marginal tax rate is lower or higher in the future, this will impact the analysis.
  • That the zero-earning years being added between 60 and 65 will not be a drag on your CPP benefit; this only applies to someone who has made a maximum contribution over 39 years.
  • It doesn’t include the impact of variable investment returns and inflation rates.
  • It doesn’t consider Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) clawbacks after the age of 65 for lower- and moderate-income retirees. GIS clawbacks are triggered by CPP benefits and other taxable income, so a higher CPP benefit after 65 may not be as attractive.
  • That you have a long and healthy retirement and can reach the break-even age.

Have a question about money or lifestyle topics for seniors? E-mail us at and we will find experts and answer your questions in future newsletters. Interested in more stories about retirement? Sixty Five aims to inspire Canadians to live their best lives, confidently and securely. Sign up for our weekly Retirement Newsletter.

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