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Canadian Joanne Stuart, now based in Mexico, with husband Jim Stuart, at Blarney Castle, Ireland, in September, 2022.Handout

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Joanne Stuart, 70, retired at age 59 after working as a career development professional in the Barrie, Ont., area. A few years before that, she a month off work so she and her husband Jim and I could spend time in Mexico.

“We were considering moving there in retirement and wanted to see if it would be a good fit. A year later, I asked for two months off to go back again, and my employer asked me if I was interested in retiring. I saw myself working for at least three or four more years, but then Jim and I thought about it more and decided it was time,” says Ms. Stuart in the latest Tales from the Golden Age article. Her husband had retired a few years earlier from a career in real estate.

“I remember the first day of retirement very clearly,” she adds. “It was a Monday, and I was walking down the road near our former home in Penetanguishene, Ont., with this tickle in my stomach. I felt free. I felt childlike, realizing that I could do whatever I wanted all day for the rest of my life.”

Read the full article here including how Ms. Stuart took up ballet and acting in her new home in Ajijic, Mexico.

Calling all retirees: Are you a retiree interested in discussing what life is like now that you’ve stopped working? How are higher inflation and volatile markets affecting your retirement? Globe Investor looking for people to participate in its Tales from the Golden Age feature, which looks at the realities of retirement living. We’ll also ask you to offer some advice for others in retirement, or those considering it. 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 a few details about your retirement life so far at:

More Canadians are carrying their mortgages into old age, and it’s complicating retirement plans

More retirement-age Canadians are still paying off a mortgage, and financial advisers say rising interest rates will make it even more challenging for Canadians to pay off their home before they retire.

The number of people older than 65 with an outstanding mortgage in their residence increased from 1.2 million to 1.5 million between 2016 and 2021 according to Statistics Canada, although the agency noted they don’t measure whether others residing in the home are contributing to mortgage payments. However, the number of seniors living alone with a mortgage also grew, from roughly 181,000 to 220,000 in the same time frame.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. data also showed an increase in the share of people aged 65 and older with a mortgage. People in that age group accounted for 10 per cent of mortgages in 2017, and 13 per cent of mortgages in 2022. The age group also accounts for 9 per cent of the country’s outstanding mortgage balance, compared with 7 per cent in 2017.

Furthermore, a 2022 survey of more than 1,500 people conducted by Angus Reid and commissioned by two financial advising firms found that 40 per cent of respondents either planned to delay or have already delayed retirement because they were carrying too much debt.

Jason Heath, managing director of Objective Financial Partners, a fee-only financial planning firm in Markham, Ont., said the trend of more retirement-age people carrying mortgages was first fuelled by years of rapidly increasing housing prices and is now being compounded by rapidly increasing interest rates. Salmaan Farooqui reports.

Should this senior melt down her RRSP to try to save some of her OAS from being clawed back?

In the year or two after her husband died, Irene got a crash course in financial planning, hiring and firing a series of investment advisers, selling her stocks and then reinvesting, and plotting a strategy to hang on to as much of her Old Age Security benefits as possible.

“I now manage my investments entirely on my own,” Irene writes in an e-mail. She is age 66 and retired with no dependants. She owns her Manitoba house outright. Irene has a tax-free savings account and a large registered retirement savings plan with a discount broker, “all stocks,” Irene writes. She has a smaller TFSA, “all cash in a variable savings account,” a registered retirement income fund in a five-year GIC at 5.1 per cent, and a savings account.

Her regular monthly income includes slightly more than $1,000 a month in Canada Pension Plan benefits and a small defined benefit pension that pays slightly less than $1,200 a month. The balance she draws from her RRSP. “I have deferred OAS to age 70 because I want to avoid having all of it clawed back, but I don’t think that’s possible,” Irene adds.

“I already do whatever it is I want to do, be it travel, home renovations or whatever,” Irene writes. “My main concern, my main goal, is to ensure that I have enough money to live independently until the very end of my life, meaning in my own home or apartment, with paid care if necessary.” Her spending target is $90,000 a year after tax.

In the latest Financial Facelift article, Kaitlyn Douglas, a certified financial planner at Manulife Securities Inc. in Winnipeg, looks at Irene’s situation.

In case you missed it

Not having to get up at 1 a.m. anymore was enough of a transition for this 69-year-old retiree

Sal Borg, 69, retired in 2015, at age 61, after running a wholesale fruit and vegetable produce company, Sanci Tropical Foods, in Toronto’s Kensington Market. It was a family business started by his grandfather in 1914. His mother took it over in 1949, and he started working there in 1975 and began running the business in 1984. They sold it in 2015.

“The new owners wanted me to work for them for two years to help with the transition, but I didn’t want to do it any more. I was burned out,” he says in the latest In Tales from the Golden Age feature.

Mr. Borg says he was lucky to have a hobby playing guitar, writing music and performing with local bands and has travelled across North America since he stopped running the business.

Read the full interview here, including how the divorced father finds dating in retirement.

Retirement Q&A

Question: What documents do you have to show in order to qualify for Old Age Security (OAS) and guaranteed income supplements? Is it enough just to fill up the application form?

We asked Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC Private Wealth in Toronto, to answer this one. to answer this one:

The OAS pension is a monthly payment you may get if you are 65 and older. In most cases, Service Canada will be able to automatically enroll you for the OAS pension, so you do not have to apply to get this benefit.

Service Canada will inform you if you have been automatically enrolled. If the government does not have enough information to enroll you for the OAS pension automatically, you will have to apply for the Old Age Security pension. You can find information for applying for the OAS pension at here.

If you are already receiving your OAS pension, you may also qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). You may have to apply for the GIS if the government does not have enough information to enroll you automatically.

You can find information for applying for the GIS here.

The amount you will receive is based on your income as indicated on your filed income tax return, making it essential to file a tax return each year.

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.