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Seniors have been investing in home workout equipment since the pandemic hit.

diego cervo/getty images

How to bulk up your home gym

Mark Andrew has always made fitness a priority. “I was told once that ‘motion is lotion.’ If you get up in the morning and you do a 45-minute spin class, you’re going to feel better,” says the 65-year-old. He was a regular at spin and other workout classes, but when the pandemic hit and gyms closed, he needed a new plan to keep moving. Mr. Andrew, who lives with his wife in a two-bedroom condo in downtown Vancouver, carved out a corner of the dining room and started investing in equipment: first a spin bike, then mats, progressively heavier weights and even a small set of kettlebells. Mr. Andrew is among a plethora of people investing in home workout equipment since the pandemic hit. While many fitness lovers (and even some haters) are expected to return to the gym when the pandemic passes, those who made big investments in workout equipment over the past year are expected to stick with it and maybe even add to their home set-ups. Stacy Lee Kong reports.

With mortgage up for renewal, retired couple dwell on their credit lines

Five years into their retirement, Garth and Karen are wondering how long they can maintain their lifestyle without having to sell their house. He is age 69 and worked in health care, she is 65 and worked in education. They have five adult children between them, one of whom they’re currently helping out with rent. “We are a retired couple, married three years, living in Toronto,” Karen writes in an e-mail. For income they use Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Karen’s pension, RRIF withdrawals and line of credit funds. During their working years, they both had good incomes. They are concerned because their mortgage is coming up for renewal this year, giving them the opportunity to consolidate some or all of their debt. Dianne Maley asked Matthew Sears, a vice-president and certified financial planner at T.E. Wealth in Toronto, to look at Garth and Karen’s situation in the Globe’s latest Financial Facelift.

Bond for investors who fear both high rates and a market crash

Has there ever been a more uncomfortable time to hold bonds? As Rob Carrick reports, it’s not just the fact that the benchmark bond index has lost ground so far this year. Interest rates are widely expected to start to edge higher at some point in the next 12 months, which is negative for bonds. Meantime, the stock market surge of the past 15 months has heightened concerns about an eventual correction. Bonds will help stabilize a portfolio when this pullback happens. How do you navigate this contradiction-filled outlook? Check out this Globe Investor Watchlist of short-term bond ETFs and evaluated returns for the year through early June.

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In case you missed it

Should you preplan – and prepay – for your funeral?

Most people save money and buy insurance to plan for life’s misfortunes – but bypass the inevitable misfortune of death, says Winnipeg-based funeral home operator Kevin Sweryd. Too often, he says, people leave funeral planning to loved ones they leave behind, which can mean paying more than they should for services as inflation creeps in each year. It also puts an extra burden on family members at the time of your death when all they want to do is grieve. But the trend is starting to change. Mr. Sweryd is seeing a growing number of people who are preplanning their funerals – and prepaying for them too – instead of leaving it for loved ones to sort out, Joel Schlesinger writes.

Why so many retirees can’t sleep

If you’re a senior having trouble getting enough shut-eye, you’re far from alone. Sleep issues can worsen as you get older and experts say not having a job to go to every day can be part of the reason. Some retirees may also be less social, less physically active and spend more time indoors away from natural light. A senior’s circadian rhythm – the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle – also changes. As Gillian Livingston reports, there are strategies to get a good night’s rest as you get older.

What else we’re reading

The F.I.R.E. movement isn’t for everyone

Early retirement is a dream for many people, but for followers of the F.I.R.E. (financial independence/retire early) movement it’s a mission. F.I.R.E. folks live extremely frugal in their 20s and 30s so they can retire decades earlier than most people. This MarketWatch article looks at why F.I.R.E. isn’t for everyone. Author Richard Quinn writes, “Things that strike me as too frugal: Never going out to eat. Never traveling. Not owning a car. Living on a remote piece of land and chopping firewood for heat.” But it isn’t just the extreme frugality of the F.I.R.E. movement that bothers Mr. Quinn. “Rather, it’s also the related claim that they’re financially independent.” The opinion piece also sparked quite the conversation in the article’s comments section.

Why climate change should be part of your retirement plan

There’s an increasing new concern for Canadians considering moving south for the winter: climate change. This Forbes article looks at retirees in places such as Florida who are grappling with climate change uncertainty, specifically with hurricane season. Climate change has introduced a new “cone of uncertainty around where to live in older age,” the article states. It’s not just places like Florida either. Climate change is also a concern in Canada, especially for retirees and others moving to homes close to the water. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, flooding poses the highest risk to homeowners due to climate change.

Tips for less-active seniors to get out and about post-pandemic

The pandemic has been hard for most people, but particularly for older people struggling with physical, emotional and cognitive issues. After more than a year of largely being cooped up inside amid the pandemic, these folks are expected to be challenged to get back out in the world. This article has some tips on how to get moving again, including having realistic expectations about how quickly you can return to your normal pre-pandemic activities. “Understand that this has been a time of psychological trauma for many people and it’s impacted the way we behave,” states Dr. Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. “We’re not going to go back to pre-pandemic activity and engagement like turning on a light switch. We need to respect what people’s limits are.”

Have a question about money or lifestyle topics for seniors, or want to suggest a story idea for the Sixty Five series? Please e-mail us at sixtyfive@globeandmail.com and we will find experts and answer your questions in future newsletters.

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