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Retirement coaches don’t deal with the financial side of retirement. Instead, they help guide clients, most of whom are getting close to retirement or have just retired.iStockPhoto / Getty Images

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Sheila Mitchell wasn’t quite ready for her retirement in early 2020, at age 63. After working for about 40 years, Ms. Mitchell knew the transition to retirement would be a huge adjustment.

The architectural firm she worked for in Edmonton offered her some retirement coaching, starting several weeks before her last day, to help her make the shift. The program included sessions with retirement coach Brian Lambier of Calgary-based Career Vitality Services.

“When we started talking about physical health and mental health, it really did make things clearer for me. And whether I wanted to pursue more paid work or how much volunteer work I wanted to do,” Ms. Mitchell says.

Deciding what to do during retirement can take more work than expected. Many people struggle with the prospect of losing their identity, daily structure and purpose. It can be frightening and overwhelming, which is why many Canadians turn to retirement coaches for help with the lifestyle shift. Kathy Kerr reports

Why a third of Canadians think they may have retired too soon

One-third of recently retired Canadians say they left work too soon, according to a recent RBC Insurance poll. The survey also shows 30 per cent of people who plan to retire changed their leave-work date because of the pandemic.

Among Canadians who have already retired, 28 per cent said they’re spending more than anticipated, while 41 per cent have experienced unexpected expenses, including major home repairs health care or transportation costs and helping family out financially “all of which are further exacerbated by rate hikes and inflation,” the report stated.

Advisor retirement boom fuels growth for succession matchmaking services

Business at Purpose Advisor Solutions Inc. is going gangbusters as more financial advisors enter retirement without succession plans.

The Toronto-based company, which is owned by Purpose Financial, serves as a matchmaker between advisors looking to sell their books of business and those looking to buy. Less than one in 10 Canadian advisors have a formal succession plan in place – 11 per cent to be exact – according to a March 2021 Investment Planning Counsel Inc. (IPC) survey conducted by Environics Research Group Ltd. Purpose Advisor Solutions offers a way to retire on relatively short notice.

“We have seen our pipeline of interested [advisor practices] grow by more than $20-billion in the past 12 months,” says Jeff Gans, the company’s chief executive officer and managing partner. That’s from a base of between $10-billion and $15-billion.

“Not all of those [advisors] will [make the] transition, but they’re engaged actively in considering options outside the traditional channels [such as] banks and insurance companies for their practices.” Jameson Berkow reports on the retirement boom.

Can Pat afford to spend more on travel without jeopardizing her long-term financial security?

With her 60th birthday approaching, Pat is looking to map out her future to see whether she can spend a little more. She has some pension income, some savings and a mortgage-free, lakefront house in small-town B.C. She is recently widowed with two adult children who are financially independent. Her challenge is to balance future needs – possibly for assisted living – with shorter term goals such as building a new deck “and occasionally vacationing in a warmer climate during the winter.”

Her income is $5,390 a month from her late husband’s defined benefit pension of $3,260 and $2,130 in disability pensions. At age 65, her disability pensions will end but she will receive a work pension of $1,080 a month plus government benefits, depending on when she decides to take them.

“After expenses, I stash whatever money remains in my savings account,” Pat writes. “When tax season arrives, I make a plan with my bank whether to invest money in an RRSP or tax-free savings account,” she adds. “I need help understanding what type of retirement I can expect with my limited resources, and how I can make informed financial decisions that align with how I want to live my life in the future.”

At some point she plans to sell her house and perhaps buy a condo apartment in town. Her retirement spending goal is $50,000 a year after tax.

In the latest Financial Facelift column, Warren MacKenzie, head of financial planning at Optimize Wealth Management in Toronto, looks at her situation.

Retirement means writing poetry and filmmaking for this former oil industry exec

In the Globe’s latest Tales from the Golden Age feature, Ross Belot, 63, of Hamilton talks about how he transitioned from working in the oil industry to becoming a celebrated poet and opinion writer in retirement.

“I was making the most money I’ve ever made and I was good at my work, but I had a choice to move to Calgary or retire,” he says in the article. “A friend said to me: ‘What do you want to do?’ After decades of raising a family and working, I realized that asking myself what I wanted was a new thing. I realized what I wanted was to retire. I liked my work, but thought to myself, ‘is this the best thing I could do with my life?’” Read the full story here

In case you missed it

The rising tide of senior surfers

Jeanne Keith-Farris’s earliest memories growing up in California are of playing in the surf with her mother. She dreamed of being on a board on the water when she got a bit older.

Then her family moved to land-locked Colorado when she was 12, followed by Calgary, where she lived until her retirement about a decade ago. Her surfing dreams dried up over the years – but they never died.

When their working years were over, Ms. Keith-Farris and her husband moved to Ucluelet, on the west coast of Vancouver Island and there, in the sand and surf of the Pacific Ocean, her surfing dreams were reignited.

“It’s a little daunting, starting, because I would have been 56 or so then,” she says. She played around in the surf for a few years but “that was not cutting it. That was not surfing.”

“A few months before my 60th birthday I caught my first so-called green wave [an unbroken wave, the kind you see in surf pictures] and just got hooked on it,” she says. “You get that one wave out there that one day and you’ve just got to find that magic again because it’s feels so amazing. And I won’t get them as often as some of the younger kids, but it keeps happening and I keep going for more, trying to find that elusive better wave.”

Now 65, she owns seven surfboards and hits the waves nearly every day when the weather co-operates. Dene Moore reports

Why more seniors are hitting the greens

Chris Stoat realized how fortunate she was to be a golfer over the past two years. The 78-year-old took up the sport in 2018, giving her some time to improve her swing before COVID-19 came along and crowded the links with people seeking a social and physical outlet during the lockdowns.

“It’s so well-suited to COVID: you’re outside, you’re social distancing, you’re active, and it’s something you enjoy,” Ms. Stoat says.

She’s among a growing group of retirees who have taken up golf in recent years and are planning to follow through with the popular pandemic pastime. Anna Sharratt reports

Ask Sixty Five

Question: I will be updating my will soon. In my case, it will be necessary to change my executor due to age and distance issues. The pool of younger, close possibilities to take on the job is very small. I have been considering hiring a professional executor. Could you give advice on what to look for in going this route?

We asked Erin Bury, chief executive officer of online will platform Willful, to answer this one:

Many people choose a spouse, relative or friend as their executor, but not everyone has a personal contact who would be a fit. As Paul Brent outlined in his recent article, it’s important to pick someone you trust, who has capacity to take on the role, and who lives close enough to make the role feasible (this also avoids the tax issues involved with appointing an out-of-country executor).

For anyone who doesn’t have an obvious choice in their network, it may be prudent to consider appointing a professional in the role. There are several options when choosing a professional executor, namely a trust company, a lawyer or an estate settlement firm. Which route you choose will depend on a few things: the size of your estate, since most trust companies will require you meet an asset threshold; your location, since you will want it to be a person/firm close to you; and your desired firm size (for example an individual versus a small boutique firm versus a trust company).

One firm that offers professional executor services is ETP Canada, and founder Debbie Stanley has the following tips when choosing a corporate executor:

  • Meet with the person who would be your main point of contact and interview them to ensure they’re the right fit. They will be your representative when you’re gone, so you want to ensure they align with their values. You may also want to ask for references (for example, family members from an estate they settled).
  • Ask about contingency planning. Who would step in if something happened to your main contact? What is the corporate executors’ succession plan?
  • Ask for a copy of their compensation agreement. Executors are entitled to claim for compensation (whether a corporate executor or an individual), so you will want to review their terms before agreeing to work with them.
  • Ensure your choice is reflected in your will. Typically professional executors will provide a clause that needs to be inserted in the will to reflect their appointment and compensation structure.

If you do appoint an executor in your personal network, they can also engage the services of a lawyer, accountant or estate administration professional to help with the estate settlement process. Any fees incurred would be an expense of the estate, though it’s important to remember that engaging a professional during the estate settlement process can reduce the amount of compensation your executor is entitled to.

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