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Debbie Kerr at her home in Edmonton.Megan Albu/The Globe and Mail

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“I retired in 2019 at age 67 after working in the real estate industry for about 40 years,” says Debbie Kerr, 71, of Edmonton, in this Tales from the Golden Age. “I loved my work – it was fun, challenging and constantly changing.” However, she adds, it was important to her to leave while she was still on top of her game and before she was referred to as the ‘old broad’ by her much younger colleagues.

“Retirement was a huge adjustment. After having a super busy and successful career, it was very humbling to find out no one missed me when I left and to see the business carry on smoothly without me,” says Kerr. The phone stopped ringing, e-mails stopped coming and she remembers thinking, “What do I do with all this extra time? What was I going to do with the next 25 years of my life?” Longevity runs in Kerr’s family, and she questioned whether it’s as good a deal as she once thought.

“I decided to run the next chapter of my life like I did my former business – with goals and a purpose. I made an effort to stay in contact with my friends and rekindle relationships with old friends by setting up coffee meetings, lunches and dinners.” Kerr started to golf for fun with the girls, volunteer for community boards and do things that filled in all this spare time she has now. Travelling became a priority because she could do it on her own time, not when the business allowed it to happen.

“I look at life differently now that I’m retired,” Kerr says.

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.

Can Bert, 62, and Lois, 63, afford to retire and buy a vacation property?

Bert is age 62 and hoping to retire by the end of next year from his well-paying job in finance. He earns a base salary of $170,000 a year plus a substantial bonus. His wife, Lois, who is a year older than Bert, retired a few years ago. They have a mortgage-free house in the Greater Toronto Area and two adult children, aged 30 and 31.

Bert has a defined benefit pension plan not indexed to inflation that will pay about $89,000 a year. Lois has a defined contribution pension plan worth about $120,000. They also have other savings and investments.

Short term, they plan to travel extensively, setting aside a travel budget of $20,000 a year and sometimes more. They’re also budgeting $10,000 a year for minor home renovations and replacements.

Their questions: “Can we meet our target after-tax income of $120,000 a year with a life expectancy of age 95 and still use $250,000 to invest in a vacation property or gift to the children?” Bert asks. “How and when should we draw down our savings to minimize tax? When should we commence Canada Pension Plan benefits?”

In this Financial Facelift, Andrew Dobson, a certified financial planner (CFP) at Objective Financial Partners Inc., based in Markham, Ont., an advice-only financial planning firm, looks at Bert and Lois’s situation.

Want a free financial facelift? E-mail

Would Alberta be better off leaving the CPP?

In the latest Charting Retirement article, Fred Vettese, former chief actuary at Morneau Shepell and author of Retirement Income for Life, weighs the pros and cons of Alberta potentially opting out of the CPP here.

In case you missed it

CPP, OAS and RRSP tips for those working in their 70s

“My grandfather used to say that retirement is like taking a vacation in Las Vegas: You want to have fun, but not so much fun that you run out of money,” writes Tim Cestnick, in this Tax Matters column. Some people choose to work into their 70s because they need the money, he adds, and, with prices rising at a pace that we haven’t seen since the late 1970s, it’s no wonder that many seniors are choosing to stay in the work force.

The whole issue of seniors continuing to work is more complex than just this, says Cestnick. “For the first time in Canada’s history there are more people over the age of 65 than there are children under 15.” As our population ages and more folks exit the work force, this is putting pressure on labour force growth that can adversely affect economic growth, he notes. “Our country is having to rely more heavily on productivity growth (which we’re not so good at) and increased work force participation – including seniors – to maintain our pace of improvement in living standards.

Today, there are more folks than ever in their 70s who are in the work force in Canada.

In this article, Cestnick shares a few tips if you’re in that group.

A guide to starting CPP and OAS benefits when you retire – and yes, it’s on you to do that

Contributions to the Canada Pension Plan while you are working are sensibly arranged so that they are made without you having to do a thing, writes personal finance columnist Rob Carrick.

Retirement is different, he adds. It’s up to you to contact the federal government’s Service Canada offices to start CPP retirement benefits. If you forget or are distracted for an extended period by events, you could potentially lose thousands of dollars in benefits.

Read the full article here.

Retirement Q&A

Q: I’m 62 and planning on retiring at 65, but my employer renewed my contract for another five years, which I’m considering accepting. Knowing that my end date is further into the future, should I stay the course with my investments or should I change my strategy? Is CPP still deducted after the age of 65?

We asked Shelley Smith, investment advisor, TD Wealth Private Investment Advice, to answer this one.

Just as every retirement is different, investment strategies don’t come in a one-size-fits-all approach either. Even if you’ve been planning, saving and investing diligently for years, it is always a good idea to sit down with your advisor and review your plan, especially if it’s been a while. It is important to start by reviewing your risk tolerance and investment objectives by asking yourself: What are my financial goals? What do I need to do to achieve them? What am I willing to risk? How you answer these questions will shape your investment strategy.

The retirement lifestyle you wanted five years ago may also have changed, so it’s important to revisit your lifestyle goals to make sure they’re still meaningful for you. And if you have vague notions of how much you’ll need in retirement, now’s the time to put a number on your goals: from everyday expenses to travel to helping kids financially, how much will you need? This is an important step.

It’s also important to understand where your retirement income will come from and when to start taking benefits (CPP/OAS/Pension) and withdrawing money (RRSP and other investment accounts). If you are between 65 and 70 and still working, you can decide whether you want to continue making CPP contributions or opt out. If you choose to continue your contributions, the amount of your CPP benefit will increase with each year’s contributions. To stop your contributions, you’ll need to fill out Form CPT30 and provide a copy to your employer and send the original to the CRA.

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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