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Golfing partners Chris Stoat, left, and Pat Sanderson, both retired, have recently taken up golf. They both say they enjoy the social aspect of the game and have fun, as long as they don’t take the game too seriously.Peter Power/the globe and mail

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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.

Can this 65-year-old novice investor ‘live the dream’?

Mila was “forced into retirement” after 30 years with the same company because of downsizing and she worries she has not managed her money well so far. She is 65 and single with no children. “I got a fairly good buyout that paid all my debts, and I have managed a few really good trips to Europe,” Mila writes in an e-mail.

Mila’s other life-changing event was a cancer scare. She’s healthy now, “but it’s something that is always at the back of your mind,” she writes. A month or so ago, she sold her Greater Toronto Area condo so she can afford to travel and spend more time abroad. Now, she’s wondering how to invest the sale proceeds.

“My goal is to spend three to six months a year in Europe in a rented apartment overlooking the sea, living the dream,” Mila writes. She may decide to move overseas full time.

In the latest Financial Facelift article, Janet Gray, an advice-only financial planner at Money Coaches Canada in Ottawa, looks at Mila’s situation.

Nearly a third of Canadians rely on workplace pension to retire, survey says

Twenty-nine per cent of Canadians believe their employer-sponsored pension plan will be their primary source of retirement income, according to LifeWorks Inc.’s latest financial well-being index. A report on the survey in Benefits Canada indicated 15 per cent of respondents said they’re relying on government pension plans.

The survey also found 67 per cent said they’re questioning how much money they’ll need in retirement and, among these respondents, 44 per cent said they’re unsure and 23 per cent said they didn’t know.

The best global cities for retirement (including three in Canada)

A new study says Vancouver is the best Canadian city in which to retire, following by Toronto and Montreal.

The study from London-based Veolar says Vancouver is in 29th spot followed by Toronto at 30 and Montreal at 31. They’re the only three Canadian cities to make the list, which is based on a range of factors including later life liveability, financial security, health care and wealth management.

Tokyo was ranked the top retirement city in the world, followed by Wellington, New Zealand and Singapore. Paris and Vienna round out the top five.

In case you missed it

Seniors are busting out their travel bucket lists

Elizabeth Forsythe wasted no time booking a trip to Florida after travel restrictions were lifted on the Canada-U.S. border.

The 69-year-old from Sussex, N.B., will be heading to Orlando with a group of girlfriends for some shopping and fun in the sun in mid-May.

“We have rented a car and a house and plan to do a lot of shopping, eating, sitting around the pool and take some day excursions,” says Ms. Forsythe. She is used to going south at least once a year to visit her brother in South Carolina and enjoy a sun-destination getaway, plus some quick jaunts across the border.

“We are [close] to the border and I go shopping with friends in Bangor several times a year. With the pandemic, this all came to a screaming halt.”

Like many Canadians who plan to take advantage of their retirement years by travelling, Ms. Forsythe is very pleased restrictions have ended. Dene Moore reports.

How to cut your kids out of your will

Are you thinking about disinheriting your kids?

Experts say that deciding to cut off a child or children in your will comes with financial, emotional and practical considerations. It’s your right to not pass your assets on to an independent adult child or children, but it’s important to get good advice, document your reasons, certify your state of mind and communicate your wishes to those you are disinheriting.

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise,” says Rachel Blumenfeld, a partner in the tax, trusts and estates group at Aird & Berlis in Toronto and deputy chair of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Canada.

She says the reasons parents disinherit kids can range from disagreements over lifestyle choices or political views to feelings of estrangement, concerns that their heirs don’t need money and fears that their offspring lack the judgment or the financial wherewithal to handle the funds. Mary Gooderham reports.

Ask Sixty Five

Question: In all the discussions on when to take the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), I never see the impact of non-contributory years on the decision of when to take the CPP. For example, if one retires at 59, there are six non-contributory years before reaching age 65. Each of those non-contributory years reduces the pension. What is your advice for those of us in this situation? Take it now (before age 65 or 70) or wait until 70? Isn’t the benefit of waiting to age 70 significantly reduced due to the six non-contributory years?

We asked Jason Heath, certified financial planner and managing director at fee-only planning firm Objective Financial Partners Inc. in Markham, Ont., to answer this one:

The CPP is a contributory pension calculated based on historical contributions. These contributions are made each year from employment and self-employment income. CPP can start between ages 60 and 70. The longer you wait, the more you get.

However, years of low or no CPP contributions may impact a CPP retirement pension calculation. There is a general drop-out provision of 17 per cent of a pensioner’s contributory period. So, someone who starts CPP at the earliest age of 60 can exclude seven out of 42 years between age 18 and 60 from their pension calculation. At age 65, the dropout period increases to eight years out of 47 years, but someone who retires before age 60 may add five years of zero contributions to their contributory period.

At age 65, each year of zero contributions for someone who has not contributed the maximum for at least 35 years could reduce a CPP pension by about 2.5 per cent. But other factors like low-income years while raising children or being a CPP disability pension recipient could also have an impact. Each year of deferral between age 60 and 65 increases the CPP retirement pension calculation by 7.2 per cent. So, deferring CPP always results in a higher retirement pension, but each additional year of low or no contributions will also reduce the benefit somewhat. There will still be a net increase in the CPP retirement pension calculation to defer.

This situation usually does not apply for a pensioner who defers their CPP from age 65 to age 70. There is an 8.4-per-cent increase per year in the pension between ages 65 and 70, and as long as the applicant’s contributory period is more than 15 years, there is no reduction for having no income after 65.

To defer or not to defer is a personalized decision that should be based upon other financial, family and health factors. CPP is an important retirement income source that should be considered in a retirement plan.

Editor’s note: We’ve updated the explanation about when this situation does not apply for pensioners to accommodate a correction from the expert.

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.