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Carol Fysh at her home in Milton, Ont.TIJANA MARTIN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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“I retired at age 61 after a career that included being a host on The Shopping Channel, creating my own skin care line and launching a sexual wellness show called Intimately You that aired on Citytv and The Shopping Channel,” says Carol Fysh, 64, in the latest Tales From the Golden Age.

“I decided it was time to retire while on a cruise off the coast of Sicily with my husband, celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary,” she recalls. “I just knew I was ready to make the change. My husband, a former radio host for more than 40 years, had retired three years earlier at age 64 after realizing there would only be a minor difference in his pension if he stayed until age 65.” They both talked for a living and loved their jobs, but they felt it was time to enjoy some solitude and embark on new adventures. “While we were both asked to return to our jobs part-time, we declined and never looked back.”

Many people are nervous about retirement, she adds, and ask her, ‘What will you do all day?’ “Our days are full. We try to stay healthy and fit. My husband plays pick-up hockey and he’ll be off to Iceland with his teammates later this year,” says Fysh, who takes Latin dance lessons twice a week.

Find out how else Fysh keeps busy and navigates concerning financial markets in 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 Gertrude make her investments last a lifetime, even without a pension?

After a spell of discouraging stock market performance, Gertrude wonders if she has enough savings and investments to retire in the next two or three years.

She’s thinking of leaving behind her $175,000 a year executive job in the Alberta oilpatch – or “maybe not if I’m still having fun,” she writes in an e-mail. Gertrude is age 58 and single again. Her daughter, who is 23, is living at home while she completes her studies.

Gertrude’s desired after-tax retirement budget is $65,000 to $70,000 a year, but with no workplace pension, her investments have to last a lifetime.

“My portfolio has been flat for two years,” Gertrude writes. She moved her portfolio from one major investment dealer to another when the stock market was high “and then, of course, it fell shortly thereafter,” she adds. “I’m not sure if it’s that I don’t have the right asset mix or if it’s the manager – or neither and it’s just bad luck.”

In this Financial Facelift, Clay Gillespie, a certified financial planner and portfolio manager at RGF Integrated Wealth Management in Vancouver, looks at Gertrude’s situation.

Want a free financial facelift? E-mail

Should low-income Canadians save for retirement?

In the latest Charting Retirement article, Frederick Vettese, former chief actuary at Morneau Shepell and author of Retirement Income for Life, looks at the pros and cons of saving for retirement for low-income Canadians here.

In case you missed it

Delaying CPP to age 70? Tips to withdraw other retirement income tax efficiently until then

Most Canadians are advised to delay their Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) benefits to age 70 if possible, writes Globe Advisor staff reporter Brenda Bouw, but are left with the question of how to withdraw other retirement income tax efficiently until then.

For more straightforward portfolios, the advice is often to start taking money out of non-registered accounts first and leave funds inside registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) or tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs) because of their tax advantages.

However, the strategy may be more nuanced if the investor has other sources of taxable income or a major one-time expense.

“Each client is going to be very different and will have their own unique set of circumstances and tax implications,” says Kathryn Del Greco, senior investment advisor with Del Greco Wealth Management at TD Wealth Private Investment Advice in Toronto.

Why wait to take CPP and OAS? Read the full article here to find out.

How to use your home equity to pay for long-term care

According to personal finance columnist Rob Carrick, relying on your home to pay for your retirement is a bad plan. But, he adds, what about using home equity to pay for the latter stage of retirement – the years when you need long-term care?

Long-term care is as unappealing a topic as there is in personal finance because it forces us to confront that fact that we may reach a point in life where we can no longer look after ourselves. Still, Carrick says, we need to plan for the cost of long-term care. People are living longer, which means more likelihood of dealing with dementia or health conditions that leave them at least partially disabled.

Read the full article here.

Retirement Q&A

Q: I’m 55 and I’ve recently been made aware of the term ‘decumulation’ as it refers to my retirement. Can you explain what it is and how it works?

We asked Eric Monteiro, senior vice-president, Group Retirement Services, Sun Life Canada, to answer this one

The easiest way to think about decumulation is, how you will spend your savings in retirement.

Spending your money in retirement might seem simple – just spend the money when you need it. But when you reach retirement, mapping out your income and how you will draw down your savings can be complicated. It involves many factors such as health, household income, ensuring your money lasts, optimizing your tax bills, what property you have and a wide range of expense considerations. Depending on your unique retirement goals, these factors will vary.

In the years leading up to retirement, there are several considerations that you will need to look at as part of your retirement plan, including: identifying your various income sources, how much money you will need during various stages of retirement, when you will start receiving income from government plans like the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan, how to tax-efficiently draw down your savings and whether you plan to leave inheritance for your loved ones. All of this feeds into a decumulation strategy, which is how you will effectively use your savings and other retirement income sources.

Decumulation can also mean “retirement readiness,” which can sound intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. There is a wide range of tools and advice available to Canadians, and reaching out to a financial advisor and creating a plan right now is a great place to start.

The right advice and resources can simplify the road ahead to ensure you reach those long-term goals. For more information on decumulation planning, check out Sun Life’s Decumulation Playbook.

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. Read more here and sign up for our weekly Retirement Newsletter.

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