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After a couple of years, the novelty of being retired wore off for Ian Raynor of Strathroy, Ont., who took on new projects to fight the boredom.Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail

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In Tales from the Golden Age, retirees talk about their spending, savings and whether life after work is what they expected.

Ian Raynor, 80, Strathroy, Ont.

I retired in November 2017 at age 73, after an almost 40-year career in various industries, ranging from agribusiness to pharmaceuticals to property management. I was ready to retire, to relax a little bit. However, after a couple of years, the novelty of being retired wore off and boredom set in. I realized I’m not someone who can sit around and do nothing. I needed a project or two to keep busy.

One of my current hobbies is growing and showing Dahlias. It’s an intriguing plant with an extraordinary genetic makeup. I belong to Dahlia clubs in Toronto and Hamilton. Every September, I show my blooms. Achieving good results gives you nothing more than bragging rights, but it’s fascinating and enjoyable. I also like to play bridge, and my wife, who’s also retired, and I like to go to the local theatre. We also spend a lot of time with our two kids and two grandkids.

I also wrote a book that a local company recently published. It’s called A Nation Robbed, about my life growing up in Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe) from the end of the Second World War until the country’s independence. I felt that outside of southern Africa, little is known about the country’s history. I believed it was worth documenting. I started researching and writing the book during the pandemic lockdowns and found it very therapeutic.

My wife and I live fairly comfortably in retirement. However, the rising cost of living has forced us to cut back in some areas, such as travel. The financial market volatility also doesn’t help when you live on a fixed income.

I started saving for retirement when I moved to Canada in my mid-30s, but my effort could, at best, be described as average. We’ve also been through four financial advisers in our lifetime, which is not something we’re particularly proud of. In hindsight, we should have better researched who we invested with and if their philosophy aligned with ours.

We’re happy with our current firm, and there has been a dramatic improvement in our portfolio’s value, but it’s not as large as we’d like it to be. I think more should be done to assist retirees with their financial plans. Maybe it should be considered an essential service.

Of course, retirement is about more than money. You also need to try to stay healthy. Too many people take their health for granted. You can’t; otherwise, it can get away from you. I try to get out for walks during the week, but it’s hard in the winter with the ice and snow. And there’s no point in having a healthy body without a healthy mind. Apart from exercise, I try to keep my mind active. Fortunately, I always have several small self-induced projects on the go to keep mine sharp.

As told to Brenda Bouw.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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.

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