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Aaron Oshry inside his home in downtown Edmonton, where he lives with his wife.Megan Albu/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.

Aaron Oshry, 82, Edmonton

I retired in June 2021 at age 80 after working as a lawyer for more than 50 years – first in South Africa and then in Canada – where I moved to at age 33. I loved my career, but there comes a time for a professional to stop, and my time had come. I started to find trial work to be too strenuous. I transitioned to retirement slowly, working four days a week for a few years and then gradually taking on less demanding cases. Thankfully, my daughter, who had been practising with me for about 30 years and is a partner at our independent firm, was very capable of taking over.

The switch to retirement was easy for me. I thought a lot in advance about what I would do and how I would keep busy. I’ve been retired for more than two years and am rarely bored. I swim three or four times a week, work with a personal trainer once a week, and go for lunch twice a week with two different groups of friends. I have a rule to never watch TV during the day. I believe there are better ways to spend my free time. I sometimes worry about being unable to drive as I get older because it could impact my ability to stay active, but I’m fine for the foreseeable future.

I had a successful career while ensuring that money would not be a problem for me and my wife in retirement. We’ve also been cautious with our spending while also saving and investing our money. I use an advisor to manage about half of our investments and handle the other half myself. It’s something I enjoy. I spend about an hour a day looking at our portfolio, both out of interest and to keep an eye on it.

The rising cost of living is a concern, but I’m trying to be realistic. Given our age, it doesn’t matter if my wife and I need to dip into our capital occasionally. Still, we have cut our expenses a bit. The biggest change has been to our travel budget. We’ve travelled extensively to places worldwide but have curtailed that in recent years, which has saved us money. We also sold our house a few years ago and moved into a condo, which is somewhat cheaper.

Of course, a happy retirement isn’t just about money. To me, the secret to a good retirement is having a good marriage, which I do. My wife and I have been happily married for 59 years. We have three children and six grandchildren – three of whom are lawyers or studying to be one. I believe it’s important to keep your brain and body active, including doing some exercise. You don’t have to move like a 30-year-old, but you need to keep moving.

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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