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Paul Cooper Brown at his home in Vancouver. He started playing guitar six years ago.Jimmy Jeong/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.

Paul Cooper Brown, 74, Vancouver

I retired at age 63 after a career in sales, working for large multinational companies like Xerox Holdings Corp., Motorola Inc. and VTech and some smaller startups. The last decade was spent working as an investment advisor and stockbroker.

In 2010, I had a bout of prostate cancer. I had it removed, and fortunately, it hasn’t spread. Part of my decision to retire was due to that health issue. It was a bit scary, and I felt like there were many things I wanted to do in life that didn’t involve work, so there was no time like the present. I also wasn’t really enjoying my second career as a stockbroker.

Financially, I knew I was ready to retire because my wife and I had paid off the mortgage on our Vancouver home and had no debt. We also had various registered and non-registered investment accounts to rely on for retirement income. I was managing those investments myself until a couple of years ago. I decided I didn’t want to spend the time required to stay on top of the markets, so I hired an advisory firm to manage them. Also, my eyes no longer want to look at a computer screen for four or five hours a day.

I think it’s important to stay healthy, in mind and body, in retirement and to stay socially connected. My wife and I are very active; we play tennis, swim, cycle, hike, and garden. We also take our son’s dog on long walks a few days a week. I also learned how to play the guitar in retirement. I’m still an amateur, but it’s fun and something I can continue learning. I’m also reading more now that I’m not working. It’s nice to have the time to dig deeper into different subjects. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do in retirement!

My retirement also includes teaching private ski lessons at Whistler Blackcomb, something I did for years before retiring and just carried on. I enjoy it, partly because I get to meet many fascinating people from around the world.

I travelled extensively internationally for many years in several of my jobs, and my wife and I continue to travel in retirement. We were in New Zealand recently and then spent Christmas in Tasmania (Australia), where my daughter lives with her husband.

During my days as an advisor, I assisted many clients in planning, preparing and organizing their life for retirement. I feel I am better qualified today after being retired for 10 years. That said, I have no plans to go back to work.

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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