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The experience of actual retirees is the great, untapped resource for people who are preparing for life after they leave the workforce. We don’t hear nearly enough about the experience of retirees, which is why I was drawn to a blog post by a retiree named Carolyn Chodura.

Ms. Chodura retired two years ago at age 53, so she’s had time to reflect on lessons she’s learned. The most interesting takeaway is that only one of eight points is money-related. Lesson Number Six is that switching from being a lifelong saver to spending your savings is a lot easier in a bull market. Well said. It must have been traumatic to step into retirement in late 2008 or early 2009.

The other lessons are mainly about how to fill your days at a point in your life where all your time is leisure time. For example, Ms. Chodura says that people with “high couch potato potential” should schedule activities to ward off lethargy. She also warns against setting expectations for retirement too high and then having disappointment taint your life.

I’m starting to wonder if retirement’s biggest regrets will be more about feeling aimless and unengaged than how much money you saved. Retirees, I’m happy to receive any thoughts you might have.

Note: I created the Globe and Mail Retirement Forum for subscribers as a place where retirees can share their wisdom about what life is like after leaving the workforce. Stay tuned for the next discussion on the forum.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

A $26.99 alternative to cable TV

Housing blogger Sean Cooper on how satisfied he is with the $26.99 TV antenna he bought. He’s pulling in 24 channels, and not paying a cable bill.

Can you cancel a flight because of Coronavirus fears?

A travel insurance specialist says a lot of people are asking this question right now. The answer is usually no.

New home buyer incentive gets blah reception

Introduced in the last federal budget and then tweaked in last fall’s election campaign, the Liberal government’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive hasn’t been a big hit with home buyers so far. A theory: the Liberals knew they needed to do something to help young home buyers, but didn’t want to do anything that would add unneeded momentum to home sales. Mission accomplished?

Approach this investment with caution

Much-needed advice to be careful when considering private investments, which are also called alternative investments. We’re talking here about private equity, venture capital, real estate and infrastructure. I’m hearing a lot more pitches for this kind of product these days, and I have seen it before. Might be a symptom of concern about stock market declines – people wondering where else they can invest.

Tweet of the week

Ask Rob

Q: Please put this question to rest once and for all: can I start receiving OAS at 65 or 67 years of age?

A: You can apply for Old Age Security at age 65, but there’s an option to delay as late as 70. “Your monthly pension payment will be increased by 0.6 percent for every month you delay receiving it after age 65, up to a maximum of 36 percent at age 70,” the Government of Canada website says. A Conservative government announced a plan to increase the age for starting OAS to 67 from 65 beginning in 2023, but it was reversed by the Liberals when they took power.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

The non-profit debt counselling service Credit Canada has created a free online expense tracker and budget spreadsheet. Check it out if you’re having trouble controlling your spending.

What I’ve been writing about

  • It’s time to stop acting like retirement past age 65 is a failure
  • Dividend growth is the power behind the gains of these stocks over the past decade (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
  • The 2020 ETF Buyer’s Guide: Best Canadian bond funds (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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