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Joyce Effinger, 62, in Corbeil, Ont.ROBEFFINGER/Handout

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

Joyce Effinger, 62, Corbeil, Ont.

I retired in 2014 after a career working in the computer industry as a programmer, network analyst and teacher.

My husband, Rob, had health issues and, as he pointed out, I made more money messing around with the stocks we owned than I did teaching at the local business college. He had a valid point: We should enjoy our retirement here in our home on Lake Nosbonsing – where we moved almost 15 years ago – since none of us come with best-before dates.

I’m very busy in retirement doing things like volunteering for the local library, painting and reading. I recently started doing some copy editing for a local magazine. My husband and I also like to kayak, play board games and go on hikes. We also do tai chi on Wednesdays.

Retirement for us is very social. We have some wonderful neighbours and friends. What’s also great is that you’re not restricted to entertaining on weekends. If you want to organize a card game, it turns out Tuesday night is every bit as good as Saturday.

I thought I might write in retirement because I love books but it turns out I prefer to paint. I signed up for a course to paint a picture of a tree in 2016 and I haven’t stopped since. I have done more than 1,000 paintings. The garage is full of them. I give a lot of them away. I don’t sell them. It’s a hobby. It’s not for financial gain. If I sat there and wondered, ‘what is this painting worth,’ it wouldn’t be the same. If someone insists on paying, I suggest they donate money to a local charity.

I thought I would sleep in more in retirement, but I don’t. It took me about a year to get that sense of rest and relaxation but after that, there wasn’t as much of a need to sleep in. I am ready to get up by 6 a.m. or 6:30 a.m. I have plans and want to get started on the day.

I also really enjoy cooking. It’s something that you can do every day and enjoy the results. When my two sons come to visit they say, ‘why didn’t you cook like this when we were growing up?’ It’s because we never really had the time between work and their extracurricular activities like going to football practice.

Retirement means having the freedom to choose what you do. I loved my jobs, but even when you’re self-employed, which I was for many years, there’s always a deadline for somebody else. Nowadays, the deadlines are my own.

You really want to like who you are and, if you have a spouse, who they are. I’ve been married now for 41 years and my husband and I never run out of things to talk about. And we really enjoy each other’s company – unless I beat him badly at board games.

As told to Brenda Bouw

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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