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retirement

Alex Lloy and his wife, Rosemarie Superville.Handout

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

Alex Lloy, 70, Kincardine, Ont.

I decided to retire five years ago while on vacation with my wife in Barbados. I looked at her and said, “This is it. When we get home, I’m going to sell my business and retire.” I wanted to enjoy my life and, for me, retirement was the answer.

I had a good, long career, including 20 years in the corporate world with four different companies. My dad and I opened the first North American IKEA store in 1976 in Halifax, where I was born and raised. I moved to Ottawa and opened an IKEA store there, and then I went to Toronto to work for Tyco Electronics, followed by Apple and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. I ran home-improvement renovation companies for the last 20 years of my work life.

My wife, Rosemarie Superville, who is two years younger than me, was a freelance food stylist and recipe developer. She was on board with the idea, especially since she could work from anywhere.

Part of our retirement plan included selling our house in Toronto and designing and building a bigger home in Kincardine on Lake Huron, on land we purchased in 2005. Luckily our house has ample space, so we aren’t tripping over each other. We’ve fallen into a comfortable routine where we do our own thing in the morning – whether it’s exercise, reading, hobbies or projects – and do a lot together in the afternoons and evenings.

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My wife has a daughter from her first marriage and a granddaughter. They come up here more than we go down there because it’s nice and we have so much space. We used to go to Toronto more – it’s about a three-hour drive – but we realized we didn’t have any desire to go back to the city after a while. Every time we went, we’d say, “How quickly can we get out of here?” So, we knew that we were destined for small-town living. We’ve become country snobs!

Trying to fill the time in retirement was the biggest question: Am I going to get bored or antsy? I’m a project guy; I can create a job out of nothing. There are always things to do on the property. My wife worked for about a year and a half from home, running a cooking school. It was very successful and a good way to get to know people in the community. The COVID-19 pandemic shut it down, which was unfortunate, but she was ready to retire, too. I also manage our portfolio. It’s a fair bit of work, about an hour or two a day. I don’t have to do it. I do it because I enjoy it.

Travel is also high on our agenda. We spend about five weeks in Barbados each winter and always have a trip in the planning stages. About a decade ago, we set a goal to do 50 trips over the next 20 years. Although the pandemic forced a few changes, we are right on schedule. Our next adventure is to explore Morocco for three weeks this October.

Our life is so full and blessed; we have a hard time counting our blessings. We know that we’re responsible for our enjoyment and happiness and that if it’s not there, it’s because we’re not creating it. Overall, we are delighted with our retirement life. It is full of love, fun and adventure – exactly how we planned it.

As told to Brenda Bouw

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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