Skip to main content

Walter Kubanek, a retired criminal lawyer, near his home in Vancouver, on Sept. 24.Marissa Tiel/The Globe and Mail

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

Walter Kubanek, 73, Vancouver

I retired for the first time at age 58, after working for 30 years as a prosecutor for the Alberta government. I decided to return to work after a couple of years and opened my own criminal law practice before retiring again when I was 68. I wanted more time to do the things I enjoyed in my personal life, such as travelling and spending time with my family, including a growing number of grandkids.

About three years ago, my wife and I sold our home of 40 years in Red Deer, Alta., and rented a condo near Granville Island in Vancouver. We chose Vancouver to be close to two of our kids and two grandkids who live here. We also have another child and two more grandchildren in France, and we travel there for a few months a year.

It took a while for me to settle into my new retirement lifestyle. However, we’ve been able to make new friends, find new activities, and pick up old activities such as cycling, kayaking and sailing, which are much easier to do in Vancouver for more months of the year.

I also started to bake sourdough bread – long before it became popular during the pandemic lockdowns – as a way to keep busy and make new friends. It’s a wonderful activity that requires some regularity; you need to be around a few times a day to make it successful. I love to eat bread when it’s fresh and crusty, but I don’t want to eat too much of it because it’s not good for the waistline, so I bring it to people in my building. We have a drink, some bread, and good conversation; it’s a great way to get to know people better.

What I love most about retirement is that every day is a weekend. We may not be as active or eager as we were when we were younger, but we’re in good health and have a lot of freedom to do things we want. Spending more time with our kids and grandkids has also enriched our lives beyond anything I’ve known before.

A tip for others newly retired or about to retire is to realize that there may be periods when you’re at loose ends; you don’t know what the future holds. You may yearn for the past. But you’re on a different road now. Retirement is an opportunity to regenerate and take on things you never thought had value and find tremendous value in them. If you don’t retire when you can, you could miss the opportunity to discover what you truly enjoy in life. Retirement has been even better than I imagined.

– As told to Brenda Bouw

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.