You can work after 65, but don’t expect the same benefits

You can work after 65, but don’t expect the same benefits

One of the books I have sitting on my desk that I fully intend to read and review is Victory Lap Retirement by Micheal Drak and Jonathan Chevreau. It is based on the premise that once you have reached financial independence you have the freedom to do something different including starting a second or encore career, which may involve taking more risk. But what if you are still making a contribution in your first career and you want to work beyond age 65? Theoretically your employer can’t fire you, but the company can change the terms of your employment and do away with some or all of your employee benefits. As lawyer  Daniel Lublin noted in a 2012 Globe and Mail article: “Legislation in most provinces and territories still authorizes health insurance plans to treat individuals o... »

Why we are budgeting for retiree medical costs

Why we are budgeting for retiree medical costs

In a Globe and Mail article last year Anna Sharrat reported that according to a 2014 BMO Wealth Institute Report, without private coverage, Canadians can expect to spend an average of $5,391 a year on out-of-pocket medical costs after 65. And these numbers will rise. My husband and I have excellent retiree health benefits that were part of the retirement package from my former corporate employer. But recent visits to the optometrist and a new dentist brought home to me how many other out-of- pocket medical expenses are not paid for by our plans. I guess i had been putting off a visit to the eye doctor because I was not looking forward to the cost of new glasses. OHIP paid for the examination but retinal imaging my doctor recommends cost $45 which was not reimbursed by either our government... »

Rent vs Buy: A reality check

Rent vs Buy: A reality check

By now most of you have read or heard about the CBC article How a 30-something couple got rich and retired by not joining home ownership ‘cult’. So I figured it’s time to get my 50 cents in, albeit from the perspective of a semi-retired boomer. And unlike the many “haters” who have commented on the article, I totally admire Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung for saving $500,000, doubling their savings by investing wisely and deciding to follow their dream by ditching their jobs to go traveling. But the dream they are living is not shared by everyone. I was always a homebody who wanted to settle down and have a family. For me that  meant having a home with enough space to accommodate the needs of a growing family and not having to move every several years at the whim ... »

To blog or not to blog?

To blog or not to blog?

By Sheryl Smolkin I took early retirement from my corporate job as a pension and benefits lawyer in 2005 and developed an “encore career” as a workplace journalist. Two years ago I started this blog because there were things I wanted to write about and my client projects didn’t always give me a forum to tell these stories. However, in the fall of 2015 I got an all-consuming freelance gig, and subsequently over the next 10 months, I wrote over 80 stories for a U.S. benefits publication. Writing my own blog on top of these and other client assignments  became too much like working overtime, so I walked away from it. But what goes around, comes around and suddenly I seem to have some time on my hands again, so I’m tentatively dipping my toe back into in the blogging po... »

Getting  a refund for services not received

Getting a refund for services not received

I haven’t been posting much lately because I’ve been really busy with client projects and writing more at the end of a long day seems too much like more work. But recently  Kerry K. Taylor aka Squawkfox inspired me to contest a credit card billing where the services I paid for were not received and I got $79.03 back with very little effort on my part. So I figured the least I could do is share my good fortune and encourage readers to take action if they find themselves in similar circumstances. Here’s what happened: For several years I have used a transcription service for audio interviews that I record through my telephone. I simply upload the mp3 files to the vendor’s website via my computer, put in my credit card information and within 24 hours I get an email tel... »

Seniors’ Election Agenda

Seniors’ Election Agenda

Sign that encourages voters to vote strategically is set up on Campeau drive in Kanata . James Park / Ottawa Citizen   I’ve been off the grid for several weeks due to a vacation and a family tragedy, But even in Europe we downloaded the replica versions of the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and closely followed election polls. In fact we voted in the advance polls because walking the dogs on a lovely Thanksgiving Monday to a local community seemed like the right thing to do and made me feel I was doing something to facilitate a change in government sooner rather than later. But if you haven’t voted yet, you might been interested in the issues CARP is lobbying for on behalf of seniors and their summary of each of the major party’s position on the issue. Party pro... »

When you know medical marijuana is mainstream

When you know medical marijuana is mainstream

I’ve read lots of articles about medical marijuana lately, including the series of articles referred to below (some may require a login). But I knew for sure that medical marijuana has become mainstream when I got an email blast from CARP Promotions called “Medical cannabis – when conventional medicine isn’t enough.” The sponsor is Cannimed Ltd., a self-styled leading supplier of medical cannabis. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t smoked a joint yet, but if my severe spinal stenosis kicks up its heels again, I’d certainly be willing to sample a pot brownie or three if it helps to control the pain. But somehow, I never expected that one of the benefits of belonging to the national lobby group CARP would be a $50 credit  upon registration as a new ... »

More adventures in ODB-land

More adventures in ODB-land

  Last week I called in my regular prescriptions for the first time since I became eligible for the Ontario Drug Plan in June. I have been taking all four drugs for years and the combination of my retiree plan from Towers Watson and my husband’s plan at BlackBerry meant that before my husband retired there was never a charge to us when we cashed out at the drugstore. One of these drugs is 200 mg capsules of Celebrex which I take once a day for osteoarthritis. The ODB refused to pay for this medication unless the doctor provided a code that confirms I had stomach bleeds on other NSAID drugs like Advil or Ibuprofen, Since this was not the case, in order for my retiree medical plan to pay for the drug, the pharmacist had to verify that the ODB (the first payor) refused coverage. The pres... »

Guest Post: Redefining Retirement

Guest Post: Redefining Retirement

Susan Hodkinson, BA Crowe Soberman LLP   In generations past, retirement was a definable event in someone’s life – a milestone, fixed in time. There would be a presentation at the office, a family celebration and some joyfully-arranged tee times for the following week. “Work” was a thing of the past. While this scenario may still play out in some households, for many baby boomers approaching the traditional “retirement age” of 65, the idea of such a drastic cessation of such a major part of their lives can be disconcerting, frightening, or simply unimaginable. Fixing the age of 65 as the optimal age at which one should retire happened a few generations ago. Life expectancy, and the youthfulness with which people approach life, has changed materially... »

Carol Fishman Cohen: Author of “The 40-year Old Intern”

Carol Fishman Cohen: Author of “The 40-year Old Intern”

This week I’m doing interviews for a feature in a U.S. benefits publication called In Praise of Older Workers. I had an opportunity to talk to Carol Fishman Cohen, the CEO of iRelaunch and author of the acclaimed Harvard Business Review “40-Year-Old Intern” article series. Her company iRelaunch has evolved to become a comprehensive U.S.resource for career re-entry information and services for individuals, employers, professional associations, and universities. The iRelaunch Return to Work Conference for individuals looking to return to the workforce has been the company’s flagship event since 2008. In many cases her clients and conference attendees include women who have taken a career break to raise a family. However, Fishman Cohen says, “We also have older workers in their 50s who are on... »

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