Sheryl Smolkin's Posts

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... »

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. ... »

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,... »

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 freel... »

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 ... »

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 t... »

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... »

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... »

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 b... »

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 indi... »

Will Public Plans Pay for the Drugs You Need?

Will Public Plans Pay for the Drugs You Need?

My husband just turned 65, so when he went to the drug store to renew a prescription this week he fully expected that the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan (ODB) would be first in line to cover the cost of his medications. Then 80% of the balance would be covered by my former employer’s retiree health care plan. In fact, what the pharmacist told him is that Uloric, a drug that reduces uric acid caus... »

More random thoughts on retirement…

More random thoughts on retirement…

After an exhausting and exhilarating weekend in which my kids, my sister and my husband’s sister made us a spectacular party to celebrate my 65th birthday and my husband’s retirement (both in June) and Joel’s 65th birthday this week, here are a few more random thoughts on retirement…. Timing: Although 43% of retirees who responded to the 2015 RBC Retirement Myths and Realit... »

Book Review: Wealthing Like Rabbits

Book Review: Wealthing Like Rabbits

I don’t often review personal finance books because it seems to take an inordinate amount of time to wade through yet another statement of the obvious just to glean enough cogent information to give readers a taste of what the book is all about. But when I read accolades from the likes of Gail Vaz-Oxlade, Preet Bannerjee, Roma Luciw, Dan Bortolotti plus a whole bunch of my other favourite personal... »

Orthotics store, 2 TTC employees bilk Manulife out of $4M+

Orthotics store, 2 TTC employees bilk Manulife out of $4M+

I have had knee and back problems for years. If I didn’t have orthotics at $500+ a pop my shoe wardrobe would be limited to Birkenstocks. I wouldn’t be able to walk very far or exercise. So as you can imagine, I’m thrilled that retiree benefits from the company where I spent most of my career includes reimbursement every two years for 80% of the cost of one pair. But that’s also why I’m also absol... »

Why I Love Sandra Shamas

Why I Love Sandra Shamas

I recently attended a one woman show by comedian Sandra Shamas at the Young Centre as part of PANAMANIA. Her shows are autobiographical and I have seen every one since she started with My Boyfriend’s Back and There’s Gonna Be Laundry in 1989. She grew up in Sudbury.as the oldest of three children and the only girl.  Her Lebanese parents were more interested in her brothers and did not ... »

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