Questions I asked myself when planning for retirement

Businessman Retirement Looking Up Qualification Occupation Concept

Businessman Retirement Looking Up Qualification Occupation Concept

The post Questions to ask yourself when planning for retirement by Scott Wallace on Retire Happy made me think about whether my husband and I have covered all the bases in our preparation for the next chapter of our lives.

These thoughts are particularly relevant this week because both of our 65th birthdays are imminent and Joel’s official retirement date is at the end of this week. So I thought I’d test myself by responding to Scott’s questions.

1.    Will you work in retirement?

I retired from my corporate job over 10 years ago and have developed a career as a personal finance and employment law journalist. I have several corporate clients who are easy to work for and I plan to continue writing for them as long as I can. I will review this on an annual basis and cut back when and if I decide there is a better way to spend about 15-20 hours a week.

My husband is taking from now until early October off. He is volunteering for the Pan Am Games. We also have lots of weekend travel and a trip to Portugal and Spain planned in the fall. When we get back he will likely look for contract work.

If we curb our expensive travel habit we don’t have to work but we’d like to continue travelling extensively as long as we can so a little work will go a long way.

2.    How will you go about staying healthy?

We belong to a gym around the corner from our house and we manage to work out 3x most weeks. Since we can now go in the morning instead of only in the evenings and on Sundays, it will be easier to stick to our workout schedule.

We also have a delightful 10 lb. cockapoo who has to be walked several times a day. I aim for 10,000 steps/day but don’t always make it.

Too large portions of great food at home and in restaurants are our downfall, but overall we are healthy eaters. Recently I have been eating fewer carbs and the needle on the scale is finally inching down.

3.    Where will you live?

For the foreseeable future we will stay in our home at Yonge + Finch in Toronto. It was new when we bought it 14 years ago and we recently upgraded the kitchen. My husband is handy and plans to do minor repairs and paint touch ups.

We anticipate stairs in this three-story house could become a problem in future, but that’s one of the reasons we go to the gym! We have talked about renovating a bungalow but to get what we want would likely cost more than what our current house would sell for and not be as nice. So we are in no rush to move.

We also get five weeks a year at our shared ownership property at The Landscapes on Lake of Bays in Muskoka and we visit our granddaughter and her Moms in Ottawa often.

4.    How does your family fit into your retirement plans?

Our family is very important. Aside from the fact that we love the culture, restaurants and our synagogue (Congregation Darchei Noam) the main reason we currently couldn’t consider moving too far away is the my Mom is 87 and requires continuing support.

Also, my husband has never lived anywhere else than Toronto and his sister and extended family are here. At best, we may plan to take longer vacations to warmer climates in winter weather. When possible we will take our kids and their families with us.

5.    What plans have you made for changes in your day to day lives?

I have post-retirement health, dental and travel insurance and my husband is also covered by these plans. Our financial plan is based on spending all of our money by age 90 and then selling the house.

If one of us becomes ill and we need more money for household help or long-term care we will sell the house sooner. It is difficult to plan for every possible contingency over the next 25 or more years, but I have confidence we will figure it out.

6.    How do you feel about retirement?

To be honest, I have really mixed feelings. I am never happier than when I’m sitting in front of my computer synthesizing ideas. I also love making money and not having to worry how much I spend.

On the other hand, there are so many things I’ve never had time to do like take art appreciation courses, learn another language or sample more than a very small fraction of the music and theatre Toronto has to offer. I’ve traveled to most of the provincial capitals but there is so much of the country left to see.

In order to get the most out of retirement, we have to create a flexible routine but commit to trying new things on a regular basis. One thing I definitely want to do is shift our schedule so we no longer get up at 6 AM once my husband doesn’t have to beat the traffic to Mississauga every day. And because we can do errands during the week I hope to free up some Saturdays to attend synagogue more regularly.


So are we ready for retirement? We are probably as ready as we will ever be. We have certainly put more thought into retirement planning than any of the other major life decisions we made like getting married, buying and selling houses and having children.

I guess the only way to find out is to just do it! Stay tuned for updates about how we progress on our retirement journey.





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