4 ways to stay happy and healthy in retirement

by Sylvie Tremblay

You may be surprised to learn that retirement can be hazardous to your health.  But resetting just a few habits can help you keep well.

It’s no secret that retirement changes your life.  Even if you’re shifting to a part-time career or becoming a consultant, your schedule will never be the same.  Retirement could chip away at those healthy habits you’ve works so long to develop.  Or it could give you the chance to make some new ones.

“Anything can be used as an opportunity to embrace health and wellness, and anything can be used as an excuse,” says Kathleen Trotter.  She’s a Toronto-based personal trainer and author of Finding Your Fit.  “You have the opportunity to make the next 20 to 40 years the best ones you’ve ever had.”

Retirement is a watershed moment.  Try these four tips to seize the moment and build healthy physical and financial habits:

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Self-employed? Here’s how you can retire comfortably

by Chad Fraser

It’s called the “gig” economy.”  Whether work is a series of contract jobs or you run your own business, these 5 tips can help you save for retirement.

If you’re one of the 2.8 million Canadians who Statistics Canada says are currently self-employed or run a small business, you are likely well aware that along with freedom and independence comes unpredictable cash flow.  And that unpredictability can make building a solid retirement plan for your future a bit of a challenge.

“The seasonality of my business, competition and changing consumer tastes mean there’s no guarantee of what I’ll be making in the years before I retire,” explains 44-year old Meg Wallace, owner of Meg Wallace Photography in Parry Sound, Ontario.  “I don’t have a set (retirement) date, mainly because I can’t imagine my life without photography.”

Wallace is not alone, In fact, the average retirement age for self-employed Canadians in 2017 was 68.  That’s more than four years older than the average Canadian retiree.  Have you passed up the comfort of a steady paycheque to follow your dreams?  Waterloo, Ontario-based Sun Life Financial advisor Andrew Wilkin shares his top retirement-planning tips with you.

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Should you retire early or retire late?

by Dave Dineen

There are some important issues to consider when deciding the right time to retire – and they’ll have an impact on more than your wallet.

When I was 57, I’d been retired for 3 years.  Most people I talk to assume that I’m luck, lazy, rich or ill.  (Disclosure:  I’m lucky, but not the other things.)

In my experience, early retirement is different from later retirement in lots of ways and I believe it’s revealing to sort the differences into 3 categories.

Financial differences

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RESPs – Not just for kids

WHEN MOST PEOPLE THINK OF REGISTERED EDUCATION SAVINGS PLANS (RESPS), they think of a savings vehicle to help fund a child’s future college or university education.  But savvy investors can benefit from the plan as well.  In fact, self-funded RESPs can be a great investment for adults who are planning to go back to school, and they can even be used as an income-splitting tool.

How do they work?

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Estate planning in the cyber age

WITH MORE AND MORE CANADIANS conducting their daily business online – from banking and business meetings to shopping and hailing a cab – it should be no surprise that digital assets are increasing.  According to Deloitte Canada, the average Canadian has $1,000 to $2,000 in value stored online.  Deloitte estimates that by 2020, the average Canadian will accumulate $10,000 worth of digital assets over a lifetime.

Most people are aware of the importance of creating an estate plan that includes bank and investment accounts, real estate and other property.  Digital assets are often overlooked but, as Canadians’ digital wallets grow, these considerations will grow in importance.  If left unaddressed, family members may find it difficult (or even impossible) to access your digital accounts and information, leading to possible financial costs, the loss of items with sentimental value and even identity theft.

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Ready to retire? Ask your advisor these 9 questions.

YOU’VE BEEN WORKING and saving for this moment for most of your working life – now retirement is on the horizon.  But you’re not done planning yet.  In fact, there’s never been a more important time to talk to your advisor.  Start with these nine questions:

1. CPP/QPP – now or later?  The amount you receive from the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan partly depends on when you take it.  At 60, you’ll get less than if you wait until you’re 65.  Ask which option is right for you.

2. How should I withdraw from my RRSP?  It’s time to convert your Registered Retirement Savings Plan into an income stream.  Ask when to make the jump, what assets you should hold and whether there are alternatives to a Registered Retirement Income Fund.

3. What about my pension? click here to continue reading

Money smarts


As the end of high school approaches, teens begin an exciting chapter in their lives.  They can seriously consider career choices and start researching post-secondary programs.

Taking the time to financially prepare teenagers for post-secondary education could be just as important as – perhaps even more important than – other lessons shared over the years.  If you have children heading towards college or university, starting the conversation now can help set the stage for their financial security after they finish school.

What is the price tag?

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How to save for a debt-free retirement

Want to make sure your debts are retired before you are? These tips will help you pay off your debts while you save for retirement.

Will you be able to retire without loads of debt? If you’re like 25% of the retired baby boomers in a recent survey by Sun Life Financial, you could have stopped working and still be struggling with a mortgage and unpaid credit-card debt:

  • 1 in four (25%) of retirees are living with debt.
  • 1 in five (20%) of retirees are still making mortgage payments.

According to the survey, many retirees are carrying credit-card debt from month to month. They’re making car payments, they owe money for health expenses and they’re in debt for holiday expenses or vacation property. And while retirees face lingering debt, working Canadians are compromising their retirement savings.

  • Almost one-quarter (24%) of working Canadians are dipping into their retirement savings.
  • 63% of those Canadians pulled cash out of their RRSPs because they needed the money – to cover health expenses or pay off debts, for example.

Helpful advice about debt and retirement

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Should you buy critical illness insurance for your child?

Your child’s serious illness can affect the whole family physically, emotionally & financially. Child critical illness insurance can ease the strain.

Michael Ellis says he’ll never forget the day the doctor called him to tell him his daughter, Chloe was ill. Earlier that day, Chloe had blood work done, and the results showed her blood sugar levels were sky high. He knew his daughter wasn’t well, but he had no idea of the magnitude of the problem. “When the doctor called, he said, “I’m surprised she’s still standing, go to the closest emergency room immediately.”

Ellis rushed to his local hospital, and that day his daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In the days after the incident, Ellis and his wife took time off to be at the hospital with their daughter until she was able to go home.

What is child critical illness insurance (CII)?

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