Living in Style



Dear Dharma,

Retirement! I am at that magic number to retire.

I love my life when there’s a pay cheque every two weeks, but once I’m retired, no more pay cheques.

Oh sure, I’ll have the BIG government cheques; old age, CPP and a work pension. With this, I have bills that need to get paid – ie: phone, condo fees, cable, car insurance, etc, etc. Not to mention a large loan. Plus eat and enjoy some wine…

Work isn’t great and at this magic age of the 65, things don’t come easy. My job involves physical work and getting harder every day. There isn’t a desk job that I can go to.

I enjoy many things and love nice things. My activities can be costly like golf, which is my only summer enjoyment. I need my place painted, want new furniture.

Don’t know if retirement is in the near future? Oh sure, I have an RRSP, but feel it’s not enough. I need/want more.


Dear Afraid,

Your letter is like the perfect poster board for “Have your cake and eat it too!”

And as with many of us, there’s a whiff of a beer budget accompanied by champagne taste buds showing through your words.

So here’s the thing… You love nice things, you want to drink your wine and go golfing – great!  It just sounds like you’re going to have to continue working in order to achieve that.  You’ve got X amount of money coming in, and Y going out to cover the bills.  If you don’t have enough to pay for the niceties, then… I don’t know what other options you have if you’re looking to maintain a certain lifestyle.  

If you can’t afford to retire right now, then don’t.  That’s just the basic math coming together.  I mean, Dharma’s good, but she’s not a unicorn, right? You’ve got to work with what you’ve got.

That doesn’t mean you need to stay at a job that is difficult for you to perform.  You’ve got options, you just need to find them.

You say there isn’t a desk job for you to go to… do you mean in the whole wide world, or just at the company you are currently with? Now is not the time to be a defeatist, so start looking for other opportunities that are better suited to you.  They say the best time to find a job is when you have one, and you do, so use that to your advantage.

Also, you seem to be blurring your needs and wants.  Know the difference – you need to have a roof over your head and food to eat.  You want that roof to be painted and nice glass of wine to go with dinner.

And if I may, can I suggest that you go a bit big picture now, since it sounds like you may have avoided doing so in the past.  If you’re afraid at 65 while you physically can still work, what do things look like for you at 80?

Perhaps the help of a financial advisor is something to look into?  You know the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Do you want that to be your poster board?  Find someone who will be able to help you come up with a plan to turn this around while you still can…

Not retiring at 65 is not a bad thing, it doesn’t have to be that “magical” number, like “Oh, I’m 65 – BAM retired!”  In fact, there are lots and LOTS of reasons for people to continue working well past that age, money just being one of them…



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