By Billy and Akasha Kaderli,
Special to the Financial Independence Hub
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” — Helen Keller
Recently I have been reading a book called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. You may have heard of it. The theme of the book is about being vulnerable, taking risks and being willing to expose ourselves to possible failure. It’s an enlightening read.
I bring this up because what I want to share with our readers is that security has a price. Everyone speaks about how risk is dangerous and sometimes unthinkable. It seems that everyone wants unmitigated surety – the 100% guarantee.
But security never makes one courageous nor does it make a person’s heart sing.
We all want our bases covered, and none want to be starving or out in the land of the lost. But there is an energy about taking a risk with the possibility of failure that adds dimension to our lives and creates memories that we share with our children and grandchildren and we can ruminate over when we become old. Having everything laid out, fully unchallenged with no adversary to overcome makes for a dull story.
To make my point, I want to share with you a couple of big risks I took with my life direction over the years.
In 1971 was 19 years old and my then 20-year-old boyfriend wanted to make an extensive summer motorcycle trip across the country from the Midwest through a semi-southern route, up the coast of California to Alaska and back again via northern roads. This sounded like the most exciting thing I could imagine in my life at that time.
The Financial Post has just published my review of a new book by Vancouver-based financial advisor Clay Gillespie: Create the Retirement You Really Want: And Retire Smarter, Richer and Happier.
You can find the online review by clicking on this highlighted headline: From Dreams to Legacy: New Book Details the 5 Stages of Retirement.
And below is an excerpt from the chapter highlighted in the review. We may also run at least one other excerpt in the coming weeks. Over to you, Clay!
By Clay Gillespie
Special the Financial Independence Hub
Retirement isn’t an event; it’s a process, and it begins years before you actually retire. Working with hundreds of clients over many decades, I’ve come to realize that retirement success is best achieved in five distinct stages. Each stage reflects a different aspect of who you are and where you want to be in retirement, and it all begins with a dream.
1.) Dreams stage
The Dreams stage of retirement typically begins about five or six years prior to actual retirement. This is the time when people have decided to retire but aren’t yet sure of the date. It’s the time where retirement goals and hopes for the future become defined and a preliminary retirement plan is developed. For couples, especially, retiring now becomes an ongoing topic of discussion, not just something brought up in passing.
2.) Reality stage
The Reality stage usually occurs between 6 and 24 months before retirement and its temporal proximity really starts to hit home. Lifestyle issues come into greater focus, along with fears that one’s retirement nest egg may be inadequate. This is a crucial time from a planning perspective. Old Age Security (OAS) and Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP) applications need to be made, income streams need to be consolidated, taxes need to be minimized and portfolios need to be optimized for income and growth.
3. Transition stage Continue Reading…
Procrastinators: There is just a week to go until the March 1st deadline for making contributions to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). My column in the Financial Post in today’s paper (page FP10) can also be found online by clicking on the following highlighted text of the headline, As the RRSP deadline looms, here’s what all the procrastinators need to know.
One of the sources cited is CPA David Trahair, author of the book illustrated to the left: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Retirement. Here’s a link to the Hub’s review of that book.
The FP piece notes that while making an RRSP contribution before the deadline is not technically a “use it or lose it” proposition, procrastination nevertheless provides opportunity losses: you end up paying more income tax than necessary for the 2016 tax year (reminder, THAT deadline is also looming: see Jamie Golombek’s reminder in his FP column: Tax season is upon us.) Procrastination also creates the opportunity loss of considerable tax-compounded investment growth.
While you can arrange an RRSP top-up loan or — for multiple years of under contributions — an RRSP “catch-up” loan, my conclusion is that the optimum course of action is to automate RRSP savings through a pre-authorized checking (PAC) arrangement with a financial institution. This approach also allows you to “dollar cost average” your way into financial markets: that way, you reduce the stress of coming up with a large lump sum to contribute, as well as the stress of fretting about the best time to invest.
Of course, as Trahair notes at the end of the article, and as Borrowell’s Eva Wong reminded us in her Hub blog on Monday, if you’re heavily in debt you may be better off eliminating that debt before getting too serious about RRSP contributions: See When you should NOT invest in an RRSP.
There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests postponing retirement – even by just one year – can lead to a longer, healthier life. The reality is that we’re living longer and saving less. Something has to give. But another year or two spent pushing paper in a cubicle is probably not the holy retirement grail we’ve been searching for.
Related: Growing older in America – The Health and Retirement Study
Indeed, if you’re healthy and can afford to stop working, the idea is to find something else you’re passionate about and do that instead – whether it’s switching to a new career in an unrelated field, writing a book, starting a blog, or simply volunteering at your favourite charity. Call it your work-optional years.
Victory Lap Retirement
Authors Mike Drak and Jonathan Chevreau call it your Victory Lap Retirement. The authors argue that the idea of retirement has to change in the sense that going from 100 percent work mode to 100 percent leisure mode is boring and fraught with risk.
The fact is we might be retired, in the traditional sense, for thirty or forty years – as long, or maybe longer, than we spent during our working lives. That’s too long to spend in an armchair watching Seinfeld reruns.
How do we find purpose and meaning in this third stage of life? More importantly, for some, how do we finance it?