Victory Lap

Once you achieve Financial Independence, you may choose to leave salaried employment but with decades of vibrant life ahead, it’s too soon to do nothing. The new stage of life between traditional employment and Full Retirement we call Victory Lap, or Victory Lap Retirement (also the title of a new book to be published in August 2016. You can pre-order now at VictoryLapRetirement.com). You may choose to start a business, go back to school or launch an Encore Act or Legacy Career. Perhaps you become a free agent, consultant, freelance writer or to change careers and re-enter the corporate world or government.

In pursuit of Boomer happiness

Mike Drak and Heather Reisman

I was at my local Indigo bookstore the other weekend and look at who happened to stop by.

I’m really starting to believe in this karma thing as more and more chance encounters like this are happening to me since writing the book.

Through this chance meeting I had the chance to talk to Heather about Victory Lap Retirement and my concern that we had miscategorized the book by putting it into the personal finance/retirement section. Heather was kind enough to share her thoughts and now I’m convinced that our book should be in the self improvement section.

Not really a retirement book

Victory Lap Retirement is really not a book about retirement; in fact we make a strong case about the benefits of not retiring in the traditional sense. It really is a book about lifestyle design with the goal of helping people create their own low-stress healthy fulfilling lifestyle, one based on their own unique needs and wants. We know that through proper planning and intentional living, we can substantially improve the quality of our remaining years, which is not a bad way to go out when you think about it.

Stress is the main risk in our eyes and prolonged exposure to stress can really mess a person up and in some cases actually kill them. I don’t know if it’s just me but I’m seeing more evidence of this each and every day; examples seems to be everywhere. Is it just me or are you seeing it as well?

We discussed the role of stress in a recent blog post called “The Big Dip.”

Stress inversely correlated with Happiness

Continue Reading…

Pack your bags, not your stress this March Break

By Brigitte Gougeon

Special to the Financial Independence Hub 

Taking a vacation is supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy a week away from the stresses of work and daily commitments. But with two in five Canadians planning to travel during March Break, there will be many people worrying about some aspect of their trip.

A recent TD Insurance survey found that for nearly half (49%) of Canadians planning to travel, the potential of falling ill while away was one of the top three causes of stress. Other top travel stress factors were losing a wallet or travel documents (58%) and other personal items such as a camera or mobile phone (41%).

Even though Canadian travellers are worried about the prospect of needing medical care while they’re away, only four in ten (39%) report regularly buying travel insurance. Canadians who don’t regularly buy travel insurance list a variety of reasons for not doing so, including it not being top of mind, thinking they don’t need it or thinking it’s not worth the cost.

Those planning to travel over March Break should take care to make travel insurance part of their broader travel-planning checklist. The cost of not buying travel insurance can have a devastating financial impact. Covering unexpected medical costs out of your own pocket can be financially ruining as, on average, government provincial health insurance will only cover a small portion of medical expenses. And even then, that coverage is capped.

Travel insurance has to be bought BEFORE your trip

Even when taking a short trip across the border –- which many Canadians take for granted –- you never know if something unexpected will crop up, like a fall or accident that requires medical attention. To safeguard you and your family, it’s important you ensure you have the right coverage that fits your unique needs and situation. And remember, you have to get insurance before your trip starts; it won’t protect you if you get the insurance after an accident happens or your trip is cancelled.

Additional travel tips for cutting down on stressors: Continue Reading…

Review & Excerpt of Clay Gillespie’s Create the Retirement You Really Want

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…

Q&A: How Dividends can speed Financial Independence

I recently had a chance to discuss a new Canadian advisory on dividend stocks with the people responsible for that newsletter. The advisory comes from TSI Network, founded by Pat McKeough, whose investment approach I have always respected.

The advisory is TSI Dividend Advisor (shown above), and it grew out of a long respect for the power of dividends.

Pat and his investment team have always viewed dividends as a sign of investment quality. By extension, dividend stocks become the most reliable foundation of an investment portfolio built for growing wealth and financial independence.

This confidence in dividends is accompanied by a detailed examination of dividend-paying stocks to identify those with the greatest potential to sustain, and raise, their payouts.

The 8 key points they use to evaluate dividend stocks grew into their Dividend Sustainability Ratings. This proprietary ratings system became the backbone of the new TSI Dividend Advisor.  It was launched late in 2016 to impressive reviews in the media and a flood of subscriptions from Canadian investors.

Here are some of the keys to that success, from the editors’ point of view.

Jon Chevreau:  First of all, Pat, thanks for your time. What role do dividends play in a  successful portfolio? How can they lead to Findependence?

Pat McKeough

Pat McKeough: Top dividend stocks are a key part of a successful portfolio. Top dividend stocks can produce as much as a third of your total return over long periods. These payouts are drawn from earnings cash flow and paid to the shareholders of the company. Typically, these dividends are paid quarterly, although they may be paid annually or monthly as well.

At TSI Network, we think investing in dividend stocks is one of the best investment decisions you can make to achieve Findependence. Dividends serve as a way for companies to share the wealth they accumulate through successfully operating their businesses.

JC: Many stocks have dividends. What makes a top dividend stock?

Jon Chevreau

PM: Top dividend stocks provide steady dividends: a sign of investment quality. Some good companies reinvest profits instead of paying dividends. But fraudulent and failing companies hardly ever pay dividends. So if you only buy stocks that pay dividends, you’ll automatically stay out of almost all the market’s worst stocks. For a true measure of stability, focus on companies that have maintained or raised their dividends during economic and stock market downturns. These firms leave themselves enough room to handle periods of earnings volatility. By continually rewarding investors, and retaining enough cash to finance their businesses, top dividend stocks provide an attractive mix of safety, income and growth. Continue Reading…

The Big Dip in Financial Freedom

There is something very wrong with the work world today. It is far too common to find employees who are tired, over-worked, stressed out, and living in fear of an uncertain future.

As a result, people are eating too much, watching too much television, and complaining too much, often self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol or taking prescription medication to cope with their stress.

How can it be that in North America, with two of the most prosperous societies in the world, people are taking more medications for anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders than ever before?

Blame it on the big dip.

The graph above represents a typical person’s (mine) working lifecycle. I call it the “big dip” as it’s only fair to recognize Seth’s influence on the development of the concept.

You will note two axises, the vertical one representing personal freedom and the horizontal one representing time spent in years. The graph isn’t to scale but it does get the point of the story across. Be warned, it might scare you: it gave me the jitters when I first drew it so you might want to sit down for this one.

Entry point A is when you leave school and start working, maybe in a “corp.,” like I did. It’s a happy time. Life is fun and exciting and you do not have any significant worries. You are finally making some real money for the first time. One could reasonably say a person at this point is financially independent. They carry no personal debt, their parents still provide them with a roof over their head and food on the table. Life is as simple as it could be. Work-Eat-Have Fun-Repeat.

Everyone’s goal at this point is similar. Work hard, get promoted and make more money. This was the path to success as taught to them by their parents and teachers and every kid wants to look successful in the eyes of their parents, right? Continue Reading…