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 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.

Retired Money: Pension Splitting is now ten years old

Pension Income Splitting can dramatically lower taxes for senior couples considered as a family unit

The latest instalment of my MoneySense Retired Money column is now available: click on the highlighted text to access the full version of the column: Pay Less Tax with Pension Income Splitting.

As I note, It’s hard to believe but the great boon of pension income splitting has now been available to Canadian retirees for a full decade. Coupled with the 2009 introduction of TFSAs, these two tools have certainly been a welcome addition to the arsenal of retirees and semi-retirees.

Pension splitting can generate many thousands of dollars in additional after-tax income for retired couples, particularly if – as is often the case – one of them enjoys a generous defined benefit (DB) pension and the other does not.  Pension splitting is based on the fact that Canada’s graduated income tax system imposes far higher rates of tax on big earners than on modest or non-existent earners. Pension splitting can result in a highly taxed income and a low-taxed one being merged (conceptually speaking) into what amounts to a modest mid-level amount of tax for the couple as a whole, putting thousands of extra dollars into the family’s collective pocket each year.

The tax benefits vary with the marginal tax rates of both spouses.  With pension splitting, if one spouse has no pension and the other has a $60,000 pension the couple as a whole ends up being treated exactly like a couple with two $30,000 pensions. The bonus is that both spouses can claim the $2,000 pension income s and the higher-income spouse may no longer be subject to clawbacks of Old Age Security.

Pension Splitting is a paper transfer at tax time

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Better Retirement choices: An elegantly simple solution

By Doug Dahmer

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

“Life,” philosopher Albert Camus contended, “is the sum of all your choices.”

Do you think otherwise?

Good or bad. Easy or hard. Right or wrong. Every choice you make will impact your life to some degree.

Choices with little impact are often made without much thought and the trouble is this casual approach to decision making tends to be deployed on bigger and more impactful choices.

In my profession, as a retirement income specialist, I see poorly made choices all the time. They, unfortunately, tend to be life altering, irreversible and totally avoidable. Like a doctor passing along a gloomy prognosis, I am heartbroken to see the look on peoples’ faces when I tell them how a choice they made will put them at a disadvantage for the rest of their lives.

And, as I said, many of these damaging financial choices are often avoidable.

 The Retirement Risk Zone Years (TRRZY)

The years leading up to, and the early years of retirement are packed with important choices that can create turning points in your life. We call this period of your life ‘The Retirement Risk Zone Years’ (TRRZY).

TRRZY has aptly earned this acronym because this phase of life contains the highest concentration of high-impact choices that can lead to turning events, both good and bad, in people’s lives.

It is important to recognize that the number and frequency of tough and important choices increases during this time. In addition, the implications of choosing poorly intensify as both time and flexibility have turned from friend to foe. Successfully creating your best possible retirement years is directly linked to how well you navigate the challenging choices of TRRZY.

Over this nearly two-decade period we must adapt our thinking to a new reality. Strategies that served us well during our savings years can turn on their heads and start to work to our disadvantage as our flow of funds reverses from saving to spending. Those who fail to recognize and adapt to this new thinking have a high propensity for making poor choices, many of which they will regret in future years.

Turning Points during “TRRZY”

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Helping Boomers create their own Victory Lap Retirement

Victory Lap Retirement is currently #7 on the Globe & Mail’s Canadian non-fiction bestsellers list

I’ve been working hard on my year-end review and goal setting, which I will share with you in next week’s blog. I’m excited by what we have accomplished over the past year, but recognize that there is still a lot to do in the years ahead.

My co-writer Jonathan and I are on a major mission and that mission is made up of two parts:

1.) To convince investment advisors to adopt a more holistic approach and provide quality lifestyle planning assistance to their clients.

2.) To teach young people about financial independence, or Findependence as we like to call it, so that they can get off to a good start in life.

It’s a big job, but it’s something that we just feel the need to do.  Call it our way of giving back to the community! Today, I would like to expand on the first point a little more.

Retirement planning, as it is done today, is inadequate. We are constantly being told by the financial services industry that the more money we save for retirement, the better our retirement will be. This causes a lot of stress for people and the message they are sending is simply wrong.

Financial Planning Fails without Lifestyle Planning

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Billy & Akaisha’s 3 Lessons on how they reached their Victory Lap

Almost 3 decades of retirement and we still have a great time on a boat ride across Lake Atitlan

By Billy and Akasha Kaderli,

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Retirement is a great achievement, but it’s not static. It’s not like once you arrive you can forget about it and put it on auto-pilot. It’s an interactive manner of living that continues to respond to our input, the new skills we learn and how our goals modify. Hopefully we continue to grow and change, making our retirement sustainable and sweeter to live.

Below you will find three of our most effective lessons on retirement that will enrich you and increase your enjoyment along your path in financial freedom.

Control housing costs and you can live anywhere

This is a well-kept secret of retirement. The cost of housing is one of the largest financial outlays in anyone’s household no matter what age you are, and if you modify the price you pay for your residence, you have the financial freedom to virtually afford living anywhere in the world.

In other words, if you could save tens of thousands of dollars a year on mortgage payments or rent, insurance, maintenance and repairs, how would that affect your life? What if you could live in Paris or on a Caribbean island for free? You can do that, if you house sit. Continue Reading…

Introducing the inaugural winner of the Victory Lap Retirement [VLR] Award

Author Ernie Zelinski

Picking the first winner of the VLR [Victory Lap Retirement] Award was easy for me. Some might consider me a little biased, but how could I not give the award to my friend and mentor Ernie Zelinski?

After all it was Ernie’s books How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free and The Joy of Not Working that basically salvaged my life and gave me the courage to leave a 36-year banking career that was slowly killing me.

If I had read Ernie’s book earlier, I would have probably exited my corporate job even sooner than I did.

Ernie is an interesting guy, who learned early in life that he wasn’t cut out for the corporate world.

He’s a true free spirit, always has been, always will be and I just love his personal story. At the age of 29 he bailed (some might say was fired) from his job as a professional engineer. I say bailed because subconsciously we sometimes do things that will end up giving ourselves the result that we really want, as in “I know if I do this they will probably fire me” and in Ernie’s case they actually did.

In Ernie’s own words: “I Truly believe that had I not left corporate life, I would either be dead today, or suffering from some serious stress-induced illness.” Yours truly was also on this path. Thanks for showing me the way Ernie!

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