Longevity & Aging

No doubt about it: at some point we’re neither semi-retired, findependent or fully retired. We’re out there in a retirement community or retirement home, and maybe for a few years near the end of this incarnation, some time to reflect on it all in a nursing home. Our Longevity & Aging category features our own unique blog posts, as well as blog feeds from Mark Venning’s ChangeRangers.com and other experts.

How Millennials can learn from the seniors in Grace & Frankie

Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston, Jane Fonda at the Grace & Frankie Season 2 Premiere Screening in Los Angeles.

Can Millennials learn life lessons from seniors? I think so, or at least from TV depictions of them.

As an avid watcher of anything Netflix is showing, I came across Grace and Frankie when the first season came out in 2015.

I wouldn’t usually choose this show for myself, seeing as all the main characters are over 70, I figured I wasn’t exactly in the target market. This was a show geared toward people my parents’ age or more, and what could I possibly gain from watching something made for old people!?

However, it was a slow weekend, and I’d already caught up on Orange Is the New Black, so what did I have to lose? If it was good, I’d find a new show to watch, and if it was too far out of my wheelhouse, I’d email my parents and pass on the ‘new show you’d like’ info to them.

I think a lot of the time people my age tend to take for granted that most media is aimed at us, with characters from all walks of life but generally in the same age range. This has the unfortunate consequence of leading us to believe that:

a) we’re the only generation that matters and

b) we will continue to be young and adventurous and the only generation that matters.

If you haven’t yet marathon-ed Grace & Frankie, allow me to break it down for you. Grace Hanson and Frankie Bernstein’s husbands are law partners, and, as it turns out, life partners. The husbands — played by two veteran actors who are 75 or older, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston — have decided after 20 years of hiding their love that it’s time they get on with it, which leaves the wives in quite an unfortunate predicament. ‘Grace & Frankie’ revolves around these two women — played by Jane Fonda (79 years young) and Lily Tomlin (77) respectively — rebuilding their lives and learning to live their ‘new normal’.

One of the most important lessons millennials should take away from this show is that no matter how much we plan for our financial futures, nothing is set in stone. It is always important to plan for the un-plan-able. We are not invincible, and we are not immune to hardship.

A Victory Lap for both the 70-ish actors and the characters they play 

Though both the lead characters had successful careers in their pasts, what I find most inspiring about these women is that they aren’t allowing themselves to feel obsolete. They find new relationships, new hobbies, and most interestingly, a new business venture that they’re passionate about pursuing.
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Retired Money: Equities in Retirement — you may need more than you think

Contrary to what some may feel, equities in retirement is not an oxymoron. If you’re retired or almost so, you may be thinking it’s time to lighten up on your equity exposure.

The problem with rules of thumb is that some of them get quite dated and nowhere is this more relevant than in the maxim that a retiree’s fixed income exposure should equal their age. (So, the guideline goes, 60 year olds would be 40% in stocks and 90 year olds only 10% in them).

My latest MoneySense Retired Money column looks at this in some depth, via reviews of two books that tackle both the looming North American retirement crisis and this topic of how much equity retiree portfolios should hold. You can find the full article by clicking at the highlighted text: How to Boost Your Returns in Retirement.

As the piece notes, the single biggest fear retirees face is the prospect of outliving your money. Unfortunately, retiring in this second decade of the 21st century poses challenges for just about any healthy person who lacks an inflation-indexed employer-sponsored Defined Benefit (DB) pension plan. We’re living longer and interest rates are still mired near historic lows after nine long years.

The two books surveyed are Falling Short, by Charles Ellis, and Chris Cook’s Slash Your Retirement Risk. I might add that regular Hub contributor Adrian Mastracci twigged me to the Ellis book when he compared and contrasted it to my own co-authored book, Victory Lap Retirement. See Adrian’s review here: Two notable books to guide your “Retirement” journey. Continue Reading…

My RRIF playbook: what you need to know in 2017

“Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.” — George Burns (1896–1996) Comedian, actor, singer and writer

There are three retirement accounts everyone ought to understand. They are the RRSP, the TFSA and the RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund).  I submit that the early part of each year is preferred to review the RRSP and TFSA. That leaves the RRIF to be dealt with well before year-end.

Start paying special attention to planning the RRIF, even if you don’t yet need one.

Be very mindful of the RRIF. Recognise its purpose and how it complements the other two accounts. Review it periodically to ensure it stays on track.

The RRIF is firmly entrenched as a prominent retirement planning vehicle, serving as an essential foundation of retirement nest eggs. For example, starting a RRIF at 71 implies long planning, often to age 90 or more: especially if there is a younger spouse or common-law partner.

Three conversion choices for RRSPs

RRIFs typically result from the aftermath of mandatory RRSP conversions. Three conversion choices include cashing the RRSP, purchasing a variety of annuities and using the RRIF account. The RRIF is most popular because it provides considerable flexibility. Avoid cashing RRSPs.

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Women have distinct financial planning needs

Marie Philips

By Marie Philips

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

The financial assets controlled by Canadian women as well the income earned by women is projected to grow significantly over the next decade.

This increase in wealth will result from a greater overall participation in the work force, higher level professions, an increase in female entrepreneurship and being the beneficiaries of a large share of the $1 trillion wealth transfer that is underway in Canada.

By 2026, women in Canada will control close to half of all accumulated financial wealth, roughly $900 billion in financial and real estate assets. That’s a significant increase compared to a decade earlier, when the share was closer to one third.

Yet according to a recent white paper published by IPC Private Wealth in collaboration with Strategic Insight, almost two  thirds of financial advisors (85% of whom are men) do not believe a female client should be viewed in any different light than a male client.

If we look at some of the concerns women have, we can see that there are distinct financial planning needs for women compared to men. Life expectancy at birth now means mortality in 2015 is 84 (80 for men).  Women live longer and are likely to have interrupted careers as a result of family responsibilities (children and caring for elderly parents) which all lead to potential lower available savings for retirement income.

Caregiver women more likely to end up in poverty

Research shows that women caregivers are likely to spend an average of 12 years out of the workforce raising children and caring for an older relative or friend.  Continue Reading…

5 common senior financial traps and how to avoid them

Scott Terrio’s Twitter feed (@CooperTrustee) reads like a financial horror story. Terrio, an insolvency expert at Cooper & Co. in Toronto, uses the 140-character medium to share the multitude of ways seemingly well-off Canadians end up buried in debt and turning to debt consolidation, consumer proposals, and even bankruptcy.

Canada’s record household debt levels have been a cause for concern for years, but Terrio sees a new problem on the horizon. Canadian seniors are the demographic increasing debt at the fastest rate.

Take Dorothy, an 81-year-old widow who owns a home with a 1st mortgage from a secondary lender. She refinanced a couple of years ago to do house repairs ($18,000), assist her son with divorce legal fees ($37,000), and to help her grandson with tuition ($8,500).

When her partner died she was no longer able to make the mortgage payments. A friend from church referred her to a mortgage broker.

The broker suggested a reverse mortgage,  which would let her stay in her house without the monthly mortgage payment. But the money from the reverse mortgage wasn’t enough to pay out the 1st mortgage after fees and penalties. She needed a private 2nd mortgage at 12 per cent to pay the balance.

Dorothy co-signed a $26,000 car loan for her nephew and co-signed with her son for funeral expenses ($12,000) for her partner. Her son stopped paying, so Dorothy was pursued (100 per cent).

She then ran into tax trouble by not having tax on her OAS & CPP deducted for the first few years. She owes $21,000 in tax, much of it penalties and interest.

This scenario is becoming more common among seniors today.

“Many are in a unique quandary. They’re asset-rich, but cash-poor. Cash flow is tight. Pensions are fixed, and many have underestimated retirement costs,” said Terrio.

So what do they do? Many seniors cash out assets to make ends meet. Others raid their home equity and take out lines of credit. All have financial consequences.

We asked Terrio to share the top financial traps seniors fall into and how to avoid them:

1.) Tax problems

Most seniors were used to being paid by their employers in after-tax dollars. At pension time, many don’t have taxes deducted to offset their Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan income and therefore end up spending taxable pension income.

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