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.

A Canadian Perspective on Health Care Overseas: Q&A with RetireEarlyLifestyle.com

Jim and Kathy McLeod in Mexico/RetireEarlyLifestyle.com

By Akaisha Kaderli, RetireEarlyLifestyle.com

Special to Financial Independence Hub

Billy and I are Americans. For most of our adult lives we have been self-employed, paying for our own health insurance out-of-pocket.

We retired at age 38, and while initially we paid for a US-based Health Insurance policy, we eventually “went naked” of any health insurance coverage. Wandering the globe, we took advantage of Medical Tourism in foreign countries and again, paid out-of-pocket for services.

This approach served us very well.

However, we understand that choosing the manner in which one wants to pay-for-and-receive-health-services is a personal matter.

In our experience, it seemed that Canadians generally were reticent to stay away from Canada longer than 6 months because they would lose their access to their home country’s health care system.

We did not know the full story of why many Canadians preferred not to become permanent residents of another country due to this healthcare issue. So, we asked Canadian Jim McLeod if he would answer a few questions for us to clarify! And then, to give that information to you.

Below is our interview with Jim McLeod. He and his wife are permanent residents of Mexico, and now receive all their healthcare from this country.

It is our hope with this interview, that there would be options explained to other Canadians who might not want to maintain 2 homes, be snowbirds in Mexico, or could vision living in Mexico with its better weather and pricing.

Take a look!

Jim and Kathy in Mexico

Retire Early Lifestyle: In the beginning, did you choose to do a part-time stint in Mexico before fully jumping in? You know, like to test the waters?

Jim McLeod: Yes. Because of the following stipulations for our Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) and the possibility of getting a maximum of 180 days on a Mexican Tourist Card, we decided to do the “snowbird” thing initially: 6 months in Ontario during the warmer months, and 6 months in Mexico during the colder months.

“You cannot be out of Ontario for more than 212 days (a little over 6 months) in *any* 12 month period (ex. Jan – Dec, Feb – Jan, Mar – Feb, etc.)”

During this time, we used World Nomads for trip insurance to cover us while in Mexico. For us, this wasn’t too bad. However, according to other couples we’ve spoken with, after a certain age, depending on your health, this can become quite expensive.

Retire Early Lifestyle: When you retired early and left your home country of Canada, was leaving the guaranteed health care system that your country provides a large hurdle to your plans? How did you factor that cost in?

Jim McLeod: After doing the “snowbird” thing twice, we had enough data from tracking all our spending, as per Billy and Akaisha’s The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement, that we knew we would save approximately $10,000cdn a year by moving full time to Mexico. And we knew we would lose our OHIP coverage. As such, we budget $2000cdn a year for out-of-pocket medical expenses. But we also knew that, at that time, we qualified for the Mexican Seguro Popular insurance coverage. Note: Seguro Popular has since been replaced with a new health Care system, el Instituto Nacional de Salud para el Bienestar (INSABI), which has the following requirements:

• Be a person located inside Mexico

• Not be part of the social security system (IMSS or ISSSTE)

• Present one of the following: Mexican Voter ID card, CURP or birth certificate

As an expat, in order to obtain a CURP,  you must be a Temporal or Permanente resident of Mexico.

Retire Early Lifestyle: Initially, did you go home to Canada to get certain health care items taken care of and then go back to Mexico to live?

Jim McLeod: No, we have not gone back to Ontario for any health care. Having said that, there is one medication that Kathy needs, that she is allergic to here in Mexico, so she gets a prescription filled in Ontario whenever we return and we pay for it out-of-pocket. Continue Reading…

4 Financial Scams all Senior Citizens should know about

As senior citizens get closer to retirement, scammers see them as financial prey. Learn about different financial scams so you can protect your money.

Image courtesy Logical Position/Summit Art Creations

By Dan Coconate

Special to Financial Independence Hub

Approaching retirement is an exciting time for senior citizens. You’re about to experience the golden years of your life and have worked hard to save up a nest egg to enjoy this relaxing time.

Unfortunately, many scammers know that you probably have that nest egg, and they want to drain it. Scammers are growing increasingly creative in how they target people. All senior citizens should know about the following four financial scams so they can see through this creative criminal behavior.

Loved-One Impersonation

While some technology has changed the world for the better, some has fallen into the hands of criminals. Scammers can now use various voice-changing and phone-cloning technology to impersonate the people we know and love. They often pretend to be a loved one who is in a sudden difficult situation, such as a grandchild in need of bail money or a friend stuck on an overseas trip.

Before you try to help your loved one, verify who and where they are through another communication channel. For example, contact your grandchild’s parents to check where the family is or hang up and call your friend on the number saved in your phone.

Dating-Service Swindle

The retirement years open up free time for seniors, which is a boon when you’re looking for a special someone to date. However, many scammers know that senior citizens may not be as tech-savvy when it comes to the personals. They create fake profiles on dating websites and try to foster a connection with the senior. Before the relationship can develop in-person, they mention financial trouble or ask for money.

The best way to avoid scams while looking for love is to meet prospective dates in person after getting to know them either through email or phone/video conversations. Arrange to meet in a public place that you’re familiar with. But above all, don’t share financial information or lend/give money.

Job-Interview Scam

Everyone should have a chance to love what they do. As you get ready to retire from one career, you may consider transitioning to a job you love instead of a job you need. Unfortunately, scammers can create fake job posts and even hold fake interviews so they can offer you a job. Once you accept, they request your financial information so they can supposedly start your human resources paperwork. Continue Reading…

Financial Health and Physical Wellness: Proactive Strategies for a Secure Future

By Matt Guenther

Special to Financial Independence Hub

The link between financial well-being and physical wellness is clearer than ever in the fast-paced world of today.

The purpose of this article is to present a thorough understanding of this complex relationship and emphasize the need of implementing preventative measures in order to ensure long-term security.

Recognizing the Connection

Stress related to money can harm our physical well-being and result in a variety of problems, including chronic illnesses, anxiety, and insomnia. Similarly, low physical health can financially burden finances due to higher medical costs and lower productivity at work. Acknowledging this interdependence is essential to implementing a comprehensive strategy for overall wellness.

How Financial Stress affects your Health and Vice Versa

  1. Financial Stress

Financial stress is the emotional and psychological strain arising from financial problems or uncertainties.

  • Causes: It can stem from various factors such as debt, job loss, inadequate savings, unexpected expenses, or economic instability. Individuals and families may experience financial stress when they perceive a gap between their financial resources and their lifestyle demands.
  1. Impact of Financial Stress on Health
  • Mental Health: Persistent financial stress is strongly linked to mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. The constant worry about making ends meet or dealing with debt can contribute to heightened stress levels.
  • Physical Health: Chronic stress has been associated with a range of physical health problems, including cardiovascular issues, sleep disturbances, and compromised immune function.
  1. Behavioural Responses to Financial Stress
  • Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Some individuals may adopt harmful coping mechanisms, such as excessive alcohol or substance use, overeating, or neglecting self-care, as a response to financial stress. These behaviours can further exacerbate health problems.
  • Reduced Access to Healthcare: Financial Barriers to Healthcare: Individuals facing financial stress may delay or avoid seeking medical attention due to the cost of healthcare services. This can result in undiagnosed or untreated health conditions, leading to more significant health issues over time.
  1. Job Performance and Productivity
  • Impact on Employment: Financial stress can affect job performance and may even lead to job loss in extreme cases. The loss of employment not only exacerbates financial stress but also disrupts one’s sense of security and stability, impacting mental health.
  1. Vice Versa: How Health affects Finances
  • Medical Expenses: Poor health can lead to increased medical expenses, including doctor visits, medications, and possible hospitalization. These costs can contribute to financial strain, especially if the individual does not have adequate health insurance coverage.
  1. Work Productivity and Income
  • Reduced Productivity: Health issues can result in decreased work productivity, absenteeism, or the inability to perform specific job functions. Financial stress may then be exacerbated due to lower income or job loss.
  1. Breaking the Cycle
  • Financial Literacy and Planning: Improving financial literacy and implementing effective financial planning strategies can help individuals mitigate financial stress. Understanding budgeting, savings, and investment can contribute to a sense of control and security.
  • Practices for Health and Well-Being: In a similar vein, embracing a healthy lifestyle, learning stress-reduction strategies, and promptly seeking medical attention can enhance both physical and mental health by interrupting the vicious cycle of stress and its negative effects on finances and health.

Proactive Financial Strategies 

  • Financial Planning and Budgeting for a Secure Future

The first step toward securing your financial future is to create and stick to a budget. Goal-setting, tracking expenses, and making decisions are all included in this section on the practical aspects of budgeting. A well-structured budget acts as a roadmap for obtaining financial stability.

  • Investment and Savings Tips for Long-Term Stability

Long-term financial stability depends on having a solid savings and investing plan. From determining your risk tolerance to researching various investment options, this section offers helpful advice on accumulating wealth and guaranteeing a secure financial future. Continue Reading…

 Timeless Financial Tip #10: Making Legacy Planning more Meaningful


By Steve Lowrie, CFA

Special to Financial Independence Hub

Let’s face it: When families list their favorite financial planning projects, legacy planning rarely makes the cut. It may feel as if you’re putting the emphasis exclusively on death and taxes, rather than your lifetime pursuits such as building a career, pursuing your personal interests, stewarding your kids into adulthood, and retiring in style.

Then again, I believe the term “legacy planning” is misleading to begin with. It sounds so dry and formal — as if it’s only for uber-rich, multigenerational dynasties, or the tail end of your lifespan.

No wonder most people put off planning for it.

In reality, legacy planning can be worthwhile for almost anyone. And it’s not just for later in life; key aspects of it can help you enjoy a more enriched life today. In today’s Timeless Tip, we’ll cover the possibilities.

What is Legacy Planning?

Instead of treating legacy planning as a tedious, end-of-life chore, I like to think of it as being more like a bonus round of lifestyle planning across four core quests:

  1. Family Ties: Legacy planning helps you keep more of your wealth in the family. Importantly, it lets you define who your family is, in a world where multiple marriages and blended families may more often be the norm than an exception to the rule.
  2. You or your Heirs: Legacy planning can also be defined by what it is not. If your top priority is having enough to enjoy your retirement in style, your legacy planning will differ from someone who dreams of leaving the largest possible inheritance to their heirs.
  3. Charitable Giving: Legacy planning also helps you chart out how and when you’d like to support your causes and charities of interest. Hint: You don’t have to wait until you’re gone to leave a legacy.
  4. Tax Reduction: Even if you’re fine with letting inheritance laws guide how your estate will be distributed, most of us would prefer a tax-efficient transfer. Legacy planning strategies abound here.

How do you define “Family”?

First, let’s address the piece most of us associate with legacy planning: Who gets what stuff after you’re gone? If your estate seems perfectly straightforward, you may be tempted to just let your heirs sort it out. Unfortunately, this can leave you and your loved ones uneasy — not just moving forward, but right now.

Unintended Consequences: Check your provincial inheritance laws, and you may be surprised by what will happen to your assets if you die intestate (without a will). Your preferences may differ dramatically from the government’s.

Unresolved Heirlooms: Resolving which loved ones are to receive which treasured heirlooms and other portions of your wealth, can bring you and your family more peace — today, and moving forward.

The Angst of Uncertainty: Most of us also feel better knowing we’ve done what we can to spare our heirs the pain of having to untangle an unplanned estate at the same time they are grieving a profound loss.

The logistics of estate planning need not be extensive. They can range from essential to more advanced:

Wills: A basic will might suffice if you simply want to ensure particular people directly inherit particular pieces or portions of your estate, as permitted by law — especially when your preferences differ from provincial law.

Trusts and Foundations: You may want to up the ante with targeted trusts to cover additional nuances in your life. For example, trusts can provide for underage heirs, an heir with special needs, or other complexities, such as if your family owns a business in which some, but not all family members are involved. Private foundations come into play if you are interested in increasing the scope of your multigenerational charitable giving.

Insurance: Life insurance is also an often-overlooked tool for providing gap funding to cover taxable wealth transfers, especially when family businesses are involved.

Bottom line, making plans today for your wealth transfer to happen with minimal muss, fuss, costs, and complications can free you to better enjoy your assets throughout your life.

Spending or Preserving?

As we covered in “Retiring Reliably, Leaving a Legacy or Balancing Both?, ” another key question is: Do you want to earmark excess wealth for your optimal retirement, an optimal legacy, or a balance of both? Different lifestyles call for different legacy plans.

You may not think of investment management as part of traditional legacy planning. But you’ll be better at both if you combine forces. For example, if you want to emphasize leaving a legacy, your investment portfolio’s average expected return should exceed your withdrawal rate, so inflation doesn’t eat away at the balance. This usually means keeping more of your investments working in the markets, while also arranging for a way to take out cash on a regular, tax-efficient basis. Continue Reading…

In the pursuit of financial security for all, we can’t overlook older widowed women

Image by Pexels: Andrea Piacquadio

By Christine Van Cauwenberghe

Special to Financial Independence Hub

Canada has a bold vision – to build a more accessible, inclusive and effective financial literacy ecosystem for all. The five-year plan, laid out in the National Financial Literacy Strategy 2021-2026, is an important step forward to achieving sweeping financial literacy. But one cohort is noticeably absent from this ambitious strategy – older widowed women.

During Financial Literacy Month in November, we had an opportunity to cast a light on financial education and empowerment for this often overlooked and underserved, but statistically significant, group. In 2022, there were approximately 1.5 million widowed women compared to the roughly 472,000 widowed men, reports Statista Research Department. As our nation nears “super-aged” status, where 20 per cent of our population will be 65 years or older, these numbers will continue to climb.

Longer life expectancies for women, paired with women generally marrying or partnering with older men, leaves them more likely to spend at least some of their retirement in widowhood. As such, it’s estimated that 90 per cent of women will become the sole financial decision-maker at some point in their lifetime, representing a substantial segment of Canada’s wealth management sector.

Lower financial literacy than male counterparts

However, this same group generally reports lower levels of financial literacy than their male counterparts. While many reasons account for this disparity, traditional societal norms play a significant role – older generations of women were more likely to stay home and rear children while men typically joined the workforce, granting them greater financial exposure.

Now, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to change this. Widespread financial literacy matters, but in our effort to educate the masses we can’t leave certain groups behind. By narrowing the knowledge gap, we can empower widowed women from and after the Silent Generation with a voice – we can give them a say in their own financial future.

Women will soon control half of accumulated Wealth

By 2026, women in Canada will control roughly half of all accumulated financial wealth, estimates Strategic Insights, up from one-third a decade earlier. While this is a welcomed shift, many women’s’ lack of core financial understanding and involvement is sobering. Too often, it’s men who assume a leading role in personal wealth management, specifically retirement and estate planning. This despite the fact that women, on average, survive their husbands by roughly five years. Yet, only 17 per cent of women in Canada over the age of 65 have an up-to-date will, according to a survey from LegalWills Canada. Continue Reading…