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Ready for retirement? How to find out before you do it

Published on: January 29th, 2020

When the time comes, will you be ready? The transition to retirement can be a real challenge for many of us. In fact, a 2019 poll by a major Canadian financial institution found that more than a quarter (27 percent) of retired Canadians regret retiring and an almost equal number (23 percent) have tried re-entering the labour market.1

More than just money

Many of the financial aspects of retirement are well known. Preparing to handle the psychological and emotional aspects of retirement is something else we need to consider.

In the end, retirement is about much more than money; it’s about making a major transition — from a life where work plays a major role to one for which you’ll need to find different sources of contentment, self-worth, and social interaction. Some of us have developed interests, hobbies or goals that will provide much of the satisfaction we now get from work. Others are just not ready yet.

One way to ensure your decisions are the right ones is to take a phased-in approach to retirement

Test drive?

A gradual approach to leaving the workplace can allow you to acclimatize to a new life and find interests and activities that will keep you occupied and satisfied.

Consider whether you can arrange with your employer to reduce working hours or to work part time. Increasingly, employers are open to this approach because it works to their benefit as well. Some have sabbatical programs or allow time off to pursue volunteer opportunities.

If that’s not feasible, consider alternatives such as a part-time consultancy or working reduced hours for another employer. If you’re self-employed, you can set your own retirement agenda.

Once you’ve made space for non-work activities, use it to explore how you might want to spend your full retirement. Perhaps volunteering can provide greater meaning while still giving you lots of social interaction. Maybe travel for a couple of months, or try living in a warmer climate to explore whether those types of retirements are right for you.

Test driving your retirement like this can involve many of the same financial issues as full retirement: evaluating potential sources of income, reviewing your investments and more. Let’s talk soon so we can test drive your finances as well to help to find the right retirement vision for you.


1The 2019 Retirement Income Poll, January 2019, Maru/Blue, MaruGroup.

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