Category Archives: Life Style

Retirement is not Just About Money

Retirement is not Just About MoneyRetirement is not just about money, it is much more than that. Yes you need to have sufficient money to keep you living comfortably. But it is also about the type of lifestyle that you want to lead. It can take some getting used to. After all you are giving up your work contacts in many cases and losing that daily interaction you received from going into work. Many retirees are looking for the right balance to enable them to enjoy their new retirement lifestyle. They turn to other endeavors to gain what they need to fill their days, to find satisfaction out of their life and to pass the time. Here are a few examples of what retirees are considering. Usually the first 6 months is no problem. After that, boredom sets in unless you do something about it.

Retirement is not Just About Money

Social Butterflies – These folks spend a lot of time with friends in each others houses, going to social events and spending time with each other.

Community Minded – Volunteering at a local charity, helping at events and getting involved in the community provide a great deal of social interaction as well as contributing to a feeling of self-worth.

Mall Walkers – Exercise might be on their mind, but they also meet friends at the mall and combine exercise with social interaction in a pleasant environment.

Still Working – Some go back to work in different industries or even the same industry. They might need the money, but many miss the interaction with colleagues and this gives them a chance to get out each day to meet friends, colleagues and the public.

Sports – Now you have more time to follow the sports you never had time for in the past. Golf, hiking, bicycling etc

Snow Birds – Yes they go south for the winter, but what do you do when you get there. Basically the same things as mentioned above. They pursue the same activities in warmer climates.

Family – For some this is a huge issue. Babysitting the grand kids, spending time with family, supporting someone who needs a lot of help.

Happiest – The most satisfied people appear to be the ones that have social involvement with others regardless of how they obtain the interaction with others. For many it is a combination of all of the above and you will live longer by interacting with others.

The Sandwich Generation

Sandwich GenerationEver heard of the The Sandwich Generation? We will all go through it eventually unless we are extremely unlucky. This is the situation were you are raising your own family and also have elderly parents who need a great deal of help to manage their finances, their home and in some cases even their health. We are pulled in both directions and it can become quite busy and stressful, however would you want it any other way.  For example you might not have kids and miss out entirely on that side of life. Your parents could already be gone and you will miss them. Regardless of the stage that you are at, take the time to enjoy both your own family and your parents. By including them you will get to enjoy many different aspects of family life that you would otherwise miss.

There are some things that can be done to help make life easier for both parties. It is really up to you regarding how you manage your life and that of your families. Make the most of it while you can.

The Sandwich Generation – Finances

At some point you may have to be approved as a proxy for your parents so that you can pay their bills and manage their day to day expenses. You may have to see the bank were all of the accounts are held and have your parents give you the authority to do this. Many people are nervous about taking this approach since money is involved however at some point there is no choice. A living will is another good thing to consider. A living will spells out how health issues are to be dealt with and how money and bill payment is to be handled. It is all very legal and should be set up using a lawyer.

The Sandwich Generation – Health

As our health begins to fail we can do less and less physically.  Most people want to be independent, however if someone is willing to help, take advantage of the assistance so that you can focus on the things that can be looked after by yourself. if you are a child or care giver, remember that the senior person is most likely has a lot of pride and does not want to admit that they can no longer look after themselves. Be positive about things and make suggestions about what you can do to help, let the person consider it and pitch in whenever you can.

The Sandwich Generation – List of Helpful Activities

  • Day to day managing finances
  • Daily chores
  • Home maintenance
  • Outdoor lawn care and maintenance
  • Paying bills
  • Buying groceries
  • Cooking meals
  • Daily hygiene



Retirees Staying in Their Homes

Retirees Staying in Their HomesIn a survey of 4,000 Baby Boomer households conducted by the non-profit Demand Institute, 63% of Boomers plan to stay in their current home once they retire. This is a huge number and is driven by a number of financial and emotional issues that we will all face one day.With more retirees staying in their homes, what does this mean for families?

The real question is when is the right time to stay and the right time to find something smaller, perhaps less expensive and easier to maintain? This is a tough question for many people since there is often a lot of emotional attachment to the home. After all it may be the home where you raised your kids, you have lived in it all your life or you may just like the neighborhood and the people who are your close neighbors. it could also just be sentimental reasons that keeps 63% of people who are retiring to stay in their homes.

Retirees Staying in Their Homes – Considerations

The most obvious question is whether you can afford to stay where you are. There is general day to expenses for utilities and care of the lawns etc. Then there are repairs that are needed from time to time and as we get older, we can usually do less and less which means that either it costs more to hire help or the house gets that run down look and the value of the home declines.

Health is another issue which affects your ability to continue with maintenance. Health costs may also dictate that the house needs to be sold to cover the cost of health treatment, unless you have lots of savings to live on.

Moving is not inexpensive. There is the cost of legal and real estate fees. The actual cost of moving and doing upgrades the costs can add up very quickly. In some markets, that condo you are looking at just might be more expensive than the house you are selling.

For many seniors it is just simpler to stay in place. Spend the money that would have gone to cover moving costs on maintaining your home. It becomes a very personal decision based on the situation, finances, emotional ties and many other personal issues. Try to work through them one by one. Remember that no decision or delaying a decision is actually a decision to maintain the status quot!

Boomers Staying Home

baby boomers staying homeIn a recent survey of 4,000 Baby Boomer households conducted by the non-profit Demand Institute, 63% of Boomers plan to stay in their current home once they retire. They do not plan to downsize to a smaller home. They do not plan to move to a condo and they do not plan to move in with one of their children. This is a surprising statistic given the expressed interest by many people that they want to sell their homes. They want to find something they can move into which gives them less work. They are looking for freedom to travel both financially and from work to maintain their homes.

Having gone through this same analysis personally we have reach the same conclusion about staying in our home. We initially thought we would sell our family home. We would find an inexpensive condo, lock the door and travel. No need to worry about upkeep and routine maintenance activities. Turns out that this dream was not practical from a financial perspective unless we were willing to lose a lot of money. Here is some more detail as to why many boomers are finding this to be the case.

Boomers Staying Home – Expensive to move

We found it to be very expensive to move as we are sure that many others have. Let’s assume that your home is worth $300,000, a nice round number. Real estate fees will cost $15,000 @5%, legal fees will cost at least another $2000. Various city taxes and fees can vary a great deal from nothing to $10, or $20,000! Then there is the physical cost of moving, even with friends helping is going to cost $500 to $1000. Of course not all of your furniture will fit in the new home. There are window treatments along with various adjustments and upgrades needed in the new home. The sky is the limit. Add your own number, but we will choose $10,000 to be on the safe side. It will probably be much more than this.

When you add all of this up the cost to move could end up between $30,000 and $50,000 depending on your assumptions. For our money we would rather put that $30,000 into our own house. We enjoy and stay in the same neighborhood that we have been in for over 25 years. We can also use some of that money to pay someone to look after the house while we are away as well. Note , if you travel, your home insurance will require that you have someone looking after your home while away. They should be checking on it at least once per week or more often.

When you work through the numbers it is evident that we are going to stay right were we are along with the 63% of the population.

Challenges in Retirement

Challenges in RetirementThere are lots of challenges in retirement. Many people retiring without enough money, health issues and family issues to deal with. Still many people can have a great retirement if they properly planned and saved enough money. Unfortunately many Retirees are broke due to poor savings while they were working. Sometimes there are uncontrollable events in their lives, and the need to provide support to their families.

Challenges in Retirement – Stress in Retirement

Not having enough money to live comfortably in retirement causes a great deal of stress during what should be the best years of their lives. Without sufficient funds to live on, wondering where food is going to come from or how you will pay for it and going to secondhand stores it can be very difficult for many seniors. North America is not exactly a senior friendly continent as compared to other locations such as  in Europe. We do not seem to value our seniors in the same manner that they do in Europe and as a result many are struggling with a great deal of stress in their lives.

Loneliness in Retirement

Not having sufficient money during retirement with family often many miles away it can get quite lonely in retirement. Unless they live in a neighborhood where people have lived all their lives, they have friends to socialize with many seniors find themselves unable to get out to be with friends and socialize.

Ignoring Health Issues

Lack of money also means that they tend to ignore health issues. If there is insufficient insurance to pay for health coverage many health related issues will be ignored until it becomes an emergency. Older age seniors develop life-threatening issues just because they do not have sufficient funds to pay for health costs.

Worry about Health costs

There is a constant worry about how they’re going to pay for health related costs. Even a visit to the doctor or the dentist may add additional stress and aggravate an already existing health condition. Insufficient savings, or insufficient health coverage can lead to stress related health issues. Ignoring health issues can also cause more serious issues to develop.

More Retirees are Working

As a result of all of the above, we are seeing more and more retirees going back to work. They may choose to work at part-time jobs that pay minimum-wage but at least they are getting out and making some money to put food on the table. This income along with  meager savings that they may have and in a few cases provides healthcare coverage allows them to live a better life.

Still Getting Frisky

Another interesting fact is that many seniors are still getting frisky with the opposite sex even though they may be getting up in years. Recent articles in the news has referred to seniors partying and dancing leaving to extracurricular activities. This is great news and will keep everybody healthy.

Moving in With the Kids

In some cases when ones spouse passes away, the other spouse will move in with the kids. If there is insufficient room in the home, this can lead to lots of stress for everybody. In some cases mom or dad will integrate well with your family until  health related issues crop up.

Traveling is a Dream

And for many seniors traveling is actually a dream that they dream about while they were still working but sadly are unable to fulfill that dream once they retire due to insufficient funds. They have enough to live on, in some cases comfortably but not the extra money that they need to travel and see the world the way they anticipated. This is a sad reality that sinks in a few years after they retire.

Targets for Scammers

Many seniors are also targets for scammers. It’s an unfortunate aspect of our society. With lots of sales pressure placed on seniors, they often will separate them from their money leaving them in an even worse situation than they were before. This is a terrible reality.

With all of these challenges and retirement it is still possible to enjoy retirement and make the most of your life regardless of the situation.

Greening Your Office

Greening Your OfficeEveryone is concerned about the planet getting warmer, except of course some people who are worried about losing money. But the bottom line is that if we do not do our part, our weather is going to change and not for the better. We all need to do our part in reducing green house gases. There are many green ideas for greening your office that employees may consider.

  • Go electric
  • Paper
  • Lights
  • furniture
  • Commute
  • Dress Right
  • recycle bins
  • switch off

Greening Your Office – Go electric

Technology is here for a reason — digitalize and dematerialized as much as possible. e-mails, invites, calendars and files can all be saved onto your computer rather than on paper. Back up all information on an external hard drive — as much as we love technology, computers do tend to crash and burn when loaded with too much information.


Print only if you must as most of the time you can make changes directly on the screen without printing. When you do print, choose a double-sided setting, which will print on both sides instead of just one. When restocking, use recycled paper. Encourage people to use email etc and avoid delivering paper reports.


Switch off all lights when you leave the office, especially desk lights that are smaller yet easily forgettable, but still powerful. Switch to LED (light emitting diode) bulbs which are more efficient than traditional ones and will last much longer than all other types of light bulbs.


Choose office furniture — desks, chairs, filing cabinets, made from sustainable wood, recycled metal and non-toxic waste. If you need to change furniture, donate it so that it can be reused again and again.


Public transport such as bus, subway, train, car is overcrowded and stressful. It also contributes to your carbon footprint and to the toxic fumes emitted as complete your journey. If the work is not long-distance and weather supports, either cycle or walk to work. It’s healthier and a cheaper option with minimal impact on the environment.

Dress Right

Summers are warm and winter’s cold –. Dressed appropriately in order to not turn the heater or air conditioning on full blast, as you step foot in the office. Bring an extra jumper or pair of tights to cozy up in the cold and if it’s too hot, buy water spray or small fan.

Recycle bins

Have one main recycling bin where everyone can throw in paper, cardboard and plastic waste. Place it somewhere obvious with easy access. Although you may not save money at least you will be helping to protect the environment.

Switch off

Leaving your computer on overnight will eventually burn out its battery,  and it is simply not necessary. Set up your system so that hard drives switch off after so many minutes and your screen protector activates and shuts down the screen as well when not in use. This will extend the life of your computer significantly.

For more life style ideas, click here.


Starting a New Business

Starting a New BusinessMany consumers across North America are thinking about starting a new business. These consumers may have either been laid off prematurely. Or they retired prematurely or have retired but need something to do in their daily lives. As a result starting a new business is one solution to meet this need to be busy and involved in their lives.

Many consumers find themselves in a position where they are able to start a new business. Technology is providing many new solutions and opportunities for business people. Whether it is a technology solution that is being offered. Or technology that is being used to enable a small business, many consumers are taking advantage of this huge opportunity. Therefore they are creating their own small businesses. Millions of Canadians and Americans this year will develop and start their own small business.

Starting a New Business – Seniors

Seniors and people over 50 are part of the fastest growing group of people who are starting new businesses. The majority prefer to be self-employed and prefer to be their own bosses. Even though they may have left an employee position, they have much more freedom and opportunity when they run their own business. The self-employed are more likely to be educated with over a third of new business owners having a university degree. Women tend to be more successful than men at starting and maintaining a new business.

Educational services and healthcare services are the fastest-growing new business opportunities.

As a result, the following segments appear to be some of the major areas the people are starting new businesses in and provide many opportunities.

Starting a New Business is a Challenge

Starting a small business is not for the faint of heart. Government regulations, incorporation, banking and technology services need to be resolved. They are needed to operate the business. For example a strategic plan and a business plan are required. Along with a product development, service development and marketing plans. They are all required to develop a long-term successful business opportunity. A lot of hard work and long hours is often needed to get the business started. Subsequently you must keep it profitable in the short-term.

Increased connectivity – Technology is increasingly leading to a higher level of cooperation between small business, self-employed and larger firms. As a result larger firms are calling upon the specific expertise of smaller enterprises to complete projects. This kind of cluster of competencies and strategic alliances will be temporary. As a result at the end of a particular project they will dissolve. They will reform into other groups that are focusing on a particular solution, project or customer.


Growth in outsourcing – Canadian small businesses are in a co-evolutionary relationship with corporate business in the economic landscape. Small businesses are needed by large corporations to create the necessary reach and depth into local markets as distributors and agents for products and services. Small-business owners also provide temporary manpower in terms of contract services to larger business and government.

Increased demand for personalized products – An aging population means growing sophistication and a rapid change in consumer tastes. This is positive for self-employment as small scale operations are flexible and can support increased demand for personalized services given their ability to focus on niche markets. Small-business owners can focus on providing services to a growing senior population. They are unable or unwilling to do much of their own work around their homes and yards.

For more thoughts about changing lifestyles, click here.


Time management for a satisfied retirement

satisfied retirementMany people approach retirement in a variety of ways. For example some people will not schedule anything at all during the retirement spare time. The other extreme of course is the type A personality who has to have every 15 minute interval scheduled. These are for to do list items, things to do around the house and even naps in the afternoon. In addition they include meetings with colleagues and friends. This person may as well be still at work since they really are not enjoying their retirement.

Time management for a satisfied retirement – Strike a Balance

Studies have shown that the best way is to strike a mid range of planning for your retirement. The most satisfied people during their retirement appear to be those people who have lots to do. Activities are scheduled for them. But they are not unsatisfied or upset when something has to be moved from one day to the next. There is no rigid schedule in their plan for the day.

When people are first retired, there is a tendency to schedule their days in the same manner that they would if they were at work. This leads to frustration and rigidity in their schedule. Some are generally being unsatisfied when they can’t complete all of things that they have scheduled for themselves to do during the day. If they cannot fill their day they are frustrated and bored. It takes a few months to make an adjustment to being retired.

Those people who have a list of things and are prepared to work on their items as time permits. They also frequently insert new spontaneous things into their schedule and appear to be the most satisfied in their retirement.

Adjusting to Retirement

It will take many consumers several months or perhaps even a year or two before people are satisfied with retirement. They have figured out what is best for them. They develop new hobbies, go to various locations to volunteer, or take on projects that they have put off all of their lives. There’s always something for retired persons to do.

It is important to figure this out and then proceed in a manner which provides the most satisfying results for you. You may in fact want to try various approaches and then shift as you get results and decide that you like what you’re doing or are unsatisfied with what you’re currently doing. Trial and experiment will lead to a satisfied retirement.

The biggest challenge in retirement for many is figuring out what to do with all of the additional free time that they now have since they are not commuting and going to work every day. That can be as much as 50 hours a week to fill in with new things and challenges.

When deciding on a great place to live, what is most important to you?

great place to liveWe were wondering what are the most important factors that determine where a person lives? How do you choose a great place to live? Do they focus  on jobs that are available? Do they focus on good schools for their kids? Are  they focused on interesting things to do?  What about the cost of living and housing? Does it depend on the stage of life that they are in? Maybe being close to family, getting away from the cold and the snow and other areas that are important to people in their lives all comes into focus when they are considering where they will live. It really boils down to what is important to them and how they want to live their lives.

Young Adults

It appears that most young adults are focused on where they can get a job once they graduate from school. The over riding factor is to find a job and if that means they need to move, then that is what they will do. They are relatively mobile with few ties and encumbrances like homes and furniture to be concerned about. Given a choice they will prefer a location that maximizes their social life, whether that is skiing or wave boarding or even both in some locations

Adults with Families

Life suddenly got a lot more complicated. While they will move to take a job, these moves are not taken lightly. Spouses may have jobs to think about and there are often children’s schools to think about. If the kids are older, there may be some resistance to moving as well due to leaving friends etc.

This is all a balance in life style, however the most important thing for most people is to find a decent job that they can obtain to pay for a home and food etc. if there are no jobs, then the family may have to move regardless of the other priorities in life.

Retirement great place to live

This is often very difficult for many people as well. Do they stay in their current home? Are there sufficient support services available to help them when they need help. Are they healthy enough to look after the home and travel or do the things that they like to do while retired? Where is the family? Should they move closer to the family or should they move to a location that has always been their dream.

One of the issues that people who are retired have is that they have just too many opportunities and too many choices. Sometimes they cannot make up their minds what they want to do and end up just staying where they are.

Your comments and plans about the life stages and where you want to live would be appreciated. What drives you to stay or move? For more posts about life style issues, click here.

Balanced Life Style

Balanced Life StyleEveryone should think about maintaining a balanced life style. What does this really mean and why is it so important? It all comes down to maintaining your health over the long-term. This was explained to me by a senior manager who was providing some mentoring to me one day. I think that he thought that I was working too hard. He wanted to make sure that I maintained a balanced life style for myself and my family.

His guidance to me was based on the following. If you assume a basic work day is eight hours and you have 8 hours for sleep, then that leaves 8 hours for family and social activities. This is a pretty good balance if you can maintain this, since we all need on average at least 8 hours of sleep every day.

Balanced Life Style – Work vs. Personal Life

Now if work gets busy, maybe you are trying to get promoted and want to put in more effort. Chances are you are going to be at the office for more than 8 hours. Let’s assume 10 hours for the sake of illustration. We still want to maintain our time with the family and with our social activities. After all this is part of the reward and is fun as well for most people. If we work 10 hours and play 10 hours, then that only leaves 6 hours for sleeping!

Now once and awhile is really not a problem for most people. You are tired the next day due to lack of sleep. But then you work a regular day and get a good nights sleep that next night. The problem creeps in when working 10 hours at the office becomes a habit, a regular occurrence. The amount of sleep you get on average gets a lot closer to 6 hours instead of eight.

Balanced Life Style – Considerations

Now with lack of sleep creeping in, people are making more mistakes. They do not operate machinery or cars nearly as well. They have accidents! In addition their bodies do not have as much time to recuperate. There is a greater chance of becoming sick which means time off the job.

This is some of the best advice that I ever received. Hopefully other people will read this material and they will change their life for the better. Stay healthy, spend time with your family and work smart at work to succeed in life. The company will not remember you. They will not care about you if you get sick and have to retire early or quit work altogether.