Tag Archives: Retirement Surprises

What can Retirees Do if a Retired Lifestyle Makes Them Unhappy

retired lifestyle makes them unhappyWhat retirees can do if a retired lifestyle makes them unhappy is a big question for many people who are about to retire. What will they do in retirement? Will they be happy, and what can retirees do if a retired lifestyle makes them unhappy? Sure, there is lots of talk about being on the golf course every day, going for coffee with the gang, and afternoons napping by the pool. Will this make them happy? Do they have enough money? What rewards do they get out of life? Do they have a purpose in life, and what can they do about it?

What can Retirees Do if a Retired Lifestyle Makes Them Unhappy

If they are unhappy, retirees can do lots. But first, they need to figure out what makes them happy. Some need

  • Regularity in going to work,
  • Need the friendships they obtain at work, and
  • For others, it is the challenge and
  • The fear of the unknown.
  • Will they make the deadline?
  • Will they deliver on time?

The adrenaline rush of success can be pretty sweet.

Many retirees keep themselves very busy. Busy hours fill their days and leave them feeling that they have accomplished something. Whether it is looking after the grandkids, pursuing hobbies, or improving their golf score, their days are full. They do not have time to wonder if they miss the challenges and successes.

If you feel you have an unhappy retirement, it is time to do something about it. Start by reflecting on what is making you unhappy. Make a list if needed. Next, determine what actions you can take that will positively change those items that make you unhappy. These might be broad brush strokes, which you will need to refine in more detail.

Next, make a plan. Decide how you will tackle the task and lay out the step-by-step approach to achieving your objectives. As with all projects, there will be obstacles and detours along the way. They add to the challenge and make it even more interesting.

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6 Retirement Surprises

6 Retirement SurprisesWe live with our parents for approximately 25% of our life. Then we are working for about 40% of our lives. The remaining time we are on this earth is spent in retirement. This is the time when our pensions and our savings are most important to ensure that we have the quality of life that we have always wanted. There are many things that can get in the way of attaining and keeping the quality of life that we want to have in our retirement. 6 Retirement Surprises are discussed in the following material.

Six Retirement Surprises

Here are 6 retirement surprises that we all need to pay attention to during retirement and also when we are planning for our retirement.

Live within your means

We have all of this extra time to spend and sometimes people plan trips etc that they have been waiting for until retirement. They may buy a new car and they may spend a lot of money upgrading their homes all of which eats into their savings and as their savings decline, there is less income from the savings to help them with daily expenses. Plan your major expenses and make sure that you are living within your means to enable the quality of life that you desire as you get older.

Budget changes

If you do not have a budget, you should. Once you have a budget, living within that budget is important as mentioned above. But sometimes there are changes to your budget that are needed to reflect additional income as well as additional expenses. We suggest updating your budget at least once per year to assess your ability to live within your means and make sure you have sufficient income to live on.

Health changes

Health issues can creep in at any time. From heart attacks to strokes, diabetes, and on and on. Most people will have some form of health insurance to cover them. However, there is the deductible and most only cover up to 80% of the health bill for hospital stays, etc. Even 20% of $200,000 is $40,000 which is a substantial amount to cover. If you or your spouse needs to go into a home to have cared for the bill for this can be high as well. Even at $3000 a month or $36,000 a year, this is a substantial amount that needs to be covered.


For the past 20 years, our governments have been able to control inflation and keep it in the manageable range of 1 to 3%. Some countries have experienced far higher levels of inflation. We can only hope that where we live will remain in the 2% range for the foreseeable future. Even 2% over 20 years adds a hefty increase to your daily bills. This is something that should also be planned for.  A 40% increase over 40 years is substantial.

Not working forever

While some of us may plan to work well into our 60’s and beyond the reality is that many of us will not be able to work due to health issues. Availability of work is another factor. We have seen some 80-year-olds still working. They are probably for the money and also for the social part of the job. However, as soon as your health goes or as soon as they downsize it is much more difficult to find a job unless it is a minimum wage job.

Volatile markets

The last 30 years have seen really volatile markets. In 2008 the market dropped by 50% and has since come back and exceeded the levels pre-2008. If you need to withdraw money from your savings plan or your retirement when the market is down. You are actually eating into more of your capital than may have been planned or budgeted. Accounting for these changes is necessary to ensure that you will have a retirement plan that lasts.

Not Saving Enough for Retirement!

Not Saving Enough for RetirementA recent poll released by one of the big Canadian banks, CIBC, indicates that a large percentage of Canadians are not financially prepared for their retirement! This may come as a surprise to many people in the US who have the impression that Canadians are conservative savers and have a sound banking system. We may have the banking system but many of us have not taken advantage of everything we should have done over the years and now face a retirement that is going to be less than what we thought or planned for.

Not Saving Enough for Retirement

Key findings of the poll by CIBC include: 44 percent of all Canadians say they are not financially prepared for their retirement. Also among Baby boomers at the leading edge of the boom (aged 55-64), 31 percent say they do not feel financially prepared for retirement. Are Americans in a similar situation? Most likely and probably worse if you listen to all of the news reports!

Having a Plan Improves Your Optimism

A lot of people have their heads in the sand because they are afraid to find out just how bad their situation is relative to retirement. They are afraid of what a plan will tell them so they simply do not want to know. The reality is actually far from the truth. Although your situation may not be great, finding out exactly where you are at financially with respect to retirement can be enlightening and helpful. At the very minimum, you will find out exactly what you need to do to get into a better place with respect to saving enough for retirement.

The same poll by CIBC found that among Canadians who say they have a long-term investment plan for retirement, 76 percent say they are financially prepared for retirement, versus just 25 percent among those who don’t have a plan. That is very significant! Having a plan lets you set goals to help you get to were you need to be financially and helps you meet those goals as well

Plan all Year Long, Not just at Tax Time

Reviewing your plan at tax time is better than not having a plan at all. However, you really should sit down with your spouse. Review your retirement plan several times a year. Update assumptions about your retirement. If there are changes update your plan with current values so that you are never surprised. Another advantage of updating your plan several times a year is that you can make decisions immediately. Increase savings for retirement during the year instead of at the end of the year when you have lots of other expenses.

Continuing to work during Retirement

This same poll by CIBC indicated that fully 69 % of Canadians who are at the age of 65 or older plan to continue working during retirement. Boomers younger than 65 appear to have accepted the reality that they will need to work past 65 to maintain the lifestyle they need for retirement. If they have not saved enough for retirement, this is really the only option they have.

If you are not yet 65 or have retired, now is the time to complete an assessment of your finances. Take steps to at least make your retirement as comfortable as possible. Here are a couple of steps to take if you feel that you are not saving enough for retirement or do not know if you have enough for retirement.

  • Meet with an Adviser
  • Build your plan or Review your Retirement Strategy
  • Contribute regularly to a retirement savings plan:
  • Manage and Track Day to Day Spending against a budget
  • Prepare for the Unexpected i.e. have an emergency fund

Not Saving Enough for Retirement: Get Active Today

The steps above are pretty basic and easy to follow with the help of an adviser.  Are you are laying in bed awake at night losing sleep? Will be ok financially in retirement. Take action now and get started. List all of your assets of every kind. List all of your anticipated income from all sources. Assemble all of your day to day budgeted expenses and finally include any special expenses you may have. This includes major repairs to the house, a new car, travel, and also health-related issues.

Once you have this information together, talk to a financial adviser. Speak to one, who is willing to help you answer the questions you have. Of course, in return, he or she is going to want you to place your investments with him. This is ok, provided you are getting the assistance you need. Any adviser who is only interested in helping you with investments is not really an adviser. Instead, they are only interested in how much money they can make and not really helping you!

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Retirement Surprises

Retirement SurprisesThe biggest issues that new retirees tend to underestimate are not the standard things that everyone thinks about, but the surprises that come along that we either did not think about or did not plan for.  They are retirement surprises. We have assembled a list of items that may be standard to some people, and surprises to others. If yours is not on the list let us know by adding a comment. We will add it to our list for our readers.

Retirement Surprises

  • Assuming that spending will drop after retirement
  • Spending actually rose for many retirees
  • More travel
  • Travel to see the grand kids
  • Gifts for the grand kids
  • Health issues
  • Higher inflation
  • Living longer than the averages
  • Not tracking your expenses and savings
  • Car expenses and repairs
  • House expenses and repairs
  • Support of family members

Retirement Surprises – Plans Go Awry

No matter how much you plan, chances are that something will intervene to get in the way of your financial plan. Remember you are planning for the future which is a combination of some known factors and many unknowns that will crop up.

A common assumption is that you will only need 70% to 80% of your income after retirement. True you need less clothing since you are not dressing for work and you do not have to buy lunches and incur travel expenses to get to work. People tend to forget that they now have all of this time on their hands and typically what happens is that they spend money! It may be on travel or hobbies, but is money they did not spend pre-retirement to the same levels.

Travel To See Family

Even traveling to see the family involves expenses that you did not perhaps have while you were working. Grandparents often purchase lots of gifts for the kids as well.

You may be traveling more often to see them and doing side trips as well. Also you may be adding baby supplies including cribs, toys etc to your own home for when the kids come to visit.


This is a difficult one to deal with. There will be spikes in the inflation rate and at other times almost zero inflation. Over the years, the average has been around 3%, which is a good number to include in your planning for retirement.  However you will need to adjust your estimates and savings level required every year to reflect the inflation levels and the overall cost increases for the things that you are interested in. For example if you like to go on cruises and they increase in cost every year by 5%, then you may want to account for this higher than average increase.

How Long Will you Live

People are living longer and longer. Start with the age that your parents lived, assuming that they lived an average life and did not die from accidents or other reasons. Add at least 10 years to your plan to adjust for the fact that we all are living longer and are healthier well into our retirement years.

Use a retirement planning tool to estimate your income, savings and expenses to assess if you will have sufficient funds available for your retirement. It is a good idea to stress test your plan by adding one or all of the following surprises:

  • Live longer
  • Higher inflation rate
  • Large Surprise expense

Hang with Like Minded Friends

This may seem silly at first, however if you follow this advice, you will spend time with people who have the same attitudes about spending money, about enjoying life and about extending their retirement years.

If you hang around with people who tend to spend a lot more than you do, next thing you know you will be spending this money as well and may find yourself short of funds in retirement years. This is a hard fact of life, but it is something to be aware of.