Dave's retirement journey

Don’t listen to retirement naysayers

By Dave Dineen, BrighterLife.ca

“Retirement? Bah! You can’t get there from here! Even if you could, you’d be better off somewhere else.”

Don’t listen to retirement naysayersThat seems to be the common theme of a wide assortment of financial authors, bloggers, TV personalities and writers. But I didn’t buy that core message when I retired a couple of years ago, and I don’t buy it now.

Forget about retiring, they’re telling the 4.4 million (or so) Canadians who are likely to retire in the next 10 years. It’s true, of course, that not everyone will be able to retire when and how they want. But some naysayers attack the very idea of retirement.

“Retirement’s an impractical, outdated concept … it costs too much … and you wouldn’t like it anyway.”

I’m pretty good at spotting messages delivered by people with conflicts of interest. There are lots of self-interested people talking in the retirement/working world and their interests aren’t always aligned with yours.

Not all retirement naysayers are trying to trick you. But every time I hear one of these negative messages, I silently think of my personal rebuttal:

  •  “You’ll be bored.” No, I won’t. I’m retired and I travel, I learn, I grow, I exercise, I’m healthy and I spend my time with the most wonderful woman I know.
  • “You’ll be boring.” No more so than before. (There never was much demand for my stories of the project meetings that used to fill my workdays!)
  • “You’ll be too poor to enjoy it.” Sure, I could use more money, but that’s always been true. I have a happy, fulfilling, life; how much happier and more fulfilling it would be with more money is anyone’s guess.
  • “You won’t have saved enough money.” And if a financial advisor working on my detailed, written financial plan told me that, I’d be crazy not to listen. There’s no question that it’s essential to have a sound financial plan before you retire. But no one else can accurately describe what my desired lifestyle will cost or other details specific to my own situation.
  • “You’ll lose your sense of purpose.” I suppose I might have, if my job had provided my primary sense of purpose in life, but it didn’t.
  • “You’ll get old before your time.” Unless my physical or mental health forces me to age, I believe that I can choose whether to stay young or get old. We’ve all got a lifetime supply of choices.
  • “You aren’t going to like the lifestyle.” Everyone has his or her own ideas of what an attractive retirement looks like, but don’t let naysayers define your retirement. When we bought the 1,500-square-foot bungalow we retired to, one fellow told me he didn’t think the building code permitted such puny houses. But we’ve found it’s perfectly suited to our needs.

If naysayers are giving you grief over the possibility of your retirement, I suggest that you steadfastly believe in two things: one, yourself; and two, credible financial numbers that apply to the life you have planned.


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Kate on

When people ask why I retired at 64 I told them because sickenss. Sick of working, sick of my job, sick of the politics that had become endemic in it. One day I was just fed up. One more thing dumped on me and my coworkers and I had had it. I didn’t have a financial plan set up except my pension plan. Didn’t have much money saved. The only thing I did was rewrite my mortgage with a locked in interest rate for 10 years and open a line of credit. I had no debts aside from a car which would be paid off in two years. When I announced I was taking all my holidays and then would not return my
manager attempted to get Human Resources to find a way to stop me from leaving until “I had finished all the work on
my desk” I was in a government job which I had been in for 40 years. The last raise I had received was 5 years earlier. No send off no party a 100.00 gift certificate goodbye. It was the best decision of my life. I am not interested in traveling I did so much in my 30s and 40s. I got two volunteer jobs within two weeks of leaving. I work out in the pool 5-7 times a week. I work with seniors Mondays and Thursdays. I volunteer with a local theatre group. I am busier and happier than I have ever been in my life. If your job is sucking the life out of you and you are on meds for depression and stress don’t wait until you have millions in the bank. Leave now it will be the best thing you can do for yourself. By the way, out of an office of 60, 10 left the same year I did(last year) and none were replaced. Their workloads were shifted onto the remaining employees.

Barry and Norma Wootton on

.My wife and I have been retired 20 years. We are both 73 and have never looked back. We travel but not as much as when we first retired. We enjoy our two young grandchildren. We are involved with our church. Meet many of our retired friends for coffee and gab fests. We have never doubted our decision to retire early. Sure we all could use extra dollars, but with careful spending and savings we do alright. My advice to those who are thinking of retiring don’t wait too long.

    davedineen on

    Barry & Norma — it sounds like the retirement you’re experiencing is perfect for you. Congratulations!

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