Retirement woes largely self inflicted
Sep 29, 2012 / 5:00 am
More of our readers weighed in on what they feel the future holds for their retirement years after Castanet asked you to tell us what you face as retirement nears.
Many have said the chance of maintaining their current lifestyle remains slim.
Many Baby Boomers report they are planning to work well in to their 60s and beyond, some to have enough money to live on, while others will do it for fun.
Ed & Bonnie Loeppky write:
The big mistake that most people made was thinking the government was and is going to look after you when you retire. I never relied on Government help during my working years and don't now. My wife has been retired for 6 years and I have been retired for 5 years.
The other (key) is living with in your means. Within a reasonable amount of income, it matters not, if you spend more. You will not have a good retirement. We worked hard when we were young and paid off our mortgage at the age of 35, now 69 it feels good to be able to travel as we wish and buy a new car as needed and spend time with our grand children.
Dave Holton says things will be a little tougher:
I just wanted to add my thoughts on retirement and what we have to not look forward to. I am almost 50 and after having been downsized after almost 30 years in my previous job, there's no incentive to re-train?
Change policies to reflect how much we need to live on, I mean seriously, start asking people what their minimum requirements are! I will retire on less than $1500 per month and how am I supposed to make ends meet on that?
I was planning on retiring at 60 years of age....no chance of that happening now. I sold my vehicle and rode the bus to school to pay for my education and now have a part time job that pays me far less than I used to earn.
So what can a boomer do to avoid a drastic lifestyle change in their 60s? Well, just like your Mom and Dad told you, stay out of debt.
The trouble is, Canadians are in debt like never before.
"The real big concern that I have is the number of retiring boomers that are carrying debt," says Jim Carta of Peak Investment Services. "Debt reduction is the absolute best thing to focus on."
He adds that many boomers brought the trouble on themselves and now wonder what went wrong.
"I've never seen so many people living in denial in my life. They don't want to face up to their problem."
For many Canadians, the housing boom has led directly to their current troubles. As house prices rose, many borrowed on the built up equity in their home, and now have nothing to show for it.
"They drained their houses of equity, and all of sudden houses don't go up anymore and there's no value," says Carta. "So for retiring boomer's, the number one priority is revisiting your debt and putting a debt strategy together. People need to hear the right thing to do."
But, Carta adds, it's not too late for families to make changes.
"It's a psychological, cultural thing that's evolved that has nothing to do with numbers. It's really how we make decisions that impact whether or not we're going to be debt free when we hit 65."
As well, Carta notes that Mom and Dad also practiced what they preach and today are reaping the benefits.
"Clients of mine that are in their 70s and 80s now, they're in fantastic shape. They've got no debt, they've got a half million, $300,000, in their RRSP, they've got their pensions. They are not hurting. The advanced group, ahead of the Baby Boomers is in phenomenal shape. The ones coming into retirement have got some real issues."
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