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How will you spend your retirement years?

  • 2 min read

My father sold his dairy operation when he turned 64, but actively continued to grow small grains and oilseeds with me on our farm near Yellow Grass, Sask., until he turned 80.

Decades of milking left him with a pair of bad knees that made walking painful. As a result, he had little interest in travel. He occasionally attended the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, went to farming conferences and tradeshows, and visited family and friends. His favourite recreational pastime was reading.

On the other hand, my great aunt Jenny sold her ranch in central Florida after the death of her parents. Excellent health, deep pockets and no dependents allowed her to indulge in her love of travel for more than forty years.

It’s important to know your retirement goals and how you plan to fund them.

My father and my great aunt chose to spend their retirement years in vastly different ways, requiring very different income levels.

“The first step is to brainstorm a bit with your spouse about what each of you might like to do when you retire,” says financial writer, broadcaster and author Bruce Sellery

Questions Sellery recommends asking yourself:

  • How do I want to spend my time?
  • What experiences do I want to have?
  • What kind of hobbies do I want to pursue?
  • Where do I want to live?
  • What kind of home do I want to have?
  • What kind of contribution do I want to make to my family?

Couples might have different dreams. A husband might prefer to stay close to home. His spouse, on the other hand, might want to travel and see all the sights they were too busy to see when they were fully engaged with the farm. If they have divergent goals, they’ll need to hash out a compromise.

Having these types of conversations starts to make retirement more tangible, Sellery says. They create the clarity people need to calculate the cost of their retirement.

Start by determining how much income you’ll need for day-to-day living. You can find all kinds of retirement income calculators with a Google search. After that, work out how much extra you’ll need for your special goals.

Taking action to make your retirement goals a reality is a big step for some, Sellery says. A farmer’s sense of identity is often tied to the job. So if you’re no longer a farmer, you need to redefine who you are as a person – and that takes a lot of courage.

From an AgriSuccess article by Lorne McClinton.

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