There's more to retirement than money
Friends, family and community through every stage of retirement.
Adapting to change
As you enter retirement, get to know what’s out there for Canadian seniors. Information For Seniors Link will open in a new window or tab from the Government of Canada pulls together relevant information and resources on lifestyle, health and finances, all organized by province.
Making the retirement transition
Mixed feelings about retirement? It's normal. Retiring will affect your emotions and sense of self. Fortunately, there’s lots of information out there to help you make the transition.
If you’re searching the web, some questions to ask are:
- Are you psychologically read to retire?
- Are you emotionally prepared to handle retirement?
- What are the best tips for adjusting to retirement?
The public library can be a wonderful resource for information on transitioning into retirement. In addition to books and magazines, most libraries provide links to online resources and websites organized by topics.
When circumstances change
Life will continue to have expected and unexpected changes in retirement. Your physical and mental abilities will change as you age. Nobody wants to think about how knees and hips may deteriorate, but it happens.
Changes in health can impact your family dynamic and your finances. Consider how your active lifestyle expenses in early retirement could change into additional medical expenses if your physical and mental abilities change.
If you become disabled, you can get more information on the help that's available from:
Staying active and connected
Staying active = Staying healthy
Staying active during retirement is important for both physical and mental well-being. Just 30 minutes of physical activity can help change your mood. It can improve your endurance, flexibility and stamina. It can even change how you think about yourself.
Useful resources on staying active include:
- The Government of Canada's Seniors website pulls together information on relevant topics, including: the benefits and services available to seniors across the country, staying active and involved, and estate planning.
- How to stay busy during retirement summarizes the activities you can consider like writing, reading, exercise, joining a club and volunteering.
If you haven't done so already, now's the time to get your personal information and wishes organized. Here are some considerations.
Pull it all together
It's important to keep track of your personal and household financial documents. What if someone else had to step in and sort out your affairs; could they easily find the right information? Use Your Virtual Shoebox Guide to record all your important personal and family information in one place.
Do you have an up-to-date will, living will and power of attorney?
Make sure you have a will, living will and powers of attorney drawn up, and share these documents with the appropriate people.
Here's a chart explaining the purpose of each.
What is it?
Sets out your wishes for what happens to your property after you die. It can also set out plans for looking after those who depend on you financially.
Why do I need it?
If you die without a will a court-appointed executor will pay off your debts and distribute your estate according to a set formula. That often results in half of your estate going to your spouse and the other half going to your children, which can create problems if your spouse was counting on the bulk of your assets to maintain his or her standard of living. Further complications can arise if your children are minors, as the court will appoint a representative to look after their interests.
What is it?
Sets out your wishes for medical care if you are no longer able to communicate them. Sometimes called an Advance Directive.
For example, people often wish to state whether or not they wish to remain on artificial life supports if there is no hope of recovery.
Why do I need it?
Without a living will to express your wishes, family members and doctors are left to guess what you'd prefer in terms of treatment. Medical professionals may be duty bound to use everything within the powers of modern medicine to keep you alive. Sometimes, this results in painful disputes among family members and medical professionals, which occasionally go to court.
Power of attorney (financial)
What is it?
Names a person or entity to act on your behalf in making financial decisions if you're no longer able to.
Why do I need it?
Without a power of attorney, your spouse wouldn't even be able to access your financial accounts (unless these were held jointly). Instead, your family would have to apply to the provincial government or courts to have someone appointed to manage your affairs.
Power of attorney (personal care)
What is it?
Names a person or entity to act on your behalf in making health and personal care decisions for you if you're no longer able to.
For example, if you had a stroke or Alzheimer's disease and needed long term care, this person would make decision about your housing and day-to-day care.
Need more information?
Estate law varies across Canada, make sure the information you get applies to your province or territory.
For background information on wills, living wills and powers of attorney, go to What every older Canadian should know about: Powers of attorney (for financial matters and property) and joint bank accounts and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
For information specific to your region, check out:
- The Government of British Columbia
- Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
- Public Legal Association of Saskatchewan
- Manitoba's Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat
- Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
- Justice Quebec
- Financial and Consumer Services Commission of New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia Justice information on personal directives
- Seniors and the Law In Newfoundland and Labrador
- Community Legal Information Association of Prince Edward Island's publications on wills and care directives
- Northwest Territories information on wills
- Yukon Public Legal Education Association
- Information on Nunavut from Make a Will Canada
- GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca also has some great information on estate planning, arranged by province
Consider your family dynamics
Every family is different
It's hard these days to even define what a 'traditional' family is. For some, it's a multi-generational household; for others, it's actually friends who are family. No matter what your family looks like, you'll want to include them in conversations about your retirement.
Have you talked to them?
Studies have shown conversations about retirement that come too late can create stress in families and sometimes cause rifts that take time to repair. A clear majority of parents and their adult children (roughly nine in 10) agree having frank retirement and financial conversations are important, but only one-third are in agreement about what the right time is to have them. You know your family dynamics better than anyone – choose the time that is right for you. But make sure you choose.
Including your family in your decision to retire and your plans for after you retire, can make a big difference in how happy you are and how successful your retirement will be.
Pull it all together.
What if someone else had to step in and sort out your affairs; could they easily find the right information?Link will open in a new window or tab
Know what to look for.
Fraud is becoming harder to recognize. No matter who you are, or how careful you are, it can happen to anyone.Link will open in the same window