Did you know that according to Stats Canada there are approximately 7.3 million women between the ages of 51 to 62 in Canada?  That’s a lot of ladies.  I love to be in the company of so many Canadian women. 

Women born in the late 50’s or 60’s were told they should grow up to be secretaries, grocery cashiers or better yet just be a good mother.  Now I am not saying this is bad, if you did this and have been happy – that is fabulous.  But, most woman my age were “pushers.”  They wanted to break down barriers, accomplish more and many wanted to earn more than their husbands.  Pushing through societal norms became second nature as we constantly wanted to prove to ourselves that “we had what it took” to be successful.  We wanted to make it in male dominated careers, crashing though barriers that our mothers never dreamed of, let alone ever understood.   

We did accomplish more than our mothers.  We spoiled our children and became “helicopter parents.”  We fought our children’s battles and protected them from all the things we endured as kids, but most of all we taught them to want more.  We succeeded.  Our children, the millennials of today, are now the smartest, most educated, and most prepared demographic than any other in Canadian history.  Bravo ladies! 

 Now that you have accomplished so much, spent so much, have your toys and trophies, can you afford to retire? 

Many women were not willing to sacrifice and penny-pinch like their parents.  The cars, the house, the cottage, all your stuff – you wanted it all to prove that you made it in a man’s world, but now you need to stop pushing.  I know it will be difficult, but you must.  It is critical that you mitigate your finances and set yourself up properly for the next phase of your life.   

Here are three simple steps to get you started.  First, determine what you want and need your retirement money for.  It is important to be very specific and finite with your numbers, make a timeline and determine the purpose for these funds.  Equally important is for you to write down your plan, have a year-by-year projection and work toward these goals to attain them.  Second, think about your life in retirement, anticipate living to 95, and determine how much money you need to have saved before you retire.  Do not retire until you have it.  Try to develop income streams from multiple sources to fund your retirement, aim for a minimum of three (pension, investments, rentals, part-time jobs, annuity, dividends, live-in boarder, etc.).  Third, pay off all your debts, mortgages, and consumer credit.  Right-size your life, purge, sell and set yourself free from your incumbrances.   For longevity, remember that investments should always be in appreciating and income producing products (properties, equities and securities, dividend producing products, rentals, etc).  Max-up your TFSA and invest it in equities now while the market is on the rise.  Make sure your RRSP accounts are not too large.  RRSPs have their place, but be mindful that all funds must be used during your retirement lifetime to avoid heavy taxation when you die. 

Minimalism is the key to finding comfort in retirement and you need to shift your focus to find your “zen” with that tiger-like prowess that you have always had.  Simplifying, downsizing, eradicating your debt is the only way you will retire well.  Now is the time to do this.  Interest rates are on the rise and taxation increases will be soon to follow. 

You’ve got this ladies!   


Good Luck & Best Wishes, 

ATML - Christine Ibbotson