Downsizing Step 1: Envisioning Your Life in the Next Chapter

Updated: Jul 3

In this TRANSCRIPT of "The Women's Wealth Canada Podcast," Glory Gray defines the "Nine Types of People You'll Find in Retirement," and how you can decide which type fits your goals.


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[Intro music “Positive Determination” by Purple Planet Music]


Glory Gray: 00:16

Welcome to Women’s Wealth Canada. I’m Glory Gray.


Happy spring to you. Is it just me, or does this spring season feel particularly renewing and refreshing? I myself am a goal setter, maybe you’re someone who doesn’t usually make goals but this year is different in so many ways, isn’t it? So, maybe you’re inspired to make some changes this year.


Is this the year you’re thinking of downsizing?

There could be many reasons why you’re downsizing. Maybe you are retiring this year, or maybe you’re already retired but it’s time to do a little tweaking on the life you’ve made for yourself in retirement and moving is part of that.


Maybe you’re not retired yet but you’re in the middle of buying the home that you eventually will retire to. We see that often here on Vancouver Island, where folks who live in other places in Canada slowly transition to our island life by buying a vacation home here before they move here permanently. The point is, if one of your goals is to make room for a new life by clearing out the old and bringing in the new through downsizing, then today’s episode is for you. Today, we’re starting our new Downsizing series.


[happy background music]

Here’s what we’ll be covering in the next few episodes of Women’s Wealth Canada:

First, we’ll talk about the big picture, envisioning this life you want to create for yourself.

In a following episode, we’ll do the important prep work you need to set yourself up for success.


In the final episode in the series, we’ll get down to brass tacks, making the move and what happens next for you in this new chapter.


As we go along, I’ll be mentioning a number of resources for you. You’ll find links to the resources I mention in the show notes of our Women’s Wealth Canada website, which is WomensWealth.ca. And the resources are organized by episode number. So, when you’re looking for that, today’s episode is episode number One.


Okay, let’s say that the reason you’re thinking of downsizing is because you are getting ready to retire soon. This is the most common reason why someone will contact me for advice, it’s because they’re thinking of retiring.


The 9 Types of People You'll Meet in Retirement

I think we can all agree that retirement today in Canada is different than that of our grandparents and great-grandparents, right? We live longer, we can choose to work part time because the physical demands of work aren’t as difficult as they were 100 years ago. So, there are many reasons it’s different.


And everyone’s experience of retirement is unique. It’s one of the things that I find so enjoyable is taking all these unique journeys with my clients as we move through the years together.


But, there have been numerous studies made on the life experiences of retirees in North America, enough that we can make some generalizations, some characterizations of their experiences in retirement. There’s a financial planning practice in Illinois, Advance Capital Management, that did a good job of summarizing this and they came up with the 9 Types of People You’ll Meet in Retirement.


I’ll put a link on our website to the original article so you can read about all nine of them, but today, I want to touch on the three types I see most often. As we go through, think about which one most relates to you. Which type, or types, do you see yourself becoming in retirement?


The Workhorse

The first type is The Workhorse. This is the person who chooses to continue working beyond their retirement from their most recent career. We’re not talking about those who must work to provide basic needs, just those who choose to. Many people view retirement as their chance to start the business they always wanted to start, because now they have the security cushion of pension income, and they don’t have to support their children anymore.


A recent study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that people who retired with bridge jobs in their previous fields reported better physical and mental health than those who fully retired.


Most often in my practice, I see folks continuing their previous profession but as a consultant. For example, my client--we’ll call her Sally--Sally initially retired, but soon found she was bored out of her mind. So, she contacted her former employer and they hired her on as a self-employed contractor basically doing the job she had before but with part time hours, not as much travel and virtually from her home.


Another client--we’ll call her Michelle-- was a teacher in another province. When she retired to Vancouver Island, she started a tutoring business, helping kids with their homework. When the pandemic started, she had to start turning down business because it became much easier for her to teach her students online, so she gained more student clients than ever.


If The Workhorse type appeals to you, ask yourself if there is a way you can continue work you are good at and enjoy doing, but do it in a way that fits in with your new retirement lifestyle. Maybe you will have just one client, or one or two clients. You can start making those contacts before you retire and smoothly transition to self-employment after you retire.


One thing you will want to consider if you take the Workhorse path, is you will want to talk to your financial planner about the financial implications of working in retirement. It can impact things like when you will start taking CPP or OAS, for example.


The Globetrotter

Our next retiree type is The Globetrotter. This is your retired neighbour you only sort of know because they’re never around. You have a closer relationship with their houseplants because you spend one-on-one time watering them all the time while their owners are traipsing about the planet.


If you plan to be a Globetrotter when you retire, there’s a number of things you may want to do to plan ahead. The first is to find a way to secure your home while you’re gone. If you don’t have friends or family that can stay in your home, there are many reliable retirees who choose a lifestyle of not owning a home themselves but instead are professional house sitters. They will stay in your home while you’re gone to watch over your home and even your pets.


You should work with a house sitter who has proper liability insurance so that you aren’t at risk of a lawsuit if they have an accident in your house. You can ask friends for referrals or google house sitters near you. The most popular house and pet sitters are often booked up a year in advance.


My friend--we’ll call her Pauline-- spends a great deal of time traveling. She is a member of HomeExchange.com. This is a membership service and is a pretty neat idea. It works really well if you live in an area that people often want to travel to, like Vancouver Island. Here’s how it works: Pauline wanted to spend some time in Europe. So she found other members of HomeExchange who wanted to stay in Pauline’s home town to visit friends. They exchanged homes, Pauline got to stay in Europe, the other couple got to stay at Pauline’s home and it only cost them the membership fee and travel to get to their respective destinations. Pretty cool.


Another consideration if you want to be a Globetrotter is travel health insurance. There are lots of choices, there’s TuGo, here in British Columbia, we have BCAA. You can check them out. And remember to contact your provincial health insurance plan to find out how long you can be gone in order to still be covered when you get back home.


I offer Green Shield Insurance for supplemental health insurance for my clients and it does include a travel insurance benefit. You can check that out on my website, GloryGray.com, and click on the Health Insurance tab.


One of the expenses that can stack up pretty quickly if you are a Globe Trotter is foreign exchange transaction charges when you purchase things outside of Canada. So you may want to switch to a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign exchange fees. One of the ones I’ve heard good things about is Home Trust’s Preferred Visa Card. They’re out of Vancouver. I’ll put a link in the show notes. But do your own research and find the one that best fits you.

[whoosh sound]


The Superhero

Our next retirement type is The Superhero.

[trumpet fanfare]

Retirement is a wonderful time to give back. No one knows that better than the Superhero, who is the one to always step up when there’s a need. They’re the one on three non-profit boards or the friendly face behind the cash box at the bake sale or learning how the voting machines work during an election. Your life experience has provided you with valuable skills that the charitable sector can use. And the benefit is mutual: Studies have shown that those who donate money or volunteer feel a stronger sense of purpose and are happier and healthier because of their volunteer work.


Janet (not her real name) lives in a small town. She moved there from a city that had large music venues that showcased everything from pop to classical. There was no such venue in her new home, but that didn’t stop her. She worked first with smaller venues, then a large church and negotiated to have these performers perform in her small town to huge success. That’s just one example, and I could tell you many more superhero stories. I’m sure you know even more.

One tool of the superhero is the donor advised fund. It’s an account that you can deposit money into, receive a charitable tax receipt for that deposit, and then invest the account so the money grows. Then, you can grant money out of the account to charities you want to support. In a way, it’s an inexpensive way to create your own charitable foundation. If you have any questions about how they work, shoot me an email.


So, which retiree type is the most like you? Are you the Work Horse? The Globetrotter? The Superhero? Maybe a little of all three? Send me an email or leave a comment on my Facebook page, Glory Gray Wealth Solutions, and let me know which one is most like you and why.


What if you can’t envision what your life will be in retirement?

It’s understandable; we are so busy managing the day to day that the future is not something we can even think about. But retirement can be a great opportunity to live your life on your own terms. To do that, you need to understand what is important to you. Where do your real passions lie?


Now, there’s lots of exercises and tools you can use to get to this answer of what’s important to you, but let me give you one:


Journal it!

First, get a journal. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just grab a little notebook at the dollar store and a pen or pencil. You’re going to write in this journal for 30 days. Just 30 days. You’re not even going to have to think about what you’re going to write, I’m going to give you a link in the show notes to a website that will give you the questions to answer each day. You’re going to answer one of these questions every day. Here’s three of those thirty questions:


What do I need more of in my life?

What are 10 things I am grateful for today?

What are 5 words that describe me best and why?


After you’ve gone through 30 days of writing answers to questions like these, take a look through your notebook. My bet is you’re going to start seeing some patterns. You’re going to start seeing what is important to you. And if you spend your retirement mostly doing things that are important to you, that is a happy retirement indeed.


Get a coach

If all else fails, if you still can’t figure out what’s important to you and how you will spend your time in retirement, you can hire a life coach. Sometimes we need someone else to guide us through our own heads and hearts. There are many life coaches, you can ask around. One that I can recommend is Antonia Medeiros. I’ll leave her website in the show notes.


Now for a bit of a reality check. Even with your best intentions, You may not end up doing what you thought you were going to do in retirement anyway. So leave space in your plans for changes when you get to retirement.


"In reality, most people end up spending their time with their family and friends rather than sampling exotic beaches.
And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that."

There was a study conducted by RBC in 2019 that found that half of retirees thought they would continue working in retirement but only 11% actually did. 30% of retirees had planned on being snowbirds, but only 18% actually ended up doing it. In reality, most people end up spending their time with their family and friends rather than sampling exotic beaches.


And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that. Cut yourself some slack. Your retirement plan, just like your financial plan, should constantly change just as your life is changing. In my experience, most people will find their lives in retirement changing quite a bit every 5 years. Sometimes it’s because there’s been a change in our families, like suddenly your son has triplets and you want to move nearer to your grandchildren. But the main reason I see change every 5 years is for something entirely different that we have some control over and that is our health.


Your number one priority is your health

The unknown event that I see that affects our lives drastically most often is our own health or the health of our spouses. If you’re not healthy, you’re not going to enjoy your retirement as much. So get healthy as best you can. This is something you can work on now, before you retire. Find an activity you enjoy doing, hopefully one that has a social element to it, as social interaction is so important to good health as we age.


The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends those over age 65 take part in at least 2.5 hours of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, and add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice a week to help your posture and balance. Joining a walking or bicycling group can help achieve this. A dance class can do it. Even if you’re mobility challenged, there’s more options than ever too. Just get moving.


So, let’s review. We talked about how you might like to spend your time in retirement and how to find your passions. And we talked about leaving a bit of space in your plans for changes that might occur along the way.


Take a trial run

Now, before you pack your boxes and move out of your cubicle for good, you may want to take the time to ease into retirement. Test your ideas. Put a plan into action to see how it works.


For example, if you’re retiring but your spouse isn’t yet, try living on one salary for six months and see how you do. Start volunteering some of your time at a charity you know you want to support.


John was a Doctor who had brought on young, capable doctors to take over his practice, but he had a hard time letting go of the idea of just being “John” and not “Dr. Smith.” So he started reducing his schedule by one day of the week every six months. So, after a year and a half, he was down to two days a week working. That gave him time to start easing into his new life, which to him meant doing a lot more volunteer work, some of which he did abroad so he could combine it with travel. So, he allowed himself some time to get used to the idea. Think of ways you can help yourself get used to the idea.


[Outro music “Positive Determination” by Purple Planet Music]


So, that’s it for the first step in our Downsizing Series. Next time, we’ll get into more strategies to prepare yourself for success as you get closer to retirement.


For more tips, go to our website, WomensWealth.ca, that’s WomensWealth.ca. If you have a question you’d like answered in a future episode, or you’d like to get a hold of me, Glory to schedule a free financial consultation, send us an email at hello@womenswealth.ca .


Announcer: 04:53

This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice. It is not an offer to sell or buy or an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any entity or security cited. Mutual funds offered through Portfolio Strategies Corporation. Other products and services provided through Glory Gray Wealth Solutions.


Listen to the entire podcast episode here.


#womenandwealth #financialplanning #personalfinance #yyj #vancouverisland #retirementplanning #retire #nanoosebay


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