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A 2020 survey by University of Lethbridge sociologist Reginald Bibby shows 30 per cent of baby boomers 'have no doubt' that God exists, 16 per cent have some doubts and 8 per cent believe sometimes. A further 22 per cent didn’t believe in 'a personal God' but had faith in a higher power of some kind.SDI Productions/istockphoto/getty images

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Retirement offers time to tend to the spiritual side of life that often gets neglected in the overheated world of work.

“We have spent our whole lives working and building our careers, often at the expense of our families and personal relationships and worked long hours … boomers turned busyness into a virtue,” says Sheila Macgregor, lead minister and minister of worship and pastoral care at Siloam United Church in London, Ont.

“Now boomers are faced with the question ‘Who am I now that I no longer have the job? Who am I now without the title, or staff or colleagues? Who am I without the kids at home?’ ” adds Ms. Macgregor, who is also the author of Re-Designing Your Life: A Practical Spirituality for the Second Half of Life.

“These are questions around identity and purpose … they’re fundamentally religious questions.”

Whether it involves traditional houses of worship or spiritual practice of various types, religion continues to be of interest to retirees. Kathy Kerr reports.

This 40-something couple is looking to retire by 2030. Here’s what they need to do

Carlos is age 46, Corinne is 49. They have a residence in Vancouver, a time-share in Whistler and a teenage son. Both Carlos and Corinne work in information technology.

As an executive, Carlos earns a base salary of $137,000 a year plus bonus and company stock, lifting his total compensation to $205,000. She makes $81,000 a year. Their goal is to achieve financial freedom in nine years, when Carlos is 55. They each have defined contribution pension plans at work. Carlos uses his company stock to top up their registered retirement savings plans – including a spousal RRSP for Corinne – and their tax-free savings accounts.

When they retire in 2030, Carlos and Corinne’s goal is to have an after-tax income of $100,000 a year, substantially lower than their current income. Barbara Knoblach, a certified financial planner at Money Coaches Canada in Edmonton, looked at their situation in The Globe’s latest Financial Facelift article.

In case you missed it

Are you ready to get back on a cruise ship?

Six months ago, retired B.C. couple David Lang and Cathy Brusegard booked a cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver that sets sail in April, 2022. It will be the latest in a long list of ocean voyages they’ve taken to different parts of the world, including in the Caribbean, Cuba, Mexico, Alaska and the Panama Canal, but the first since the COVID-19 pandemic left most passengers ships onshore. The couple has missed life on the sea.

“We love the idea of the ship being your moving hotel; you wake up each day in a new place,” Mr. Lang says.

While they’re looking forward to the trip, and are fully vaccinated, they’re having some second thoughts as the number of COVID-19 cases is rising again in the U.S. and around the world. They have until the end of January to cancel, which would cost them their $260 deposit. As Dene Moore reports, the couple is among thousands of Canadians who love to cruise and are anxious to get back to it. Statistics show that, per capita, Canadians are among the most ardent fans of sea voyages in the world.

A guide for seniors trying cannabis for the first time

It’s been nearly three years since Ottawa legalized the recreational use of cannabis and one of the big surprises has been just how many seniors are utilizing pot products for health reasons – or just plain fun.

Statistics Canada found that while cannabis use is still less among seniors than other age groups, it is growing among the 65-plus group faster than any other age cohort, from about 40,000 recent users in 2012 to 400,000 in 2019. Those numbers have likely grown since.

For older Canadians who are thinking about using cannabis, either for their health or recreational use, the good news-bad news is that there is a bewildering array of options at the local (legal) cannabis store; from “flower” (dried cannabis that can be smoked or vaped as well as pre-rolled joints), oil concentrates, edibles, creams and other topicals and beverages. Given the overwhelming variety of pot products available, older Canadians might want to seek out some advice from trusted friends, cannabis store vendors and last but not least, medical professionals. Paul Brent sought out some advice for first-time cannabis users.

What else we’re reading

Five ways to make the most of your retirement

In this article by Peter Hodson, founder and head of Research at 5i Research Inc., discusses his centenarian father-in-law’s secrets to a happy and prosperous retirement. Having a pension helps, and time in the market has been useful; however, there are some other tips that might come in handy the next time you watch your stock portfolio sink.

Why some older singles are partnering up, but living apart

Here’s an interesting story in the New York Times that looks at older adults who are seeking and finding love, but choosing to live apart with their new partners. The story says many older women in particular are concerned that romantic attachment later in the life will turn into full-time caregiving. It quotes Margaret Widuckel, a 75-year-old widowed nurse from Melbourne, Australia, who is sometimes lonely but worries finding a partner means looking after them for years to come.

“I also see my friends with frail husbands unable to pursue their own activities, and all their conversations are about what the doctor said or didn’t say.”

Ask Sixty Five

Question: Please clarify if my Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is impacted and reduced if I am out of Canada for more than six months.

We asked Janine Guenther, president of Dixon Mitchell Investment Counsel in Vancouver, to provide some insight:

If you decide to become a non-resident of Canada by staying away for more than 183 days, the only change to your CPP benefits is that there will be a withholding amount of 25 per cent, which can be reclaimed if the country where you are resident has a tax treaty with Canada. Overall CPP benefits depend on your contributions to the plan over your working years.

There are many considerations when choosing to become a non-resident of Canada in retirement. It’s very important that you go through the information on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website that outlines all the costs and benefits of electing to be a non-resident: There are tax and health care coverage implications associated with the change. While CPP continues, Old Age Security (OAS) will continue if you are over 65 and have lived in Canada for more than 20 years. To achieve the maximum in OAS, you must have lived in Canada for 40 years. For the 20-year resident, you will get 20/40 of the maximum amount. OAS will also have a 25 per cent tax held back and can be reclaimed if the country where you are living has a tax treaty with Canada.

It’s always a good idea to consult a financial professional to ensure you’re making the best decisions based on your personal circumstances.

Have a question about money or lifestyle topics for seniors, or want to suggest a story idea for the Sixty Five series? Please e-mail us at and we will find experts and answer your questions in future newsletters.