In Tales from the Golden Age, retirees talk about their spending, savings and whether life after work is what they expected.
Beverly Fox, 66, Victoria
I retired last fall after spending 37 years working at Weeda Stamps Ltd. The business started as a storefront in Vancouver, and I bought it in 1992 and moved it online, which included running monthly auctions. It’s quite a popular site and a successful business.
It was a pretty stressful job, which included getting the auction lots ready on time; everything had to be scanned and described for the customers. It was also very time-sensitive. Plus, you had to keep the consigners, the buyers and the employees happy.
A friend offered to buy the business last fall, which was a dream come true because I was looking to retire. The most important thing to me was knowing the new owner was exactly the right person to ensure the quality of service to my regular clients. I was also able to use the capital gains exemption for qualified small-business owners, which helps fund my retirement.
My husband, who is four years younger than me, continues to work for the new owner. He loves the job and plans to be there for a few more years. I kind of miss him during the day when he’s at work, but it’s also fine because I do my own thing when he’s at work and then we spend time together in the evenings.
Since retiring, I’ve been too busy. At first, I said yes to everything, such as volunteering at four different organizations, joining a dragon boat team and doing weight training. It got to be too much. I didn’t have a day off. I was warned not to say yes to too much at first because it could get overwhelming, and it was true. I had to give up some of my activities, including some volunteering and the dragon boat team, which was hard because I felt like I was disappointing people. I am still trying to find a balance, including finding more time for myself.
My advice to other retirees is that it’s important not to give all your time away to others. Self-care is important. For me, that’s doing things like reading, biking and going to movies in the afternoon now that the pandemic restrictions have eased and theatres have reopened.
We also moved a couple of times since I retired, which has kept me busy. We sold our house in the suburbs in October and rented a place in downtown Victoria until we eventually found a condo we wanted to buy. We moved in a few weeks ago. I love living downtown and being close to different amenities.
Over all, retirement for me has been very freeing. To quote Lou Reed, it’s the beginning of a great adventure.
As told to Brenda Bouw. This interview has been edited and condensed.
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