The Globe and Mail

December 6, 2022
Eduardo Lima/The Globe and Mail

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Sal Borg, 69, retired in 2015, at age 61, after running a wholesale fruit and vegetable produce company, Sanci Tropical Foods, in Toronto’s Kensington Market. It was a family business started by his grandfather in 1914. His mother took it over in 1949, and he started working there in 1975 and began running the business in 1984. They sold it in 2015.

“The new owners wanted me to work for them for two years to help with the transition, but I didn’t want to do it any more. I was burned out,” he says in the latest In Tales from the Golden Age feature.

Mr. Borg says he was lucky to have a hobby playing guitar, writing music and performing with local bands and has travelled across North America since he stopped running the business.

Read the full interview here, including how the divorced father finds dating in retirement.

Calling all retirees: Are you a retiree interested in discussing what life is like now that you’ve stopped working? How are higher inflation and volatile markets affecting your retirement? Globe Investor looking for people to participate in its Tales from the Golden Age feature, which looks at the realities of retirement living. We’ll also ask you to offer some advice for others in retirement, or those considering it. If you’re interested in being interviewed for this feature, and agree to use your full name and have a photo taken, please e-mail us a few details about your retirement life so far at: goldenageglobe@gmail.com

The number of years Canadians spend in retirement is dropping

On average, women enjoy four to five more years of retirement than men, since they tend to retire earlier and live longer.

The number of retirement years peaked for both sexes around 2011, at which point retirement ages started increasing faster than life expectancies, writes Frederick Vettese, chief actuary of Morneau Shepell and author of Retirement Income for Life.

Check out his latest Charting Retirement feature.

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Can Nell, 58, cover her cashflow shortfall without having to sell her house?

Like others before her who have grown weary of their careers, Nell took a leap, accepting a buyout and leaving her six-figure job to pursue her dream of opening a small storefront business. Like many others who live in high-priced Toronto, her main asset is her $1.4-million house.

Now, after two difficult years during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nell – who is 58 and single with no dependants – is tired of working long hours for a mere $2,000 a month after expenses, and being forced to dip into her savings. She has put the business up for sale but doubts the proceeds will be enough to cover the $91,000 line of credit she took out to finance it.

“Should I sell my home and use the funds to rent?” Nell asks in an e-mail. The average rent for a two-bedroom condo apartment in Toronto is upward of $3,000 a month. “If I don’t sell my home, do I have enough to semi-retire – take a part-time job until 70 and then retire?”

She is not confident that she has sufficient savings to stop working entirely. If the business is sold, “I will pursue an employment position elsewhere,” Nell writes. Her retirement spending target is $30,000 a year after tax.

Nell has financial assets of about $294,000. The business might sell for about $80,000.

In the latest Financial Facelift, Warren MacKenzie, head of financial planning at Optimize Wealth Management in Toronto, looks at Nell’s situation.

In case you missed it
‘I prefer to call it a reinvention or transformation,’ says this 70-year-old of retirement

Darlene Madott, 70, retired a couple of years ago from a career as a family lawyer, toiling in what she describes as the “vineyards of matrimonial misery” for 35 years.

“It was very emotional for me to surrender my law licence. It surprised me how much I cried. I hadn’t realized how much I had grown to value the role and how much the law had anchored me. But there’s a time in life when you know it no longer makes sense to continue what you’re doing,” she says in the latest Tales from the Golden Age feature

Ms. Madott prefers to refer to her retirement as a reinvention or transformation. “For me, it was an opportunity to do full-time what I’d been doing on the margins for years, which was writing,” says the author of eight fiction books. Her ninth book, Winners and Losers, is due to be published in the spring of 2023. She has also started mentoring young writers. “It’s something I would never have been able to find the time for when I was working,” she says.

Read more about her retirement here, including the transition during pandemic lockdowns.

Retirement Q&A

Question: My husband and I are both seniors. Five years ago he was diagnosed with a condition in which he was considered disabled. The accountant sent documentation with his Income tax return entitling him for a disability tax credit. As his (only) caregiver (in rural Alberta) I’m interested if there is a caregiver tax credit? We are/were self-employed in farming.

We asked Jason Heath, managing director at Objective Financial Partners Inc. in Markham, Ont., to answer this one:

I am sorry to hear about your husband’s condition. That must be difficult given the farm business.

The disability tax credit can save up to $2,825 of tax for an Alberta resident in 2022. It is meant to help defray the costs of a disability. Expenses related to treating or supporting his disability may be eligible medical expenses that you can claim on your tax returns. If he incurs certain expenses to help him earn income from the farm, he may be able to claim those expenses as a disability supports deduction – but they may also qualify as deductible farm expenses anyway given you are self-employed.

You may be entitled to claim the Canada caregiver credit. When you support a spouse or common-law partner with a physical or mental impairment, which I gather is the case, you may be eligible for tax savings of $1,129 from the credit. There are other tax credits, disability benefits, and savings accounts for disabled taxpayers and their families who are younger, but as seniors these are the main ones that might apply.

Have a question about money or lifestyle topics for seniors? E-mail us at sixtyfive@globeandmail.com and we will find experts and answer your questions in future newsletters.

Interested in more stories about retirement? Sixty Five aims to inspire Canadians to live their best lives, confidently and securely. Read more here and sign up for our weekly Retirement newsletter.

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