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Retirement – Don’t despair. Prepare.


By David Hawkins

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David Hawkins was a participant at a Weekend Pre-retirement Course in Toronto on Saturday, November 15, 2014. 

We’re all going to die. And we’re going to pay taxes to the very end.

Those two certainties don’t disappear when we stop cursing the alarm clock.

The government’s slice of our pie may shrink some when fixed incomes kicks in. But every sunrise rolls everyone closer to the day we won’t mist the mirror anymore.

Don’t despair. Prepare

“What’re you doing after work?” – is the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada’s nudge to those of us who are nearing retirement – or just beginning it – and needing some emphasis focusing and direction setting.

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The weekend seminar I attended was made possible through CMG’s National Education programming and was exclusively for Canadian Media Guild members and their partners. People from CBC,CPShawTFO and TVO were there and were highly appreciative of facilitators and speakers from both CMG and CURC.

It’s all about helping us make the best of what’s left and maybe defying some of the odds before we shuffle off this mortal coil.


Reality check on self and situation

The able facilitators ran us through exercises on: goal setting (a life

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Barry Stevens is a CURC Pre-retirement Course facilitator

where  happiness outweighs regrets), living arrangements (my home is right until it’s wrong), and legal arrangements (will, living will, executor and powers of attorney). Better to have acted on things than need to when in a bad way.

You know your friends and relations, but are you prepared for changes loss and distance may bring as time passes quicker for some and needs/opportunities beckon you or others? Should you shore up or widen your circle of support? Nagging questions until they’re answered by you.

Money matters

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Part of each seminar day was devoted to finances – time lines governing social supports, softening the tax bite, finding the right advice and, avoiding elder abuse – a theme that echoed in several spots over the course.

Very useful tip sheets and questionnaires to help you put your financial footings in solid ground, are included in the printed participant’s learning manual.

Life expectancy

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Christina Sorensen is a member of the CWA Canada Retirees Council and a Pre-retirement Course facilitator. Christina coordinated the course on behalf of the CMG.

Thirty percent of how we age is genetics. The other 70 percent is up to each of us, it seems. Those are odds that break in our favour, that is, if we’re ready to act.

One chart says someone like me who was born in 1952, has a life expectancy of 66. That means sayonara, maybe, before I even retire. Sheesh.

Well everybody knows there’s a set of keys to use to extend your mileage – diet, exercise, attitude and mindful activity. And the longer you live, the longer you’re likely to.

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Raj Narain is a member of the CWA Canada Retirees Council and a Pre-retirement Course facilitator.

You want to make sure you’re set up with extended health, dental care and travel insurance,  and CURC has a range of benefits plans if you’re interested.

In fact, CURC is a storehouse of information and resources you may appreciate in your lead up to your after work life.

And if it suits your ambition to leave the world better for your being in it, you might consider joining CURC and getting involved with its work towards improving the Canada Pension Plan for future retirees who may not have it as good as some of us.

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All in all, a weekend well worth the time invested.

David Hawkins is a senior producer at TV Ontario. He is also the Vice-President of the CMG Branch at TVO.


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