I’ve known for many years that I’d enjoy retirement. I even had a countdown timer on my whiteboard which I would update every morning when I got to the office. Although that fell by the wayside when I became an official work-from-home employee, retirement had been on my mind for a decade. So, I was thrilled when I was finally able to retire.
My wife, on the other hand, has been working roughly half-time for about a quarter of a century. She has not felt the same pressure that I did to retire. She had a much more balanced life with a nice mix of work and leisure.
We had talked many times about retirement. I needed to know what our retirement plans would be so that I could work out how much money we’d need. Would we be doing a lot of travel? A lot of home renovations? Would we simply be reading books? These decisions profoundly affect the size of the nest egg you need to have before you can retire. In all these discussions, Joanne figured she’d work until she was 60. While I’m too polite to reveal her age, let’s just say she’s got several years to go before she gets there.
So imagine my surprise when she told me, on May 31st of this year, that she’d had enough and wanted to retire! She first asked if she could retire. Yes, she’s eligible to retire, according to her defined pension plan. She even gets a bridge benefit until she’s 65, when the Canadian government CPP pension kicks in. Then she asked if we had enough money for her to retire now. Yes, there’s enough money. Are you sure?
I had to confess that, no, I am not sure. Like so many high tech workers, I did not retire with a defined benefit pension plan. Instead, my employer provided a defined contribution pension plan (based on when I joined) that fluctuates in value with the values of the investments I chose in that plan. However, based on probabilities, there’s roughly a 98% chance that we’ll have enough money. If we don’t have enough, we have many options. We could cut back on spending, get by with one car, return to work, downsize the house, take our CPP pension benefits early with a penalty, and so on. So, while I cannot be absolutely certain, it’s highly likely that we’ll have enough money.
With that settled, she chose to retire. Friday, August 5th, 2015 will be her last day of work.