Ask the Money Lady: Retiring early is wonderful, in theory

 In Opinion

Dear Money Lady,

I will turn 59 in 2022 and I sometimes think I am ready to retire. One day I want to quit and the next I plan to keep working to 65. Any ideas?


You are not alone Paul, many Canadians are wanting to make changes in 2022 as we ease our way out of COVID. We have had a cultural awakening towards our own mortality and many people in their late 50s have decided they would like to retire earlier with the thought of working to 65 now being a real issue. But being frugal and living a minimalistic lifestyle today is just not enough. And, short of knowing when you will die, which has always been the magic question, the risk of running out of money in retirement is a sobering reality. Retiring early, (under 65) is a wonderful thought in theory, however you absolutely cannot drain your savings just because you want to retire sooner. So, what other options are there?

Whether you choose to work an abbreviated work schedule with your current employer or decide to start something new, most pre-retirees often have a part- time job or side-hustle to provide the much needed income to maintain their lifestyle or continue to pay down debt. This will allow you to get accustomed to living on less and it can also ensure that all your debts are indeed paid in full by the time you make your hard-stop to working. So how do you create a passive income to either transition to semi-retirement or provide additional income to get you there faster? Networking has always been the best way to move from one career to another, but this is definitely a contact strategy, one that has been difficult during a lockdown. So instead, ask yourself why do you want to retire now? If you could change careers, what would this be? What would make you really happy? What do you want to do with the rest of your life?

Paul, when you started working in your career, you most likely always had to focus on what you naturally didn’t do well, ignoring all the things that you probably loved to do and were exceptional at. So now that you are older, I want you to focus on all the things that you are really good at. I know you’re good at something, in fact, I bet you are good, if not great at a lot of things. Take a moment right now and write down a list of what you do well. Are you good at communicating? Good at selling? Good at being a friend? Good at being a great listener, working with numbers, organization or even developing new things? Start by creating a “good at list” and then next to every entry write down how you can use these skills to create a full and profitable retirement. Can you expand your current work situation, or can you create a new opportunity?

Remember Paul, that change is often scary and deciding to possibly retire this year will definitely be an adjustment. However, we all usually have our biggest breakthroughs when we push through and make a transformation for the better. You should never feel stuck in your life or in your career no matter what your age. There is tremendous value in working in your area of unique ability. Doing so will make it easier and faster to make a change and create either a passive income stream or perhaps a full-blown new business opportunity. Challenge yourself to think bigger and seize the moment. You only have one life to do it in – so believe in your ability and refuse to have regrets later in life.

Christine Ibbotson is the author of three finance books and the Canadian Best-Selling Book “How to Retire Debt Free & Wealthy.” Visit www.askthemoneylady. ca or send a question to

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