Why I’m Not Planning Out My Retirement

What do you think of when you think about retirement? Do you think of those ads with an old couple sailing off into the sunset, toasting over champagne? Do you think of your grandparents playing backgammon with their retired friends? Do you think of living an entirely different life on a beach in Thailand with your significant other, no cares in the world besides deciding what to eat for dinner?

When I think of retirement, I think about all of those things. Retirement to me is influenced by the ads I see all the banks push out, how I see my grandparents live out their lives, and a fantasy of ditching everything to spend my twilight years with my HB in paradise.

So, what will my retirement actually look like? Besides making sure I regularly contribute to my RRSP, I honestly haven’t really thought about it.

I actually broached this subject with my HB this weekend as we tried to unplug and talk about anything besides work and the chores we had to do back at home. When I told him I fantasized about us living in a hut on some remote island, he said our retirement plans would probably change as soon as we had kids.

We could totally live like some of the ex-pats we met in Thailand and enjoy a life consisting of reading, eating and sleeping in Thailand as a kidless couple. But if we ever have a family, we both can’t really see that happening.

I’ve even suggested my parents do something similar and live someplace hot and more affordable when they retire, but they always say they wouldn’t want to live that far away from their kids (and possible grandkids).

I guess that wouldn’t be an issue if myself and my sisters all lived in different places, but so far I’m the only one who lives outside of Vancouver. And considering I’ve only lived in Toronto for less than two years and have had a really hard time with my homesickness, I’m not sure if I’d last more than 6 months in Ko Lanta as retiree, so they make a valid point.

That being said, let’s scratch this paradise idea and look at one that’s a bit more realistic. Say my HB and I eventually move back to Vancouver and decide to retire there. Lord help us both if real estate continues to climb into eternity because even if we’re lucky enough to snag property there in our 30s, by the time we’re in our 60s or 70s we’ll definitely be forced to sell and move someplace cheaper.

Knowing my non-existent children, they’ll want to live in the city which is definitely somewhere my HB and I won’t be able to afford to live. We’ll probably have to move a couple hours away, and again, knowing my non-existent children, their lives will be so busy they’ll only have time to visit us a few times a year.

Why aren’t my HB and I moving to Thailand in retirement again? Our kids won’t be visiting us that often in the Okanagan (another one of my retirement fantasies — living near a bunch of wineries). And why am I planning my life around my busy city kids anyway?

This is my time to finally enjoy my money and not work unless I want to! Why can’t I live however I want to live without having to reorganize everything so it won’t be inconvenient for my kids to drive out to visit us on Christmas and Easter (if we’re lucky).

Why am I even talking like this, I don’t have any kids and maybe if I do have them they’ll become sea captains who rarely come home or famous actors living it up in Hollywood!

Is it smart or totally irrational to have a plan for retirement more than 30 years before it’ll happen? Right now, I’m thinking a bit more of column B than column A. Who knows how the world will look like by that time. I’m really hoping holograms and hover boards exist, but otherwise it’s anyones guess what the future will look like.

I guess all I can really do is continue to make automatic payments into my RRSP and hope for the best. Or just wait until my parents retire and see what they end up doing. If they moved to the Okanagan, I’d definitely visit them more than twice a year, that’s for sure.

How do you picture your retirement? Do you have it all planned out?

Showing 22 comments
  • Gretchen

    This is obviously the exact opposite of where we’re at, but still an awesomely interesting perspective! However, I would definitely pay a little more attention to it 🙂

  • Petrish @ Debt Free Martini

    First I have been to Thailand and it is totally beautiful and very cheap to live. Retirement for me will be working and doing something that I totally love. Also to be able to sneak off and chill someone where whenever I choose.

    I have met a lot of retired senior in places like Thailand and a lot of them seem happy but I know I would be bored to death living that type of life. After six months of drinking at the pool and laying on the beach I know I would go crazy. I guess I have a time frame of when I’ll stop working, but I’m never going to retire.

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      That’s another thing. I’m not sure if we’ll every truly stop working. We have a hard time vacationing for 3 days as it is, I can’t imagine just stopping working entirely when we retire.

  • Amanda @ My Life, I Guess

    I really don’t have a clear picture either of what I want my retirement to look like. I’d love to be able to travel, but I don’t think I’d want to live in a foreign country. I think I’d be happy staying in a small city, hopefully own a few acres of land just outside of the core/city limits, and spend my days writing, gardening, creating, and relaxing at home. But who knows, right? 🙂

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Exactly, who knows! Maybe we’ll end up moving to a small town or something. 30 years is a long time and a lot can happen over 3 decades.

  • Michelle

    Ha I have no clue what I want retirement to be like. I’m just saving now in hopes that I realize it later 🙂

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      I think that’s smart. Just start saving and make a plan for what you’ll do with all that money later.

  • Rob

    Well Jess, here are a few “words of wisdom” (lol) from someone who is retired – now going on 2 years for me and 10 yrs for my wife (who retired earlier than me to take care of her mom, who lives with us).

    First – financial: save, invest, but above all else try like hell to be totally debt free / mortgage free when you guys finally decide to retire.

    Second – location: whether or not you retire here in TO or head back to your roots out west, don’t plan on your kids (if there be any in the future) from joining you. By then they’ll be leading their own lives (and careers) and may be living half-way round the world from you. That said, however, you may well end up living close to your parents (and/or inlaws), especially if they need your help in any way. People are growing a lot older as time passes and there are nasty predictions as to the big demographic baby boomer generation (ie., us and your parents) more frequently may be coming down with increasing health issues (eg., dementia, etc.) – just saying.

    Third – activities: make sure that both you and HB have some outside interests, hobbies, etc. that you both can share as well as do alone. For years to come you both will be working at different places and see each other at only limited hours on weeknights and weekends. Then all of a sudden one day you both retire. Do you guys really want to spend 7 x 24 time together for the rest of your lives? You’d drive each other nutso – trust me! (lol). Rather plan to spend quality time together but also alone time apart, doing what different things interest each of you. Not to mention that (sadly) one day one of you may well pass away before the other one does and then you better well have interests in life that each of you can enjoy alone.

    Food for though, eh? Not that I was thinking of any of this stuff when I was your age! 🙂

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Thanks Rob! Wow, lots of food for thought. And good point about not planning to live near the kids but more so planning to live near the parents. I didn’t even really think of that but that’s probably what’ll end up happening.

  • Nat

    I resonance with your post where a lot of people were just bombarded by the “ideal retirement”, but everyone’s retirement needs are just different. One solution doesn’t fit all., I am wondering the same question, what do I envision my retirement to be, do i really need the magic one million dollar to retire? Or i am setting myself up for keeping up with the Jones ?

    A little plug, i just started blogging as well, to spread the love, i nominated you for Liebster award. You do not need to participate, but just thinking giving you a head’s up.


  • Lindsey @ Cents, Sense & Sensibility

    I am totally with you ‘on this! I don’t even know what to eat for dinner half the time, let alone worry about what I want to be doing thirty years from now. I know it’s okay to make plans and change your mind but it seems like it’s lightyears away and so many things can change.

    For me, I’ve had the one kid and she’s eighteen and graduating this year. I started and am finishing my family life young so I”m kind of taken with your childless couple in Thailand idea. Except I’d like to do it now instead of three decades from now.

    So many decisions, so little time. 🙂

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Ooo maybe you could work remotely from Thailand? They do have free wi-fi everywhere.

  • Christine Weadick

    What ever you end up doing keep saving money for then. We were in a fairly good place a few years ago but then hubby’s health tanked. He is still with us but a lot of the money we had saved isn’t. My Dad is still with us and about a 15-20 minute drive away. He and his brother both have health issues and I’m the only family there for both of them. Their sister has her kids to look after her but I’m it for Dad and my Uncle. Our two boys still live with us, the older one likely always will for a couple of reasons. One being that he has Aspergers. The younger boy will likely be the one looking after all three of us here, my daughter is a single Mom and has her hands full to say the least.
    Life can and very likely will, throw some nasty curve balls your way, all you can do there is deal with things as best you can. Having some funds put away will relieve the stress levels in that dept…. Nothing is carved in stone. Yet.

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Very true, life can definitely through some unexpected things at you so there’s no real point planning too far in the future. Just save, save, save and hopefully things will work out in the end.

  • Cee @ Debt Sux

    I haven’t figured out yet what I’m going to do when I retire. My idea of retirement is having the ability/capability to NOT work for money. I could still be working but only to occupy my time and enjoying all the extra money. My parents retired early (both at 50) because they can, but even after that they had to fill their time with something; so they refurbished their rental properties and bought one more and refurbished it–but this time, they took their time because they have plenty of it and along the way gained new handy skills. They love all their free time, but my dad managed to do consulting for about a year a couple of years after retirement. He struggled the most with all his free time. 🙂 My family’s very close so I think we tend to plan our retirement around the idea that we’d still be close enough to each other to spend holidays together, at minimum. I live the farthest but I’m already planning to move back to be closer and saving for it now. I think I’d take some time off when I’m ready to retire but at the same time figure out a way to use my time productively. Your post got me thinking about all of this once again! 🙂

    • Jessica Moorhouse

      Totally! I’d love to have the luxury of working if I want, not because I have to.

  • Karen

    My cousin just recently when to Thailand and showed me a whole bunch of pictures from her trip when I met up with her last month. I would like to go there for our honeymoon, but our wedding is around the rainy season in Thailand (October). Instead we may end up going in February when the weather is supposedly nicer.

    All I know is that for retirement I want to keep myself busy by taking general interest courses, travelling and staying active. I don’t have a specific plan. I would like to retire somewhat early. Freedom 55 would be nice. Knowing me, I would retire from my full-time job and perhaps work at a job I truly love part-time.

  • Emmi

    Hi! Just coming across this post (I am only a 3 day old blogger) but it caught my eye being about retirement and all. I like what you’re saying because being so young, we really have no idea how the world will be or what type of situation we will be in at that time in our lives, BUT it seems like everyone can agree that saving that set amount per month (and increasing it) from now until you’re retirement ready is the best choice – and like someone else mentioned, making sure you avoid debt at all costs (no pun intended). I help people with retirement planning which is why I’m so gung ho about it, but keep on saving and you won’t regret it! (And don’t forget about that lovely thing called inflation, so having that million dollar retirement may very well be a necessary thing).


    • Jessica Moorhouse

      So true, I have a big feeling a million bucks won’t be worth all that much by the time I’m retired so better save, save, save while I’m young!

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