Growing up poor in British Columbia during the 1960s and ’70s taught Mike Wharton the value of money at a very early age. By grade 10, he was already juggling his high school studies with full-time work so he’d be able to afford a post-secondary education. “I knew I needed a university degree,” says Wharton.
After completing a computer science degree in 1985, Wharton then set his sights on the RCMP, where he enjoyed a 25-year career until retiring two years ago at age 48. His position was enviable: an investment portfolio worth $1.3 million, a defined-benefit pension plan, a mortgage-free home in Yellowknife, and three fully paid investment properties. Still, Wharton had great reservations about retirement despite his wife Linda’s insistence that the timing was right. “She always said, ‘When is enough going to be enough?’ I just wanted to make sure there was enough money for her. But now that I’m on the other side, I don’t know why I was so leery of retiring.”
Wharton now finds it gratifying to be able to assist charities. “I’m focused on giving back to the community. We always give 10% of our gross returns to the church or charity, and I was recently selected to be a Justice of the Peace here in Yellowknife. That’s what I’m able to do now.”