Money in retirement: A little goes a long way

A little money goes a long way

With a paid off home and $40,000 in annual income, Mary is finding it hard to spend all her money

(Photograph by Shannon Mendes)

Mary Lee, 58, Vancouver (Photograph by Shannon Mendes)

Mary Lee, 58, has been retired for two years now and couldn’t be happier. Before leaving her job as a secretary at a health clinic—a job she held for 40 years—Mary had started preparing a bucket list of things she wanted to do. “But I haven’t had the chance to do any of the things on that list,” laughs Mary. “I’m too busy doing new things.”

One of those new things is yoga. Mary attends a class every day along with a few aerobics classes each week. She also volunteers with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Rhythm and Blues Festival. In addition, Mary enjoys spending time with her adult daughter and other family members on weekends. “I run all my errands during the week when the stores are less busy and leave weekends open for family,” says Mary.

With a paid off home, $40,000 in annual income—mainly from a small defined benefit pension and rental income from a basement suite—Mary is finding it hard to spend all her money. “I track my spending in a spreadsheet and last year I spent $24,000, leaving me with several thousand dollars in my chequing account. I’ve earmarked that money for a safari as well as a month in Paris. I want to see the world while I’m still a young retiree and energetic enough to really enjoy it.”


From “The stress-free guide to retiring rich”