Can I retire?


by Jamie MacDonald

Okay, you want to retire.  What in the heavens are you suppose to do now?  How do you know if you have enough to retire and will it last your life time?



The majority of people in Nova Scotia do not know the exact answer to those questions simply because they are too busy earning an income, paying down debt, and/or raising a family.  Then it hits you, the mortgage is gone (hopefully), the kids have left the nest, and the job you have had forever is starting to get to you.  Time to make a change.


Where do you start?


To begin with, look at your net worth.  Simply add up the value of all your assets, including the market value of your house, land, car, savings, RRSPs, etc., and subtract your debt including mortgage, line of credits, credit cards, personal loans, etc.

If the amount is a negative then you might want to correct that before retirement.


Look at your monthly family net income (what income your family receives after taxes and deductions).

Total up the monthly debt payments you make from your mortgage, credit card, personal loans, car loans, etc.

Subtract the total debt payment from the total net income.

The answer, is the amount you use for living expenses and could closely reflect what income you need in retirement.



If you are presently having trouble getting from one payday to the next then you may need to consider downsizing and/or reducing your debt before retiring.

If you are fortunate enough to have savings, pension plan, or other retirement income then you may be able to supplement it with a Canada Pension Plan (as early as 60) and/or Old Age Security at (age 65) if you are eligible.  You may also be eligible for government tax credits and more information is available by calling Pension Services 1-800-277-9914.




Finally, it is never too early to start reviewing your retirement. There are many other factors that impact one’s retirement including health, job loss, family matters, and lifestyle, so it’s important that you talk to your financial advisor before making any retirement decisions.  An advisor can easily determine if retirement is right for you and most offer free advice.  It’s the best place to start if retirement is in your future.



Jamie MacDonald, RHU JS MacDonald Financial Services Antigonish, NS

Jamie MacDonald, Advisor
JS MacDonald Financial Services
Antigonish, NS (902) 735-3011


By the same author:

Does Your Family Use Vision Boards?

make things happen post it

Vision boards are a fun and creative way for children (and adults) to set personal goals every year.

They offer a great way for kids to get motivated and take action to reach their goals, especially in the tween years when most kids seem to start losing their motivation to engage in activities, or see the benefit in doing various tasks.


These simple visualization boards can help them hone in on their interests while developing much needed planning skills for the future.

Here are a few simple steps to creating vision board:

Keep it simple

All you need is a medium size poster board and glue, or a cork board and pins. Any type of material can be added onto the board: cutout pictures from magazines, newspapers, or simply written goals on a piece of paper, anything goes.

Big dreams & small dreams

It’s absolutely wonderful to dream big and include amazing goals on the vision board, but make sure to also include realistic and achievable goals.

Set specific goals

It helps to set specific goals and to think out of the box. The vision board can contain more than just ‘material’ things. It can include activities they would like to do, amount of money they need to save to purchase something they want, skills they would like to acquire or improve, places they would like to visit, ways they can give back to their community.

It’s also important to come up with a plan to actively work towards achieving the set goals.


vision board 1

Include short term goals

Short term goals are easier to achieve and in turn can motivate children to fulfill the rest of their vision board goals.

For instance, if your child wants to receive a higher grade on their next week’s math test, then ask them to come up with a plan in order to achieve this goal (e.g. do an extra 5 minutes of math every day).

Include long term goals

Long term goals require more thought in terms of action planning, but can be broken down into smaller tasks along the way.

For example, learning to type using all ten fingers can seem overwhelming at first, but this skill can be achieved gradually over time. So, practicing keyboarding 5 minutes every day, while tracking and rewarding progress weekly, can make this goal attainable by the end of the year or sooner.

Personalize it

Get creative. They can personalize their board by adding things they love and things they are grateful for (e.g. the family pet).

As a parent, you might also learn something new from your ever-changing child. My son added on his board: ‘Learn to do Bardownskis’. So, I asked him if Bardownski played for the Montreal Canadians. He laughed at me. Turns out Bardownski is not an NHL player, it’s a type of hockey goal, where the puck hits the hockey net cross ‘bar’, then drops ‘down’ landing in the net …the ‘ski’ part apparently just makes it sound cooler!


vision board 2

The bigger picture

Keep the vision board in their bedroom, in plain sight, as a reminder. When a goal gets accomplished… CELEBRATE!

If some of the goals don’t get reached by the end of the year… no worries. Learning to deal with setbacks, thinking positive, and noticing the good intention behind any goal setting is just as important as reaching the goal!


Vision boards can be a useful tool at any age. So try making one for yourself too. The outcome might surprise you.