The 3 Keys to a Better Retirement

Fee-only Retirement Income Planning, Calgary

He told me the highlight of his day was "Happy hour"!

We met at a dental office in Mazatlan, Mexico. He was waiting for his wife and Nancy and I was there to use a coupon we found on the beach for a 180 peso tooth cleaning. ($18 CAD). As we visited he told me that the last couple of years he and his wife have been coming to Mazatlan for a change from the dusty Yuma desert. There's so much more to do near the beach, other than wait for happy hour to begin, and it's much cheaper in Mexico now that the Canadian dollar isn't worth as much in the US.

Retirement can be a very long time, especially if all you have to look forward to each day is "happy hour". Most of us will spend 20-30 years in retirement - that's a lot of happy hours -which are only happy because the drinks are cheap and you finally have someplace to go and something to do.

This leads me to the first key to a successful retirement: Something to do.

You need a reason to get up in the morning and a purpose that fulfills a value within your life. Not just a hobby or a job - a desire, a passion, a fulfillment. Don't retire until you have this figured out!

On this same recent trip to Mazatlan, we also met Henry from Winnipeg. I didn't have to ask him why he was in Mexico for the winter! We met him just after we finished spending our $36 at the Dentist's office. We noticed a sign outside the big yellow church that read, "Free calls to Canada & the US, Tuesday - Friday 9-1pm". Always intrigued by a deal, we decided to go in and inquire. We were greeted by Henry as we walked through the door. As we visited, he told us that he has been coming to Mazatlan for about 11 winters and got involved with this church many years ago. There are so many Canadians coming that they now have an English service each Sunday morning.

Henry volunteers his time a few days a week to meet the local tourist and snowbirds and offers them free calls to the US or Canada. He went on to show us the various projects the church is involved with. Numerous schools for children and a dump ministry where they make meals and bring them to the workers who comb through the city trash for valuables. In fact, they offer an opportunity for anyone to help make sandwiches and go on the bus to the dump and see what they do.

Henry was a well-adjusted retiree who had found a niche where he could continue to use his strengths and abilities in retirement and have a reason to get up each day and be surrounded by like-minded people, which brings us to our second key to retirement success, staying socially connected.

None of us is an island unto ourselves. We are social beings and require a certain amount of social interaction on a regular basis. It isn't the same amount for everyone, but it's a necessity. When you worked a full-time job you had this on a daily basis, from the ride into work, visiting around the coffee room or interactions with other staff. In retirement, you have to make an extra effort to connect socially. With the long winters in Canada, it's easy to coop up in the house and rarely see anyone. 

Find a place and people you fit in with and can stay socially connected. Run with a pack of someones. It doesn't matter if that's the Wild Hogs or a weekly bingo gathering. We all need friends. Study after study will show that humans are healthier in a relationship with other humans. Here's a piece from US News on "7 tips for staying socially connected in retirement".

Lastly, you need a worry-free retirement with as much guaranteed lifetime income as possible. Not having to depend on the stock market for your most of your income provides the peace of mind to really enjoy retirement - it's the medicine that will help you sleep better at night. Towers Watson, a large pension administrator reports the findings of a University of Michigan study of more than 26,000 retired Americans. Click here for the full report. The study concluded that retirees with annuitized income reported the highest degree of satisfaction in retirement.

Here's a breakdown of their key findings:

  • Retirement satisfaction has steadily declined over the last decade.
  • Satisfaction is highest among those with high levels of wealth and income who are very healthy and annuitize their income.
  • Among retirees with similar wealth and health characteristics, those with annuitized incomes are happiest.
  • Annuities provide the biggest satisfaction boost to retirees with less wealth and those in poor health.
  • Despite variations, the satisfaction effects of annuitized income and the general decline in retirement satisfaction are long term and extend across all respondents.

The key to a worry-free retirement is first and foremost, guaranteed lifetime income. 

We always say that you need 4 buckets of money in retirement:

  1. Basic living expenses
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Health
  4. Legacy

It's best to fill the first bucket with guaranteed lifetime income, such as CPP, OAS, Pensions and Lifetime Income Cashable Annuities. You cannot afford to take any risk with this bucket. It's very difficult to find safe investment options that provide enough yield on a risk-free basis. We do have a couple of options (check out this video) that we would like to discuss with you if you have some time to sit down with one of us. Lifestyle expenses are best covered by hybrid investments that provide dividends/income and have growth potential. Health and legacy can be covered by your personal residence, a separate investment account or the most cost-effective strategy - insurance. 

It looks as if the 2nd longest bull run in stock market history has violently come to an end and it's prudent to lock in some of those gains with guaranteed lifetime income. One of the best strategies you can use right now are cashable annuities. They can give you guaranteed income for life and at the same time allow you to participate in market gains.

It's important in retirement to have a trusted advisor that you can work with for many years to come. 55% of pre-retirees will change advisors when they transition to retirement because they realize they need specialized planning with a focus on income protection.

If you are in or close to retirement and would like to meet with us to discuss your retirement income planning needs, book a time in our calendar for an initial meeting, where we can complete a review of your options and put together a retirement plan for you.

We'll discuss:

  1. How long will my money last?

  2. How much can I spend each year and still have confidence that I won't run out of money?

  3. When should I take CPP and OAS? 

  4. Which of my assets should I spend first to create tax-efficient income?

  5. How much should I be saving now so that I can generate the income I'll want in retirement?

We can help you create a sustainable and predictable cash flow from your portfolio in the most tax-efficient manner to ensure you never have to worry about running out of money.

Click Here to learn more about our Fee-only planning services for those 55+


Willis J Langford BA, MA, CFP

Nancy Langford CRS

Retirement Income & Investment Planners



Schedule Appointment


Share This Post:

Related Posts

Latest Testimonial

My wife and I realized a long time ago the value of a financial planner over just a bank representative. We just felt like a number to the banks as every year it seemed we saw a different adviser with a different view. But finding a trusted, knowledgeable and personable financial planner took a lot of time and effort. It just seemed, so many large corporate Financial Planners were more concerned about what they could make off of us rather than what they could make for us.
What we wanted, was not just reasonable returns now, but good personal advice in our preparation for retirement and what happens when retirement actually arrives. We wanted someone who would be walking with us, guiding us on our way to retirement.
From the first time, we found the web site for Langford Financial Inc, we could see the knowledge of Willis and Nancy and a real effort to educate and pass on their knowledge through seminars, workshops and their personal service. Once I reached out through their web site for more information, Willis was quick to respond, offering and giving whatever information I was looking for and never was there pressure to commit to anything.
The feeling of comfort and ease when talking with Willis was inviting enough for us to want to meet with Willis and Nancy, just to see firsthand if there was a connection and what working with them would look like.
And when we did meet for the first time, that feeling of comfort and ease was very evident. It was a unique experience for us to be able to sit down and get to know a financial planner (or a team of both Willis and Nancy) and not have any sales pressure on us. Just getting to know Willis and Nancy was important for us. We needed to be comfortable with them and see their competence in the business, and it was obvious that Willis and Nancy wanted to know us better so they could know how best to help us.
Once we decided to move our accounts over to Langford Financial, we found their process was comforting and refreshing as Willis and Nancy first worked at evaluating our complete situation. They dug down to get a complete picture of where we were at, where we wanted to be and how to get there. This took some reflection on our part but once we saw how they put it all together in our “Financial House In Order” binder, we were confident we made the right decision to go with Langford Financial.
Since the time we started working with Willis and Nancy I have attended many of their seminars and can say the information they have been teaching has been amazing. Always relevant, and consistent with their desire to help those coming up to retirement, and covering so many different situations as everyone has a different life situation. I know more than one of the tax-saving strategies they taught at their seminars will work for my wife and I, so we are very happy about that.
We would definitely recommend Langford Financial, not just for all your retirement planning needs, but they have great ideas on savings for your grandchildren too!
Paul and Elaine Radder

Paul & Elaine Radder
Long-term Clients

Contact Us

Questions? Comments? Call us today at 587-755-0159 or fill out the form below:

Have Questions? Call Us Today At

Call Us

Join Our Newsletter