6 Self-Sabotaging Behaviours That Can Ruin Your Retirement

Retirement Income Planning, Calgary

Shocking Stat

If you track 20 people from age 50 onward, here's what will happen by age 70. 

According to the Canadian critical illness table from 2008, 1.5 will have died and 8.5 will be dealing with a life-threatening illness. That leaves 10 healthy people. What quality of lifestyle is a couple having if one of them is dealing with a life-ending illness.

Stop and think for a moment about how many people you know who are no longer here or are dealing with a life-altering illness. 

What are the leading health issues of Canadians?

1. Cancer

2. Heart Disease

3. Diabetes

4. Obesity

There are about 37.7 million Canadians:

9,900,000 with obesity.

11,000,00 with diabetes.

4,600,000 with hypertension.

225,800 are fighting cancer.

That's a total of 25,725,800 Canadians with health issues.

That leaves 11,974,200 healthy Canadians. Less than a third.

Why are Canadians so unhealthy?


What are the self-sabotaging behaviors of Canadians, especially retirees?

1. Poor health.

Mostly from poor choices. A high calorie/carb/sugar diet has resulted in rapid rates of obesity in our modern society. There's a direct correlation between poor eating and poor health. I know that heredity plays a role, but even then, there are strategies to minimize the impacts.

2. Lack of exercise. 

There's an obvious correlation between lack of movement and an increase in weight and illness.

3. Stress.

The direct relationship between stress and sickness is becoming more and more obvious. The problem with stress is that we don't always recognize it. What are the sources of stress in your life? There are many to choose from. Toxic relationships. Fear. Financial. Health issues. Work stress. By this age, you should be able to identify the symptoms of stress. Irritable. Short fused. Angry at others. Poor sleep. Isolating instead of engaging others. Headaches. Stomach aches.

4. Magic pills.

It's my opinion that the dementia ward is full because of people believing that they could solve their health problems with a pill instead of better eating and exercising. If you have been watching game shows you know from the commercials that there is a pill for everything. I'm not a doctor, but there have to be negative consequences from all of the chemicals we fill our bodies with.  Where have all of the dementia cases come from over the past 30 years? And, why is it getting worse? I'm willing to bet a dozen donuts that in 30 years from now the cases of dementia will decrease among those individuals who have lived a healthy lifestyle and avoided the 4 major ailments listed above. The Mayo Clinic lists several other leading causes of Dementia here.

5. Financial chaos.

Not taking the time to get your financial house in order. There are 5 keys areas of planning that you need to address in getting your finances organized.

  • income planning (government benefits, RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, annuities)
  • investment management (do it yourself or work with a trusted advisor)
  • risk mitigation (life insurance, travel insurance, health benefits, funeral cost, long-term care)
  • tax planning (income splitting, tax credits, staying up to date, reducing OAS clawbacks)
  • legal documents (updated will, powers of attorney, trusts, beneficiary designations)  

6. Toxic relationships.

As soon as you read that there were a few faces that popped into your mind. I think as we get older we have less capacity for bullshit drama. We recognize that life is short and we just can't fill it with toxic people with endless drama and negative attitudes. Sit down with the person and tell them the truth and walk away. Just rip the bandaid off. 

Is there any good news here?

Absolutely. You may not be able to go back and change past behaviours or totally undo the sin of the past, but you can start new today and begin to make incremental changes that can have an immediate impact on your life now and into the future. 

1. Change your diet to include more healthy choices. Here's a guide to healthy eating. Or, The Complete Guide to Cooking Healthy on a Budget.

2. Start moving more. Walking, swimming, biking, golfing, running on the treadmill, weight lifting. Exercise is a stress reducer.

3. Meet with your doctor regularly for a checkup and preventative steps you can take to improve your health. 

4. Reduce the stress in your life by reducing responsibilities, having more fun, getting better sleep, socializing. It's a known fact that when we make improvements in one area of our lives it spills over to other areas.

5. Self-Care. We can wrongly think of self-care as indulgences. But, in reality, self-care is about looking after yourself so that you can better look after others. You know how they tell you during the pre-flight safety demo to always put on your own oxygen mask before trying to assist someone else. We are better humans when we are healthy, happy, and helpful. Well, we will never be helpful to anyone if we are not happy, and it's hard to be happy if we are not healthy. Here are some tips on self-care.

There are some things that are beyond your control, however, there are many things totally within your control. Focus on what you can control and enjoy a long, healthy, and productive life.

There are 4 ways you can deal with the "to-do lists" in your life:

1. Delay it.

2. Delegate it.

3. Forget it.

4. Do it.

You can't delegate your health choices, eating right, or exercise. Toxic people or the past - build a bridge, walk over it, and then turn around and burn the bridge - so you can never be tempted to go back.

Financial stuff, investing, legal documents, etc - you can delegate that stuff. That's what we do and we are here to help you get your total financial life in order and it keep it that way forever.


Learn more about our fee-only retirement income, investment, and tax planning process for clients 55+. 


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Retirement Income, Investment & Tax Planning,

Willis J Langford BA, MA, CFP

Nancy R Langford CRS

Our mission is to help our clients get their total financial house in order and retire more confidently with purpose & peace of mind

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