Advice from this pensioner: “If you are in good enough health and have the financial means, go on a trip as soon as possible”

Kathryn Brookfield at her home in Winchester, south of Ottawa, on Thursday, June 30, 2022. Photo by Ashley Fraser/Globe and MailAshley Fraser/The Globe and Mail

In Tales from the Golden Ageretirees talk about their expenses, their savings and whether life after work is what they expected.

Kathryn Brookfield, 69, Winchester, Ont.

I retired about 11 years ago, at the age of 58, from a career as a high school teacher and later as a manager in a federal public service union in Ottawa. I suffered from depression and the work was very stressful. I had a very good pension and decided it was time to stop working to focus on my mental and physical health. It was a huge relief to be able to do this myself.

My late husband, who was six years older than me, owned an advertising agency in Ottawa and began to shut down around the same time. In 2011, once we were both retired, we moved to Wellington, Ontario, Prince Edward Country, where we lived for 10 years. We had an amazing time there, but then decided to move to Winchester – about a 30 minute drive south of Ottawa – which was more accessible for our families and easier to access health care services. specialized.

Sadly, my husband passed away in May 2021, before we moved into our new home. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April and died a few weeks later. It was very unexpected. It also caused me to rethink my retirement plans.

I have decided to sell our house, which I moved into in November, and will be moving to a rental apartment in Ottawa this fall. It’s a beautiful place that overlooks the Ottawa River. I have decided to rent from now on so as not to tie up my capital. I am investing and planning to travel a lot more now that pandemic restrictions are easing. My to-do list includes Nile and Danube cruises, and I’ve booked a trip to Paris next June.

My advice to others is that, if you are in good enough health and have the financial means, go on a trip as soon as possible. And enjoy spending time with your partner, because you never know what might happen.

I also recommend getting involved in your community to stay active and engaged in retirement. Personally, I like to volunteer where I can use my brain and spend time outdoors. Over the years I have volunteered in local gardens and as an English tutor. I have also done fundraising for various non-profit organizations. It’s very satisfying to be able to help others.

My advice: Think about what you love in life and then see if you can transfer it into something where you can meet new people, get involved in your community and find a real sense of belonging.

As said to Brenda Bouw

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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