Why a retiree likes to describe himself as a ‘late-comer’ and opportunities for Canadians who regret taking CPP too early

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Vince Mayne was assured by three different financial advisors that he was financially ready to retire.Vince P. Mayne/Handout

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Vince Mayne originally retired in 2012 after a career as a Chartered Professional Accountant, the latter part of which was spent as IT manager at Hewlett Packard.

“I was ambivalent about retirement at the beginning. A lot of my personality was wrapped up in my job because of the international travel and responsibilities, so I took some contracts at IBM for another few years before officially retiring in the fall of 2015,” says Mr. Mayne, 69, of St. Catharines, Ont., in the latest Tales from the Golden Age feature.

He was assured by three different financial advisors that he was financially ready to retire. “The last one told me I had to live until I was 116 before I would empty my bank account. Even if I lived that long, I’m not sure I’d have the quality of life that might come with it,” he said.

While Mr. Mayne was financially prepared, he says, as there was “a huge void in my life” after his wife died of cancer while he was still working. Read full interview here, including some radical changes, Mr. Mayne has made in his life since and how he spends his time in retirement. “I like to describe myself as a ‘late-comer,’ which is a senior with money and no curfew,” he says.

‘The most discredited financial instrument in history’ is making a comeback in Canada

A forgotten financial relic of the pre-industrial age has been revived to help Canadians save for retirement. Guardian Capital introduced a line of mutual funds it riffs from the concept of the tontine – a financial instrument that more or less disappeared a century ago.

Tontinen is an investment fund with a dark twist – it benefits all participants when one of them dies. In the most extreme version, shareholders commit their money for life, with the entire sum of capital going to the last survivor, making tontines a classic plot in Agatha Christie novels, murder mystery dinner theater and even an episode of The Simpsons.

It was a gentler form of the tontine that gained immense popularity in 17th-century Europe as an annuity that pays a growing dividend as investors die. About 200 years later, a form of tontine flourished managed by American life insurance companies before an embezzlement scandal led to a regulatory crackdown.

That effectively killed the tontine, at least in North America, and brought an ignominious end to what the British financial historian Edward Chancellor once called “perhaps the most discredited financial instrument in history.”

Moshe Milevsky, a finance professor at York University, has argued for years that tontines deserve a reboot to help fill a gap in Canadians’ collective retirement security. A poll conducted by Angus Reid in June found that more than six in 10 Canadians aged 55 and older have delayed or plan to delay their retirement due to a lack of savings.

The average Canadian retires at age 64, leaving at least two decades of living expenses to plan for. This has created a growing longevity problem. As people live longer, the risk of outliving one’s savings increases. Tim Shufelt reports

Can Carl, 59, afford a $1.25 million remodel of his Toronto waterfront home without jeopardizing his pension plan?

For years, Carl has wanted to tear down his dilapidated old house on the waterfront in suburban Toronto and build a new, larger one with a few rental properties for income. Now that he’s retired, he wonders if he can make it financially. Carl is 59 and single with an adult child.

“I bought my current house in 2008,” Carl writes in an email. “I’ve always intended to renovate/remodel, but I won’t get around to it until I retire,” he adds. “It’s a property with a pretty spectacular view of the water, but it’s falling apart.”

Carl says the construction price has increased by 37 percent from the original design estimate, prompting him to look at selling investment assets to help fund the project. The cost is now expected to be $1.25 million.

Most of his $125,000 in gross income comes from his investments, so the projected rental income “is to help diversify my sources of income in retirement,” he adds. His cash flow goal is to continue to generate $125,000 a year before taxes.

In it latest financial facelift column, Ian Calvert, vice president and principal of HighView Financial Group in Toronto, looks at Carl’s situation.

Ask Sixty Five

Questions: I took my Canada Pension Plan (CPP) at age 60 but now regret it. Can I stop taking it and delay until 65 or 70 or is it too late? What are my options?

We asked Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC Private Wealth in Toronto, to answer this one:

If you have started receiving your CPP retirement pension and change your mind, you may be able to stop payments, but only if you act within the first year.

Under the rules, you can cancel your CPP pension up to 12 months after you started receiving it. This request must be made in writing and you must pay back all of the CPP income you received.

Contact Service Canada to cancel your benefits. You can then start receiving a CPP pension at a later date, until you turn 70.

Do you have a question about money or lifestyle topics for seniors? Email us at sixtyfive@globeandmail.com and we’ll find experts and answer your questions in future newsletters.

Interested in more stories about retirement? Sixty Five aims to inspire Canadians to live their best lives, confidently and safely. Read more here and Register to our weekly pension newsletter.

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