Hefty savings, careful spending pay off for this Alberta couple as they coast toward retirement

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Situation: Alberta couple in 50s wonders if one must work longer to support the other’s early retirement

Solution: Maintain frugal ways to keep retirement-timing options open

In Alberta, a couple we’ll call Sam, 56, and Mary, 59, are coasting toward retirement. Their four children are grown, though two are pursuing postgraduate degrees with the aid of a modest balance in family RESPs. They have no debts, $552,000 of financial assets and a problem scheduling the start of their retirements. Their careers in non-profit organizations are successful, but the end is in sight. The question — when can they afford to quit? If one quits at 62, will the partner’s retirement at 67 maintain their way of life.

“I am headed into retirement in three years,” Mary says. “My concern, of course, is the dilemma — will we have enough money? My husband is thinking he has to work eleven more years to 67.”

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Family Finance asked Eliott Einarson, a financial planner with Ottawa-based Exponent Investment Management, to work with Sam and Mary. Neither has a defined benefit pension plan, so their retirement incomes, except for CPP and OAS, are almost entirely in their own hands. Their retirement will be financially secure if they can maintain their present savings rate of $2,932 per month until both partners have fully retired.

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