Why This Senior Doesn’t Care If He’s Retirement Poor : The Saturday Weekend Review #222




Finance has consumed Joe’s (changed name) entire life and now he says that he doesn’t care if he’s retirement poor.

Who is Joe?

Joe is a guy we met last week at the gym while babysitting his grandson. The gym has become a hub for parents/grandparents/caregivers who have little to no social life. We joke about this just about ever week.

All wired up in the corner of the gym there were 6 of us parents chatting about the cost-of-living and how it’s been getting harder and harder. This is where Joe jumped in to say that he’s tired of worrying about money and he doesn’t care if he’s retirement poor or not. “I’ve lived a good life and seen more than I thought I would ever see”, as he calls over to his grandson to get out-of-the-way.

Joe is an athletic almost retired man with white hair and a big smile that most people would gravitate towards. Even though he knows he hasn’t saved near enough he says being retirement poor won’t stop him from doing the things he loves especially when it comes with a free price-tag.


Teaching kids about money too early


Joe is a small business owner who has battled the stress of trying to be better than everyone else in the money department. Growing up his parents told him to do whatever it took to make sure he was financially set for the rest of his life. This meant that Joe started to save his money from a young age but he despised it.

Are we corrupting the minds or our kids by instilling financial values in them from a young age?


“Even though I knew I was saving money and gaining experience I just wanted to go out with my friends, not always work”,  Joe quietly said as his focus never leaves his grandson.

Clearly it’s a troubling topic for Joe to talk about so I thought I might make him a bit more comfortable by making him laugh. My middle name is ‘funny guy’ because I’m famous for making my friends smile. I’m all about the money and certainly had time to listen to him even if it was a money/life rant.


Retirement poor is rich


When I asked Joe why he was worn-out on the retirement topic his first words were, “I don’t need money to enjoy this beautiful world.” It makes perfect sense to me and I can see why so many people are happy to live from their government pension and any little savings that they may have.

Not everyone who retires will have investments that will fund them for the rest of their lives and that’s fine and they accept that. Why though?  I don’t know but clearly those who have no interest in worrying about how much money they will be cashing in on during their retirement years are tired of the hoopla.

Joe says that he has put money away for retirement because that’s what he and just about everyone who can afford to do so, does.

I’ve been part of the financial rat-race and brain-washed to believe that I need millions of dollars in the bank to retire on and that’s just not true, at least for me.

I’m sure many of you reading this today will agree with Joe that retirement has become a household name and one that glorifies future savings excitement. Growing up Joe came from a poor family who always encouraged him to do better. The thing is that Joe was content with saving up for what he needed having savings in the bank and finding things to do that were fun and free.

There’s a whole world out there but the reality is that many of us will never see it. Some people don’t even see what the next city has to offer let alone want to travel the world. Where does that leave them? Do you really  need millions of dollars to live comfortably in a small town? Probably not BUT being somewhat prepared for economic change is something to consider. Everything goes up but our pay cheque.

Joe understands that the money that he has in investments and savings accounts isn’t going to amount to multi-millionaire status but he is confident that he will still enjoy retirement.

There seems to be this dreamscape about what retirement should look like.

What Joe means is that retirement starts the minute you are born. Even if you don’t end up having kids your parents may have went through something similar.

Let me explain…

Parents are faced with finding the Registered Education Savings Plan to help their child earn an education (hopefully) while incurring little to no debt. The reason behind this is so the child doesn’t have debt the minute they graduate.  MANY do.

In the meantime they’ve been saving aggressively in their Registered Retirement Savings Plan because their employer/employee match program. If you pay into it the premise is that will have even more money for your retirement. Then out comes the non-taxable Tax Free Savings Account where Canadians can stash cash free from any taxation when withdrawn.


Everywhere we turn we are more concerned about what is going to happen in the future then we are in the present.


There will be no future if we don’t stop and learn how to survive on less even though we might have more. This is the message I was getting from Joe.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that just because we are saving money in our investment accounts that we will be rich and safe from financial worry when retirement comes around. We have become a nation that relies on these retirement or savings programs for future happiness instead of creating happiness today. Why not do both?

Some guys I know work just to pay for their expenses which include huge investments every month. Then they turn around and do nothing with their life as if they are waiting for retirement to get the party started. I don’t want to be that guy nor to I care if I have money to jet around the world. Hell, I might be sick or unable to care for myself when I retire.

In a way Joe is right because most people can’t afford to fund their retirement savings and have already adapted to living life without much money. Being poor is a way of life for most people where living pay cheque to pay cheque is all they have or ever will have.

They’re fine with that too.

They may not be rich but they are more worried about getting by today then what will happen in 20-30 years down the road. This is how my baby boomer in-laws think because they won’t have anything more than what the government gives them and a mortgage free house.


Cruising the simple life


I also believe that Joe was trying to say that he’s sick of living just for retirement and not for today. The more money you get the more life you want and it can become an obsession to the point of no return.

We all know that life balance is very important including financial balance but we don’t know to find that safe place. It’s tough, very tough. It sounds to me like Joe is in deep with the retirement scheme than he is living life and he’s adamant about changing that.

When I asked Joe what living poor meant to him he said, “The ability to pay the bills and to enjoy a simple life.” That’s all he wants. Why try to push the envelope to see the entire world when it’s just not going to happen?

Not everyone is ready to hop on a plane like I am to see what’s out there. Not everyone wants or needs $80,000 a year to live from when retired. Sitting in the back room watching the rain and reading a book brings many people just as much joy as it does being on the golf course. The only difference is one is free and the other costs money. Both offer opportunity just on different playing fields.

The entire retirement game can really get to some people because it’s based on the future and none of us can predict that. Joe feels that many of us are sacrificing today for tomorrow which we are not guaranteed.

Why give up going on road trips to explore our beautiful Ontario just to stash all of our money away for the future? We’re told that the more we save and invest the better off we will be. This is where our money gets sucked into monthly investments, the  budget becomes tight and there isn’t much to live on.

The thing is there WAS money but it’s all tied up in investments.

How do you balance what you don’t have?

It’s a game of do I plan for tomorrow with the money I have or do I keep it for today.

How much should I keep for today? Ugh…

Sometimes money hurts more than it helps.


Life is never guaranteed


Joe recently lost a best friend of his to Cancer and he was only 54 years old. He had a good job, saved his money and worked every opportunity he could. It put a dent in their friendship at times because his buddy was more concerned about retirement investing then he was living. Now, he’s gone. He was never married and sacrificed enjoying life to fund his retirement savings. I hope he’s retiring well wherever death has taken him.

Joe puts his head down and shakes it then says, ” I don’t want to be like him, not now not ever.” That sent chills up my back as my son jumped on my lap. I looked my boy in the eyes and knew that I wanted to explore as much of our world today with him instead of hoping to do it all in the future. He may not be around, I may not be around nor will others we love.

Joe says he is only regret so far about life is that he waited too long to figure this out. Although Joe says he does invest in his retirement savings he doesn’t live for it. When he wakes up in the morning he’s thankful and every day he tries to learn something new. Both him and his wife explore different parks in the summer as it’s inexpensive and go on road trips with a camera in hand.

Being poor doesn’t mean you can’t live life. You don’t have to sit in your residence all day long feeling sorry for yourself because you can’t jet off on holiday like your friends.  Let it go and find things to do that open your mind to new opportunities in your community. Volunteering is fun and you’re also able to meet people.

Money just makes life easier but it won’t bring back missed opportunities or memories that could have been more. Retirement savings are important but should not become your lock without a key. You must learn to balance the way you work with your money.

Do you really need millions of dollars when you retire? Some people just like to hear the words, “Millions”, “Millionaire”, “Rich”.  Every time I’ve watched one of those debt shows the minute millions of dollars is discussed for retirement their faces light up. It’s a word scam that we should avoid because millions of dollars doesn’t equal freedom from life just freedom from financial worry.

If we focused more on enjoying the small stuff in life today and doing what we want to do while saving for the future we’ve created balance. Don’t let life take a back seat to something you don’t even know will exist or be enough IF you make it there.

If you’re reading this today and feel that you’ve been pressured into retirement savings or feeling guilty because you have none, don’t. You’re not alone. One woman I spoke with at the gym said that she won’t be able to fund her kids RESP in full. “There’s no way”, she says as she has her eyes on her two oldest boys and her 5 month old in her arms.

Guilt seems to be the difference between having 1 kid or 10 because parents are always thinking about the future, retirement and whether they can afford it all. Back in the day parents just had kids and dealt with it day by day. Money was still budgeted and savings put by but retirement wasn’t glued to their foreheads like it is today.

I don’t know if I agree with the way Joe wants to live out the rest of his life but what I do know is that he’s right about glorifying retirement. It seems like a scare tactic in a way or a new way to say, “I’m richer” or “I’ve got more than you” instead of “I have savings”.

Mrs. CBB and I would love to travel in the future but we know that if we don’t do what we want today we may just have a fat bank account with nowhere to go. Our premise behind retirement savings is to live for today, live for tomorrow and don’t let worry take over our lives. Worry and stress can cause major health problems and it’s just not right to put yourself through that.

Set realistic goals that aren’t competing with anyone or any program out there. Don’t feel guilty that you don’t invest by yourself or have lots of money to invest. Do what makes you happy. Even though Joe will likely have a healthy retirement savings he’s finally realized that life is now and not just tomorrow.

Even though Joe said he doesn’t care if he’s poor in retirement many of you reading this today will agree that the word “poor” is different for everyone. Treat your life as if it means something and balance what you have today with what you want for tomorrow. Don’t buy into everything you hear and if you aren’t sure about direction talk to someone who’s lived through it.

Related: Growing Up Poor Made Me Rich But Not Happy

I like talking to random people for the above reason but mostly “life experiences”.  Listening to what others have gone through or are going through gives me that push to embrace and create change. In a way it’s the key to the door that we all need to go in and out.

Discussion Question: Do you care if you are poor when you retire? What would you do if you were rich and healthy? What would you do if you were rich and ill? What would you do today if you knew what was to come?

You probably can’t answer some of those questions but I urge you think about what you want from life NOW and tomorrow. Just don’t let it consume you.


A week in my life


Talking to Joe this week inspired us to jump in face first when it comes to our upcoming holiday. It’s fun to be frugal but it’s also fun to explore what we can, while we can. All with-in reason though. Other than a few days off from work and hanging out with my family I was getting stuff done around the house that I’ve neglected this past year.

How was your week?



Top Finance Post


This week I made my way over to Mr. Money Mustache which is a blog I’ve followed for years now. When I read “There are no Guarantees” I realized that it tied in with the post I was about to write for you today.

Instead of working endlessly to build a glass shield around yourself, start enjoying life right now and just keep a mop handy.

If you want more inspiration about retirement and the “trouble-free future” you’ll want to give this a read. Certainly much to digest but one step closer to understanding that not everything is black and white.


CBB Published Posts


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Contact me for more info at canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.ca or you can find me on Twitter (@Canadianbudgetb), Google Plus, Facebook, Tumblr, Stumble Upon, Flipboard.

Top Post This Week: How Much Should My Grocery Budget Be?


Making a difference (MAD) 2017


Making A Difference Canadian Budget Binder MAD

Welcome to the 2017 Making A Difference series! Join the networking movement of Personal Finance Bloggers around the world.

If you are a personal finance blogger and would like your blog to be featured simply drop me an email. I’m currently booking June/July/August 2017-Limited spots.

Personal Finance Bloggers and Fans: I’m currently recruiting for guest posts on the blog while we go away on holidays. This is your opportunity to get published on CBB. If you have a topic idea and interested please contact me via email. canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.ca let’s talk.

There was no blogger scheduled for this week!!


Fan Brag of the Week


jens garage sales 2017 canadian budget binder may

Send in your deal or brag of the week to canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.ca along with a photo and small write-up to be entered into our yearly draw.Enter as many times as you like. If your brag gets featured you get an extra ballot in the draw.

This week our expert garage sale fanatic is back at it and boy did she score some deals this week.

Hi Mr.CBB and Fans!


CBB Words of Wisdom


your today is just as important as your future


I Want To Eat This


skinny chicken tortilla soup

The weather in Ontario is wet, soggy and miserable which is a good excuse to make a nice pot of homemade soup. This Skinny Chicken Tortilla soup from Kim’s Cravings is easy to make and full of nutritious vegetables especially for those enjoy clean eating.

This skinny chicken tortilla soup is as clean as they come, but don’t worry just because it lacks many calories, it is not lacking in flavor one bit!


DIY Weekly


diy foosball table

We are all about kids crafts in the CBB house especially since Mrs. CBB is a stay at home mom. When I found this blog post featuring 50 Creative Crafts to Keep Kids Busy at Momooze I was curious to see if there was anything we could do with our toddler.

Some of the projects are so cool and of course easy. One of my favourites from the entire list apart from the spider plates which we made last Halloween I want to try the foosball table. Our son loves playing with balls and I’m sure he’d get a kick out of this.

What are some of your favourite kids crafts?


Search term giggles


Always begin and end your day with a SMILE!- Mr.CBB

Every week I get tens of thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Most times funny, Sometimes serious.

  • Selling my cloths in Montreal–  Dish cloths? Face cloths? or Clothes? Ah… simple error I’m prone to doing the same.
  • Cost of groceries for a single moth– Depends on how much the moth eats? haha.. I love the funny typos especially if they are my own.
  • Rogers what department to cable– The Cable Department
  • Do you pay back OSAP– Oh boy you have lots to learn about finance. Good to see the research though.
  • Reasons to be executed from jury duty in Canada– Typos are how we get the wrong information online sometimes. I’m certain you would rather sit on a jury then get executed. Start your inquiry over again with the word ‘excused’.  Mind you if you they’d probably let you go on the grounds of wanting to be executed. Mission accomplished!

That’s all the fun for this week, thanks for dropping by and we’ll see you all again next Saturday.


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  1. This is another insight for me. When I retire I want to be comfortable, I guess we all have different perspectives on retirement.

  2. Balancing your lifestyle today and saving for tomorrow is definitely a challenge for everyone. I think that your view of the balance changes as you age. About five to ten years ago, I was very adamant about saving for the future. However, what I really wanted was to build a secured financial future for me and my family. With a secured financial future, I have more options in my life and less money worries.

    Now that I am more financially secured, I am able to loosen my wallet a bit and spent my money on experiences. These experiences don’t have to be expensive, it just have to provide value. Thanks for sharing this story and starting a great discussion topic.

  3. Great post. Finding that balance is always hard to do.

    This is why I deliberately go out and enjoy life in evenings and weekends, mostly going for a hike, a featival, museum, playing ball for nearly free, etc and do one big vacation every other year to another province where we can camp most nights.

    I don’t want to struggle in retirement trying to pay my basic bills so I’m playing catchup while I still can before we have kids as I know we won’t be able to prioritize retirement savings as much in the early years.

    I think I’m finding that right balance but do admit to freaking out about money occasionally and have to rein myself in.

    Thanks for the post. It’s always nice to get a different perspective.

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