FRUGAL RETIREMENT LIVING MEANS ADJUSTING TO THE LITTLE MONEY YOU HAVE AVAILABLE
Most Canadians will have little money for retirement unless they invest on their own while they are younger.
That’s the reality.
Living well in retirement has its own definition based on the people who are living it but for the most part, you still need to watch your money.
Gone are the days of defined benefits and works benefits are limited based on where you are employed.
Saving for tomorrow above what government pensions Canadians get is solely left up to us but not everyone can save.
When we sat with our financial advisor a few weeks back to review our long-term financial plan we estimated to have around $75,000 a year to spend during our retirement years.
I’m not sure where we came up with that number but it seemed like a reasonable amount of money for travelling and to afford the things we needed.
The problem is we don’t really know what the future holds for us so right now although it seems we will have money during retirement we still budget and live frugally.
Health Worries Tops The List
Our biggest worry is our health because we’ve learned that in the blink of an eye, anything can happen.
Oddly, it never used to be about healthy living but now that we’ve experienced it first-hand how it can tear a family apart, it’s a big concern.
It should be a concern for all Canadians because getting care in Canada when you are ill can be costly when it’s not funded.
We have to really in order to reach our financial goals and to turn our financial plan into liquid gold for our retirement years.
Not everyone is so lucky, my mother-in-law is one of them.
Frugal Senior With Illness and Little Money
If you need to live cheaply in retirement it’s important to continue budgeting into your senior years.
My mother-in-law is not able to do this so we created a retirement budget for her but we can’t balance it.
Just last year before turning 65 she finished paying off her mortgage so she is mortgage free.
The problem is that she has little money set aside from her spouse’s pension along with her government benefits.
The worst part is right now we have to apply to reinstate her government pension as it has been terminated since she did her 2018 taxes.
Since she claimed her spouses work pension they deemed her income to be above the threshold and revoked her benefit.
There is NO income, it was a pension but they want us to skip rope.
Not only that but she had to still pay in excess of $16,000 in taxes that weren’t taken off by the pension employer.
In essence, they didn’t take off enough money when they paid her the lump sum. The initial taxes were around $47,000 plus the $16,000 which is a whopping amount to pay in taxes. Looking back we should have taken the monthly pension payments.
Our mistake was rushing the process but she was left with no money after the bank froze her account when her spouse died.
We were caught in the middle of a financial game that turned out shitty.
So, as of the end of this month instead of taking home $1900 a month, she will get shy of $500 which won’t even cover her property taxes and groceries.
The money that she did get from the pension went to pay off the mortgage and the rest was stashed in a Tax-Free Savings Account and bank savings.
There’s not much left.
It’s a bunch of red tape and hoops we have to jump through just to tell the government that she’s not working earning that money and it was a one-time lump sum pension payment.
The Great Depression
During the great depression in 1929, there really wasn’t much in the way of pensions and savings people just lived on what little money they had.
Beginning on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, when the value of the New York stock market fell dramatically, and ending in 1939, the Great Depression was a time when Canadians suffered unprecedented levels of poverty due to unemployment.- Source
The unemployment rate during the great depression was at an all-time high of 30% where 1 in 5 Canadians lived on social assistance from the government.
When there was no money available people turned to barter to obtain services such as medical help or food to put on the table.
Canada’s Blue Cross prepaid hospital insurance plans provided a benefit that funded a maximum annual period of hospital care for plan members, including diagnosis, treatment and surgical services.
Believe me, there are seniors who are bartering their services today just to make ends meet, living below poverty and unsure how to fund their retirement years.
It’s a continued struggle but with the inclusion of work pensions, RRSP’s and TFSA’s along with a savings plan your retirement years don’t have to be gloomy.
For the unfortunate seniors who are faced with retiring with little money, it’s a tough spot to be in especially when resources in Canada are limited.
The outcome is that you have to learn how to retire on little money by making significant changes to the way you live.
That’s the reality and there’s no bull way around it and it saddens us to know that eventually, my mother-in-law will have to sell her home.
It’s not unusual for seniors to downsize but when you are faced with mental illness such as Alzheimer’s moving house can be detrimental to the person.
Although she may not have a choice about what happens with her living arrangements we can help keep her independent until it’s time for assisted living.
How To Retire With Little Money
Sometimes we have to do without which means taking away what little we have just to make ends meet.
When you retire with little money set aside that means taking steps to get yourself on a budget that balances and that is sustainable.
Sell Your House or Move To A Cheaper Apartment
Although you may not want to downsize your living arrangements if you want to learn how to retire with little money you have to consider your finances.
Taking the steps to move to a smaller home or apartment may free up equity in your home which allows you disposable income that you may need.
While you are downsizing it’s important to get rid of stuff you no longer have use for by selling it or donating it.
Food Budget With Little Money
Your food budget will change as you age because you won’t be cooking the big meals you used to all the time.
Perhaps during the holidays if you have friends and family over you may see a spike in your grocery budget but for the most part, simple meals are ideal.
Keeping a food budget and continually using coupons, coupon apps and shopping the deals, price-matching and collecting rewards points all lend to grocery savings.
Chop Budget Expenses
Go through each budget category with a fine-tooth comb and think about what you can remove or reduce.
For example, if you have a home phone and a cell phone consider which one you can do without. You don’t need both.
Ideally, you will want to have a bare-bones budget that fits your income but with room for entertainment and spending if applicable.
Not all retiring seniors have room to save or spend money on things they want to do.
My mother-in-law can no longer afford to buy new things apart from undergarments so we take her to secondhand shops around town to buy clothes, shoes and anything else needed for daily living.
There’s nothing wrong with being frugal and we do this now in our 40’s and save lots of money but for some people, it’s about surviving.
You may not want to give up driving but the costs of maintaining a vehicle in Canada is costly.
Once you sell your vehicle, cancel insurance it will reduce your budget quite a bit.
You won’t have to pay for maintenance on your vehicle and hopefully will earn back a bit of money from the sale.
Public transportation whether it be the city bus, taxi or seniors transportation services in Ontario will all be cost-effective options for seniors.
Tax Credits And Benefits For Seniors With Little Money
As we’ve been learning more about what tax credits and benefits are available to low-income seniors we’ve been exposed to what many retirees don’t know about.
It’s one of those things where if you don’t do your research you probably won’t be told about these programs.
These are just a few of the benefits that low-income seniors may apply for if they qualify.
- Apply for government programs such as the Ontario Electricity Support Program to help reduce your monthly bill.
- Apply for the Provincial Land Tax Deferral Program for Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Persons with Disabilities.
- Apply for the Ontario Drug Benefit Program
- Apply for the Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments for seniors
- Apply for the Ontario’s Soldiers’ Aid Commission
- Apply to get help with high prescription drug costs through the Trillium Drug Program
- Apply for the Ontario Drug Benefits Program
- Apply for the Ontario Seniors’ Public Transit Tax Credit
- Apply for the Home and Vehicle Modification Program is only available in Ontario
Related: How Not To Retire Poor In Canada
Discussion: What are some concerns you have about retiring with little money?
CBB Posts You May Have Missed
These are the blog posts I’ve written the past two weeks that you can catch up on if you’ve missed them.
If you don’t already please subscribe to the blog and you will get my posts to come straight to your email.
- 5 Steps To Improve Financial Stability – Our June 2019 Net Worth Update
- How To Write A Powerful Complaint Letter (Sample Letter)
- Easy Sugar-Free Mulberry Jam (Keto)
- How To Effectively Deal With Personal Financial Turmoil – Our June 2019 Budget Update
- Efficient Tips And Tricks To Make You An Expert Traveller
Mr CBB’s Motivational Corner
Frugal Recipe Find
Emily over at Resolution Eats has this amazing Snickers Brownie recipe that is sugar-free, gluten-free, low-carb and keto-friendly.
As you all know I’m a brownie nerd and since going Keto with my wife I’ve been testing out new brownie recipes for the blog.
What I’ve noticed is that we all use the same keto pantry essentials but in different measurements and techniques.
I’m not a huge fan of Lily’s chocolate chips as we use Krisda because we like the taste better. You can find them at almost all Loblaws stores with a health food section.
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 – 1 cup Confectioner’s Swerve or equivalent powdered sweetener, as desired*
- 11 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature**
- 3/4 cup superfine almond flour
- 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Swerve or equivalent granulated sweetener
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup Lily’s Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips or equivalent sugar-free chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon Confectioner’s Swerve or equivalent powdered sweetener
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
Garage Sale Finds
If you have deals you’d like to share from your garage sale outings this Summer email me your photo and tell us what you found and how much it cost to be featured.
- Boys 13/14 Roots sweater $2
- Set of 4 containers $1
- Boys PJ’s, crocs sandals, 6 items of girls clothing (for a cousin) $7 (asking was $9)
Home and Blog Update
The last week and a half while waiting for bathroom reno supplies to be delivered we did some preserving in the kitchen.
We had a tonne of organic garlic that we needed to mince and jar for the freezer before we lost it.
That was a huge task as it’s tedious trying to clean garlic as many of you know.
It’s all done now and we ended up with about 8 mason jars of garlic that we pack with extra virgin olive oil and freeze.
A trip to the berry farm yielded some amazing strawberries which we turned into sugar-free strawberry jam for us keto folk.
Our little guy wanted to make cookies for his friends so we baked up a strawberry chocolate cookie with white chocolate drizzle. The kids loved them.
My wife and I also make some keto kimchi which we let ferment for 5 days on the counter and it’s SO GOOD with just about anything we eat.
During a freezer dive, we pulled out a bag of cauliflower rice and made a batch of our Keto cheesy cauliflower hashbrowns.
Lastly, we have a tree with berries that we know are edible but aren’t sure what they are called.
Maybe you do? It’s the second last photo above.
All recipes mentioned above are coming to the blog soon so watch out for them!
Bathroom Renovation Update
So far, the tub has been installed and now I’m waiting for the toilet and fixtures to arrive.
I’ll be heading out this week to pick up some drywall and lights so I can get back to work on it.
I’m hoping to get this done by the end of the month or early August so I can move on to home reno number 2, the other bathroom.
I’ve been updating old posts on CBB so they look a bit better and read better as some of them are a bit outdated.
Other than that my designer Sara has been working behind the scenes making small changes that you won’t necessarily see but will impact blog performance.
Shortly the Free Resources will be password protected for subscribers only something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
That’s all for now everyone.
Chat to you in a couple of weeks.
Favourite Blog Read
Douglas at The Art Of Frugal Living makes a good point when he says, “Whatever your dream vacation is, “go for it.” You deserve it. You also owe it to yourself plan it well.”
I also believe that we should live our dreams and explore but to do so we need to budget before we finance.
So many people find themselves in consumer debt situations because they put exploring before saving. It’s not worth the headache.
So, yes do go on holidays but plan it properly and start crossing off your bucket list.
Read the full article here.
Saturday Search Term Giggles
Every week I get tens of thousands of people who visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.
Yes, I can see your search terms and sometimes they are funny.
If you see the acronym (SIC) next to a word that means I’ve copied the text exactly as it was typed in Google and it has spelling errors
- It’s called a bap– I don’t know why but this made me laugh. I suppose I envisioned someone saying this to me, “It’s called a BAP, not a BUN. Read this.
- How to avoid weed in a back garden– Haha, don’t plant weed and it won’t grow. Oh, you mean, ‘weeds’. Read this.
- Is shopping at Cosco cheaper?– You mean COSTco. Maybe, it depends on what cheaper means to you. Read this.
- Planning last Momute garage sale– Now, that’s some fancy typing. Honestly, I’ve just let it go to see what Google brings back sometimes. It works, but it’s still funny.
That’s all for this week friends, see you again in 2 weeks for the next Saturday Weekend Review!