Monday, June 16, 2008

How I Got What I Wanted, Sort Of

I had a dream of retiring to read, so I decided to build my own pension plan by investing in stocks. I developed a 30 year plan to retire at 60. This was the earliest I could see it happening. Life did not exactly work out the way I expected. Life never does. This is not a bad thing. Life just turns out differently then you expect. However, since the time I come up with my plan, I have just kept plugging away at building a suitable portfolio to finance retirement.

Just after I started my plan, the company I worked for was bought out, so I had to move on. This turn out not to be as difficult as I first thought. I got a bonus for staying around until the buyout finished and then got a job. I actually got a better job than I had had. I revised my plan to retire at 58.

Along the way to retirement, I got married and had a child. I got my new husband interested in investing and everything seemed to be fine. I was plugging away at my investments and found I was ahead of schedule.

Unfortunately, my husband died and I became a single mom. I could not afford to invest new money, but by that time, I calculated that with no new investments, it would only take one more year to get to retirement. I needed to keep my current investment money properly invested and try not to dip into them. It was tough; every penny I made went to my current living expenses. I revised my plan to retire at 58.

In 1994, I was working at Confederation Life when it went into receivership. I was lucky. I got a bonus for staying on to the end of the wind up process and then got a contract job with Maritime Life. Unfortunately, I had to go all the way from downtown (Bloor Street) to Yonge and Eglinton. Working for Confederation Life I had gotten used to walking to work. So, I changed jobs and started to work for Manulife on Bloor Street.

In 1999, I got laid off. I thought about another job, but decided against it. I had gotten the amount I had originally considered I needed for retirement. I had not taken into account inflation on expected income as much as I should have. However, if I had no job, my net income would not change, as my income tax would come down a lot. My dividend income from my investments would be tax much more lightly than any salary I would earn. I also was getting a small CPP widows pension. So things actually happen much quicker than I expected, as I was only 54.

Now that I am retired, I do do a lot of reading. However, I also get to go to Starbucks every day and I have done a lot of work on genealogy. I also now write this blog. I never thought I would get interested in genealogy. When I starting making my plans, there was no internet and there certainly was no blogs. History has always been my favorite subject to read and I have certainly enjoyed many a history book in the last few years.

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