Five things I wish I knew before I retired

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This article was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated.

Most of us spend our whole careers working toward that one magical day—retirement. But even with all the time to prepare and the planning that goes into making it a reality, retirement can still be uncharted territory. And that’s okay.

We talked with five retired Atlantic Canadians and asked what they wish they had known before retirement, so you can be that much more prepared when you’re ready to leave the rat race behind.

“I wish I had known more about other ways to invest, apart from having a company pension. I worked at two different places during my career. I had a pension with the first company I worked for, but the company closed down early in my career. The second company I worked for didn’t have a pension plan. I had some savings, but I ended up retiring with a lot less money than was ideal.” – GB
“I wish I had known to expect the unexpected. I thought I had everything together—until I faced some health challenges that resulted in me retiring much earlier and with much less saved than planned.” – DN
“Early on, I wish I had been much more aggressive with building my savings. This would have helped me set aside more of a nest-egg for later on.” – JL
“I wish I had taken advantage of my work pension. I started working after my children were older to make a little extra income. My company had a pension plan, but I didn’t really understand how it worked and, at the time, I didn’t think I would keep working long enough to worry about it. My financial situation changed when my husband passed away. Fast forward 20 years and I’m retiring on a very limited income.” – YW
“I don’t think there was anything I wasn’t expecting, but for me, it was really important to sit down with a financial expert. I started saving for retirement early on in my career and continued to set money aside without tapping into those funds. I worked with a financial expert and made sure to check in with them, especially as I was getting closer to retiring. The planning process was really eye-opening and helped me consider some things that I might not have thought of otherwise.” – IM

Wondering when it’ll be your time to retire? Our Retirement Savings Calculator can help you figure out how much you need to save to retire comfortably.