Getting ready to retire

February 06, 2015

Check out a typical journey our members take to reach a June retirement.

After 37 years as a French teacher with the Toronto District School Board, Vicki retired last summer along with more than 2,850 other teachers across Ontario.

Vicki always knew she wanted to be a teacher. Her mom and grandmother were both teachers and as a little girl, she recalls them always trying to help their students be the best they could be. Vicki brought this forward to her classroom, always encouraging her students to learn, to enjoy life and to appreciate the world they live in.

Picking the right time  

Naturally, Vicki first started thinking of retirement when she began seeing her peers retire. But Vicki wasn't ready at that time. She set a six-year goal for herself. Turning 60 seemed like a good time for her to retire. In the meantime, she still had all kinds of energy and passion for teaching and chose to focus on the many things she still wanted to do. 

"I didn't leave my retirement planning to the last minute. There were many things I needed to take care of in order to retire at age 60."

For years leading up to retirement, Vicki used the pension calculator offered on our secure member website to see what her pension would look like based on various retirement scenarios. She attended school board-organized retirement sessions to learn more about CPP, health insurance, and other things to think about when winding down your teaching career.

I didn't leave my retirement planning to the last minute. There were many things I needed to take care of in order to retire at age 60.

Vicki met with a financial advisor to ensure she had thought everything through from a financial and lifestyle perspective so she could live a comfortable life throughout her retirement years. She also involved her partner in all of her decisions related to retirement.

"Certainly your spouse needs to be part of the whole process because it affects both of you," adds Vicki. "If there's a change in how much money you have available to work with each year, how are you going to spend that money? And if you have big plans for travelling together with good resources, but perhaps not the same resources that you had before, you have to figure out how you're going to do all that. How are you going to balance it all?"

"Starting school when you're five and leaving when you're sixty, that's a long time. I was ready to retire and let other teachers step in."

Pension provides financial security 

There are so many things Vicki wants to do during retirement – from taking more trips to her cottage to be with her dad, to spending more time golfing, volunteering and travelling. And now that her retirement is in full swing, she is well on her way to doing all of these things.

"If you are sensible with how you spend and manage your money throughout your career, you shouldn't have to worry about your day-to-day life during retirement," Vicki continues. "For me, I didn't have any financial burdens to think about. All along I knew there was a pension plan in place, so I was never worried about finances."