Conversations Worth Having

The other day at my Rotary meeting our guest speaker was a representative from Advance Care Planning

In my book I wrote about the importance of having a Power Of Attorney (POA) and I’m embarrassed to tell you that what I wrote was incomplete. Something I didn’t realize is that the laws governing POAs is controlled at the provincial level, so what Ontario law enforces may not be enforced by other provinces and vice versa. And by extension, foreign countries may have a completely different set of laws, or no laws at all. So disregard anything you see on TV when it comes to your health care, and educate yourself about your local laws; and, if you travel outside your province you must also educate yourself about the laws of the province or foreign country you’ll be travelling in. 

For example, Ontario’s POA law protects you from doctors who will make decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself (you are unconscious, in a coma, have had a stroke), other provinces and countries may not. The onus is on you to know the local laws.

Now for the really hard part. As the title of this post reads, you need to have The Conversation. It is not enough to appoint someone to be your POA, or for you to agree to be someone’s POA. You have to tell your POA what you want them to do if you cannot communicate for yourself. And if you are the POA for someone, you need to know what they want. This could be even harder than talking to your teenage daughter about the birds and the bees, but you must do it.

I met with my 88 year-old dad yesterday, and we had The Conversation, well, we tried to have it. It was a start, and we’ll try again later, but it was better than not having it at all.

I hope you never need to make these kinds of decisions for someone else, or have them made for you by someone else, but if you are ever in that situation, I hope you had that Conversation Worth Having.

If you live in Ontario, please go to Advance Care Planning

Enjoy Yourself (It’s later than you think.)

Enjoy Yourself (It’s later than you think)

The other night we went to a wedding and met up with some of my wife’s old school friends that we haven’t seen for quite some time. There was lots of reminiscing as well as some sad news. It seems that a few of their public and high school chums, or their spouses, have recently passed away. They were all about our age (late 50s to early 60s) and they died from a variety of causes.

This news gave us pause to consider our fortunate good-health and the fact that we really haven’t been to too many funerals lately. It also reminded me of the song Enjoy Yourself. This little ditty was recorded by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians when I was just 4 years old. Of course I heard it many times as Mom and Dad liked Guy Lombardo and had a number of his albums. And almost 60 years later, the message is still as relevant as it was then, even if the sexism isn’t.

You have to live for today, but you can’t ignore your future. And preparing for your future comes in three parts: Financial, Physical and Emotional as I’ve discussed in my book and on this blog.

The moral of this posting is that you better Enjoy Yourself right now because it really is later than you think. Do you doubt it? Try this little experiment. Now I know this may sound a bit grim or morbid, but read the obituaries in your local paper for a week making note of everyone listed who is your age or younger than you. After a week of this, do you still doubt?

But let me stress that while enjoying yourself today, you still need to plan for tomorrow because I hope you are one of the lucky ones who gets to attend many, many funerals, if you catch my drift.

Ready or not! Retirement here I come!

He thought he was ready, but after 9 months he realized retirement just wasn’t for him. 

A former work colleague of mine had been a self-employed consultant for many, many years, and when his latest contract finished last year, and with nothing on the horizon, he said to himself:

“Yes, now’s the time; After more than 20 years of travelling all over the world for my clients, it’s time to hang up my carry-on luggage and settle down and enjoy life.”   

That lasted for a few months then it struck him. During those intensely busy consulting years, he hadn’t developed any external interests or a social network in his hometown, and he was finding he just didn’t know what to do with his days or how to keep mentally stimulated.  Yes he was Financially and Physically Fit to retire but was he Emotionally Fit? Absolutely not. A possible solution for him came when a fellow contractor asked him to commit to a long-term gig in a town not far from his home, with an expected completion date at the end of 2017. So, my retired friend put his retirement on the shelf, as working was better than retirement.  

And then it happened. My wife and I were visiting him a couple of weeks ago and over dinner I gave him a copy of my book, Retire Fit, Fit & Fit. The very next day he emailed me to say that he spent most of the rest of the evening reading my book, and he loved it. The chapter on Emotionally Fit especially made him realize there are lots of things he could be doing and wanted to be doing other than working. He dusted off his bicycle and did a ride, he remembered how much he loved a specific sport in university, and realized that he really was ready to start recording the fascinating history of his family. He plans to work out the rest of his contract but then, look out world, he’s retired with a full and active life ahead of him.

His experience isn’t unusual. While many people may be ready to stop working and may be Financially Fit to do so, they haven’t yet determined “who” they will be and how they will motivate themselves. Ideally, you will plan in advance and get ready for this before retirement, but if not, be kind to yourself and use those first few months of retirement to recover from your work life and plan for the enjoyment of your retirement life.

Where were you on September 11th?

Where were you on September 11th?

Do you realize that this year it will have been 15 years since September 11th 2001?

Do you remember Time on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album?

“And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”

September 11th doesn’t seem like yesterday, but it doesn’t seem like 15 years either.

“Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.”

Now think of where you’ll be 15 years from today, the time since September 11th?

“Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.”

Or will you retire to a life of leisure, excited to be doing the things you always wanted to do?

Now is the time for you to get Fit, Fit & Fit – Financially, Physically & Emotionally so you don’t miss the starting gun to your retirement. My guess is that you have already started getting yourself financially fit by squirrelling away some money. Do you have similar plans to get yourself (or keep yourself) physically fit and emotionally fit? Will you allow me to “show you the way?” Check out my book here: and don’t forget …

“The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.”

Calling all Brits and Americans – Thinking of retiring to Canada?

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I’m troubled by the recent UK vote as well as the upcoming US vote. I’m sure there will be many people in the UK who are overjoyed with the recent results and the US with their upcoming results; however, I’m also sure there will be equally as many people who are deeply concerned with the outcomes. Concerned enough to consider emigrating to, what I believe to be, the best country in the world, Canada.

In many cases, the best thing those people can do is stay home and try to fix their country; however, I understand that that may seem like a huge, thankless, uphill battle. So if you are considering coming to Canada I may have something of interest to you. I just published a book that deals with retirement; and for the most part it deals with retirement from a Canadian’s perspective (mine). The main points of the book are that just being financially fit is not enough. You also need to be physically fit and emotionally fit as well to enjoy a healthy, satisfying retirement. And without all three fitnesses your retirement may not be everything you could hope for.

I didn’t write the book to specifically encourage people to move to Canada to retire; but, while the book concentrates on retirement issues, I approach things from a Canadian point of view. That is, I believe that while the advice given in the book is equally relevant for retirees in the UK and the US as it is in Canada, you will also get a bit of Canadian flavour with it that just might help you understand a bit more about Canada. So while you are doing your research about moving here, if you are in your 40s, 50s or 60s and considering retiring to Canada, you might want to grab a copy of my book by clicking this link.

Oh yes, if you do decide to move here, I live in Kitchener, Ontario and I’d be happy to show you around my city.