Welcome To My Blog


I’m so happy to welcome you to my blog and my website. I hope you enjoy my posts and I hope you will comment when you want. This blog will be all about my new book Retire Fit, Fit & Fit.

I plan to post something new each week, so check back frequently and let me know your thoughts on what I’m posting. You can make comments by clicking on the title of each post.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and lengthy retirement.


Conversations Worth Having

The other day at my Rotary meeting our guest speaker was a representative from Advance Care Planning http://acpww.ca/

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 http://acpww.ca/

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: http://howardpell.ca 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.

KidsAbility Donation

It is official, the numbers are in and all accounted for and I’m very happy to say that thanks to great sales at the book launch last Monday evening we are donating $150.00 to KidsAbility (http://www.kidsability.ca/) in gratitude for all of your support.

And while I have your attention, allow me to thank everyone again who helped out to make it a very successful evening, and to all those who attended.

This is what retirement’s all about, following your dreams and enjoying life.

What a night! Retire Fit, Fit & Fit is successfully launched. When I started this journey almost 2 years ago, I could never have imagined last night.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out for my book launch. Your support and kind words just filled me up so much I may never feel empty again. What a wonderful feeling to see so many of my friends chatting and enjoying the company of others.

No matter where my book goes from here, best seller or remainder bin, last night was the highlight. I truly hope you enjoy reading it and you find it to be useful in preparing for your retirement.

A special thanks to everyone who pitched in to help last night: Anne, Pat, Fred, Brenda, Ted, Diana and Dalin. You all made the evening so much easier for us to enjoy – Thanks.

A very special thanks to Rose. I could never have done this without you!

What Will I Do With My Retirement?

Recently, I was talking with two close friends, Mork and Mindy (not their real names in case you’re wondering) who have set their retirement dates for later this year. They’re both excited and oh-so-ready to stop working and start playing. But they haven’t quite figured out what their new life will look like.

Mork, who has been a super Type-A for all of his life, knows he will sort out what he’ll do once he retires. He feels he has lots of time for figuring out what he’ll do in his retirement once the time comes and, quite frankly, he still has lots to do to finish up his work life. I’m sure he will succeed as he has always been internally driven to set and meet his self-imposed goals.

Mindy thinks she wants to be busy, but like Mork, hasn’t defined what she’ll focus on once she stops working.  The trouble is, while she is fairly motivated when given a task or goal, she isn’t the Type-A that Mork is. That is, left to her own devices, she sometimes finds that she has frittered away an entire day watching TV or playing a computer game. Not that there is anything wrong with these pastimes on occasion but soon, very soon, she will have 40+ hours a week that she has to fill with something. I think she is a bit overwhelmed by all the choice and the fact that her retirement has become all too real.

So yes, they are both financially fit as well as physically fit. However, in my opinion neither has planned for their emotional fitness. I have no doubt that Mork will decide on something to do and will throw all his energy into it – he has the habits and the drive to do so; but, how many Morks do you know? I know just a few. Most of the people I know are Mindys and for this particular Mindy, I’m concerned that she has left her Emotional Fitness a bit too late.  Her days might become very, very long once her initial “Yay, I’m not working!” euphoria wears off.

They both recognize that they’ll no longer have goals and commitments set by others (their boss, clients or co-workers) and in this new stage of life, they will be in control of their choices and their goals. But they will need to be driven by their internal interests and needs to make sure they have a reason and purpose in their lives.

If you’re getting close to your retirement date, are you ready to be the driver of your daily life? If you’re one of those Type-A’s who have always been internally driven then taking control of your personal life is a natural step. If though, you’ve been best at responding to goals set by others, then you’re now entering a stage where those daily and yearly plans need to come from yourself. Start your planning now, to give meaning and purpose to your life during your retirement years.

Happy Anniversary to ME!

Happy Anniversary to ME!

Today is the second anniversary of my retirement. Two years ago was the first day of my retirement and my wife and I got into my Miata, put the top down (even though it was cool and damp, just like today) and headed South. Well not too far South. We got all the way to Port Dover and had a great Perch lunch and then headed West. All the way to Port Burwell where we were stunned to see a submarine on dry land. http://www.enjoyontario.ca/museum-of-naval-history/ We had a great tour of the sub and then on to Port Stanley where we found a great B&B for the night. What a wonderful way to start my retirement. And best of all, the trip was part of the plan (the sub was a bonus) – yes we both love Port Dover and had planned a little road trip as my retirement kick-off.

Looking back over two years I’m very satisfied with how my retirement plans are unfolding. I envisioned a retirement with lots of travel, community service and time with friends and family. We’ve done some local travel, travel to B.C., and a Mexico and two Spain trips. I’ve created a number of videos promoting Rotary and am working on a couple more right now. We’ve spent a lot of time with friends and family. There were a couple of surprises and for the most part they were small; however, the big surprise for me, and most people who know me, is that I’ve written a book. I expect the final proof from the printer this week and then it is ready for sale. In case I haven’t mentioned it to you, or you haven’t visited my web site, my book is Retire Fit, Fit & Fit: Become Financially, Physically and Emotionally Fit.

I know you are probably planning for the financial aspect of your retirement, but are you also planning for the physical and emotional aspects? Read more about my book on my website howardpell.ca.

So! What are you going to do on the first day of your retirement? The first month and the first year?

Saving For Your Future

Dear 20-, 30- and 40-somethings reading this.

In my soon-to-be-released book Retire Fit, Fit & Fit I talk about the benefit of starting to save for your future when you’re young. I know what you’re thinking; there’s tons of time before I retire, I’ll figure it out by then. However, “Then” will come much sooner than you think.

When I was just out of high school and bouncing from job to job and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I got caught by an unexpected (to me) layoff. It was then that one of my soon-to-be-ex co-workers who was considerably older than me gave me some startling advice. He said:

You should always keep about a month’s salary in the bank for when you are between jobs.

Biff! Pow! Holy bank account Batman, I had never heard this before, and all of a sudden it made infinite sense. But somehow it also dawned on me: Why stop at a month’s salary? Why not 2 months or 12 months? It was some years later that I heard this next incentive (as if I really needed one by then):

The rich plan for three generations; the poor plan for Saturday night.

I just love this quote, attributed to Gloria Steinem. Go on, read it again, it’s worth it.

Then today I read this article by Neal Gabler in The Atlantic. It is rather lengthy but worth your time. The most startling revelation for me is that 47% of Americans couldn’t cover a $400 emergency expense without borrowing or selling something. I have no data but I suspect that, more or less, the same could be said for Canadians. Which brings me to the last quote for this blog entry:

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

From David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

If you are in the same position as these 47% and need to reduce your spending and increase your saving (for your retirement, your children’s education, or just for a $400 emergency), may I suggest you take these quotes to heart and seek advice on how to change your financial future.