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What is Your Vision of Retirement?


Today on Worth-it-Wednesday, please welcome Kassandra from More Than Just Money today. We are doing a guest post swap ’cause it’s just fun to mix it up once in a while.  Kassandra is talking about my favourite topic and one that is near and dear to many early FI planners. 

vision-retirementI started earning my own money at the age of 14 when I worked a paper route for the Montreal Gazette. I would wake up every week-day at 4 a.m., zip on my snowsuit and brave the minus 25°C winter mornings to throw neatly place over 100 papers on people’s doorsteps.

Then I’d rush back home to shower, change, eat breakfast and head back out to take the bus for school. I did this because my mom wouldn’t pay for a Nintendo gaming system because she didn’t agree with my argument that it was a need. I bought the Nintendo in short order but a few months in, I gave up the fledgling newspaper career and began a new hustle babysitting for several neighbours. Fast forward 20+ years, a career change and several side hustles later, I am a self-employed EDI consultant and creating a second stream of income as a blogger and freelance writer.

While I was always focused on making money, and spending a lot of it especially during my twenties, I never stopped to consider what I wanted out of retirement.


I knew that it was important to save money for my future. I was smart enough to contribute the minimum required in order to get the company match. Sometimes I surprised myself whenever I deposited part of any income tax refunds into my RRSP account. But back then I was only focused on the here and now when it came to my finances.

So What Changed?

It was a series of events that happened in the past five years. First I realized that I was crushing any hopes of a decent retirement and a comfortable daily existence by having $55K worth of consumer debt hanging around my neck. I got rid of that beast in 3 ½ years.

I had also been reading a lot of personal finance books and sites and some suggested that I needed 70% or more of my pre-retirement salary in order to reasonably retire. When I ran the numbers I about fainted because that was not about to happen with the way I was spending money. Within that previous sentence lay the answer to my problem: the way I was spending money.

Only with time and conscious effort did I adopt a lifestyle of less is more. Along with reducing expenses and increases in income, my husband and I now save and invest a little over 50% of our combined income.

Financial Independence

I learned through reading sites like JL Collins, Mr. Money Mustache and Mad Fientist that financial independence isn’t a pipe dream! I didn’t need to save “70% of pre-retirement salary” in order to retire comfortably. If we already managed to live well on 50% of our income, save and invest the other half, meet all of our needs and with planning indulge in some wants, then we were already on the right track.

With a commitment to living on 50% of our income, and not confining ourselves to a typical retirement scenario, it sparked discussions about what retirement would mean for us.

  • We wanted to travel more frequently while we were still physically able and healthy.
  • If our young son has children of his own one day, we’d love to be able to spend as much time with our grandchildren as we wanted. This desire also extends to wanting to share memorable moments with our son more frequently.
  • Spending time with close friends, especially when they are in need of support during a difficult time. I also plan to spend more time volunteering.
  • Establishing long-term financial security. I had experienced years of living paycheque to paycheque and hated the stress it caused me. As children, both my husband and I saw first hand the effects of financial instability. We don’t want to feel the fear of not having enough ever again.
  • I wanted to work because I gained satisfaction from what I do, not primarily due to needing to earn an income.
  • I didn’t foresee myself ever not working, but having the choice to take extended breaks, be location independent, cut back my hours or not work at all without a negative financial consequence really appealed to me.
  • I wanted to enjoy today a level of flexibility and control in my work life that could extend into retirement. That’s one of the reasons why I transitioned from a salaried position to self-employment.

A Picture In The Frame

Having lived for 38 years, and working for over 22 years, for once I’m very excited about the future. Our financial independence is not too far around the corner as we’re aiming to reach FI before the age of 50. Yeah, I know, that sounds old given the fact that you hear some people claiming FI status at the age of 27!

Our journey with money didn’t start out with being financially astute at the age of 18. I made some big mistakes financially that set me back for years. My husband also struggled for a long time before he began to see success in his career and personal finances. Neither of us can erase the past but we did learn from our shortcomings.

So many tell ourselves that we need to save for retirement, but throw money into our retirement plans without any sense of direction and hope for the best. You need to get real. You need to run the numbers and figure out the answers to standard retirement questions such as:

  • How much do you need every year to live on?
  • When do you want to retire?
  • How much should you contribute to your 401K and a Roth IRA or RRSP vs TFSA?
  • What type of investments should you opt for based on cost, tolerance and length of market exposure?

This all goes without saying. But your reasons for retirement should be the driving force of every investment decision you make.

I often say when it comes to decision making “You need to first know your why”. Retirement should have a picture in the frame. It’s something you should want to dream about and come up with things to do that will put a smile on your face. So tell me, what is your vision of retirement?

About the Author:

vision-of-retirementKassandra Dasent is a self-employed wife and step-mom striving to live life beyond what money can buy. She blogs at More Than Just Money and shares on Twitter about a variety of topics and personal experiences that all intersect with money.

To read my post Mentors I Admired please mosey over to Kassandra’s blog.


P.S.  I did the ALS ice bucket challenge last night.  Nothing else to do since we cut the cable cord. ;-)  j/k

This post is linked on

and on Friday Jet Fuel #8


Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

85 thoughts on “What is Your Vision of Retirement?

  1. 50 years might sound old, but that’s still way before 95% of the general population will be able to retire. And who knows you’ll have a windfall or two and reach FI before that age?

    I loved your story about the Nintendo! I did the same thing – except it was mowing lawns. When I finally did have the money saved to buy one my parents told me “no, you already have a PC”. At that time I was furious, but now I’m happy knowing that the lawn mowing money is still in my savings account somewhere.

    My vision of retirement is to live like a college student again, which is not surprising because I only recently left that life behind. Fun stuff all day, every day! And some projects to help the community and meet people on the side. Maybe even some local politics.
    No More Waffles recently posted…British American Tobacco (BATS) Stock Analysis: Fairly Valued Dividend PowerhouseMy Profile

  2. “Along with reducing expenses and increases in income, my husband and I now save and invest a little over 50% of our combined income.” That’s great! It’s also great to hear that you paid off so much consumer debt. It’s inspiring to hear about others who have been able to clear out debt and save a significant portion of their income. I hope to do the same.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…Why It’s OK To Make Money MistakesMy Profile

  3. Kassandra, good for you guys!!! 50 approaches VERY quickly, and you guys are smart for having your plan in place and sticking too it. Great job! :-)
    Laurie @wellkeptwallet recently posted…24 Easy Ways to Save Money at HomeMy Profile

  4. I have a visionboard right above my desk to help me stay connected to my “why” each and everyday. There’s nothing more motivating than living the dream.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…Labor Day Savings: Throw a Budget BBQMy Profile

  5. Great ideas to think about! I’d obviously like to be debt-free, work at things I enjoy, and have the freedom and flexibility to spend as much time with our daughter as possible.
    Amy recently posted…We Are Not GazellesMy Profile

  6. I think age 50 is an awesome goal for financial independence! Most people in my parent’s generation couldn’t retire until 65 or are still working.

    Our goals are similar. We hope to reach FI as soon as possible but will probably keep working until our kids are through college.

  7. Great post Kassandra! My vision of retirement is similar to yours. I want to be able to travel more, spend quality time with friends and family. Be involved with some type of work that is meaningful. We are at the end of our debt repayment of $109k and plan to shift our focus on building wealth towards our retirement goals.
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…Budgeting: Birthday Gifts and PartiesMy Profile

  8. Nothing wrong with age 50 retirement. I am 27 right now and have been estimating between 46-50 for the time frame in which I can retire. I did actually do more of a hard calculation last night and found that at age 43 I may be financially independent, but there wouldn’t be extra money at that age for foreign travel. So who knows what I will do then, work a little longer to build a travel fund or just work part time and use all of that income earned for it? The thing is once you have financial resources built you have options. And clearing out all of my debt including mortgage before age 40 will also give me options if savings go better than expected.
    Kipp recently posted…The Layers of an Emergency FundMy Profile

  9. I think 50 sounds awesome! That’s what I’m aiming for as well. I might still work part time or contract/consult at that point, but if I’m FI by the point, I’d be so stoked! Plus, that gives me 22 years to really gun for it :)

    My parents retired earlier than average, but only by a few years. My Dad worked until 62 but didn’t have to after 50. He was just doing it because he loved it and wasn’t sure how to transition into not working. Now after two years of retirement he is back to consulting gigs here and there.
    Alicia recently posted…Transferring My Student LOC to a Credit CardMy Profile

  10. Great job, Kassandra!

    I love reading financial independence posts because I definitely hadn’t considered that until recently. I assumed I’d be working well into my 60’s, but now, I see life differently. I see retirement as being available to my teenagers (cause I think I can retire before they are out of the house), as traveling, as being able to concentrate on things like gardening and painting. I definitely don’t think I’d be bored!
    Kirsten recently posted…How My Fitness Side Hustle Is Shaping UpMy Profile

    • I get a sense of peace from your view of retirement Kirsten. What also motivated me to up the FI ante was seeing some of DH’s family members who are struggling financially in their older age and are forced to work to make ends meet…I want no part of that!

  11. Your investing is amazing here, Kassandra! I would love to save / invest 50% of my income. Right now that’s what my student loans are, so maybe after those are paid off, I’ll just live the same and use that money to invest.
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…Why You Should Be “On Fire” EverydayMy Profile

    • What you’re planning to do is exactly what I did once I paid off debt Natalie. I didn’t go crazy on the lifestyle inflation. Instead I re-directed my former debt payments towards first building a solid E-fund and then investments and savings for short and mid-term goals like buying a condo in a couple of years from now. You’re on the right track :)

  12. Like you Kassandra, I have worked since I was 14 and always just assumed that I would have to work hard until I was in my 70s. The last few years, though, I have shifted from a retirement viewpoint to a financial independence viewpoint, and it is so much more liberating. We have cut back our lifestyle tremendously and made enough changes that financial independence is much closer than we could have imagined. I can’t wait!
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Show Me the Money So I Can Ignore ItMy Profile

  13. Hi Kassandra!
    I am gunning for more than 100% of my salary in (early) retirement… because I will have the time to spend more money. That means that we have to save a LOT right now, in order to do that. Striking the balance between spending and enjoying life today and being able to retire sooner is a tricky one; one that I struggle with daily.
    Anne @ Money Propeller recently posted…3 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Money Before CollegeMy Profile

  14. I’m visiting you from Woman to Woman Wednesday.

    I don’t think 50 is old either! Thanks for sharing your perspective on retirement, both the why and something about how to get there.

  15. My goal is also to reach financial independence by 50. Right now I know I can retire comfortably at 62, but I’m working very hard to get that number down to at least 50.
    Aldo @ MDN recently posted…Ting Review – 3 MonthsMy Profile

  16. It’s awesome that you’re so smart about your savings and on track for early retirement! Honestly, I haven’t planned too much out, but that’s kind of what drives me towards it. I want to be able to set my own schedule, do what I want and when I want. Travel when the urge strikes, and not have to worry about the traffic, job security, or really, money. The freedom to read a book or go for a jog at noon on a random Tuesday is all the motivation I really need :)
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted…overcoming FOMOMy Profile

  17. Great strategies! Hubby is 64 and I’m 59. Sad to say, we never gave much thought to retirement planning in our younger years. Back then, the norm was to make your career with one company, then retire with a good pension. HA! Pipedream or what? We have been seriously investing for retirement the last couple of decades but lost a large chunk of that in the market downturn of 2009. That was also the year that hubby got laid off for a long stretch. He’s planning to work a couple of extra years to make up for that and I’m self-employed so will carry on as long as possible. Not quite what we envisioned as youngsters. Thankfully, we have already done a lot of travelling, but there’s still a few good trips left in us. :)
    Debbie recently posted…PROCRASTINATION! BLAME IT ON THE COMPUTERMy Profile

    • Debbie, You bring up a SOLID point about market downturns and other life events that decide to throw some vinegar into the honey of retirement. It definitely isn’t always roses but I’m glad you’re both in good enough health to continue working until your accounts are back up to a level of comfort.
      Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…Mentors I Admired (and Why)My Profile

  18. Fabulous that you’re investing 50% of your income! Retirement at 50 doesn’t seem old to me – I’m 51 and still in the debt repayment stage. 60% of Canadians retire in debt, but my husband and I are planning to go against the trend. I love the “picture in the frame” idea : )
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…Debt-Avoidance Strategy: Start Off PoorMy Profile

  19. The snow newspaper round is hardcore!!

    I stupidly don’t think enough about retirement. I had a bit of a think earlier this year and started a pension but as I am concentrating more on clearing debt I am only paying a token sum but I like to think something is better than nothing. At the moment clearing debt is my priority, I need to have a good hard think about retirement.

  20. The snow newspaper round is hardcore!!

    I stupidly don’t think enough about retirement. I had a bit of a think earlier this year and started a pension but as I am concentrating more on clearing debt I am only paying a token sum but I like to think something is better than nothing. At the moment clearing debt is my priority, I need to have a good hard think about retirement.
    Victoria @thefrugaltrial recently posted…Link Love – Women & FinancesMy Profile

    • I really wanted the Nintendo lol! You’re absolutely right in that a small pension contribution while paying down debt is something to feel good about. I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts on your retirement plans once you’ve solidified them.

  21. It sounds like you have the plan all figured out. I am a bit older than you and sadly cannot say the same. My industry died and with it my hopes of ever retiring. It looks like I get to work until the day I die.
    Brad @ How to Save Money recently posted…Save money by backing up your filesMy Profile

  22. My vision of retirement is the freedom of choice and happiness. It often includes waking up next to my beautiful wife to have a cup of coffee, walk the dog, and go for a bike ride and cook dinner. The visionary in me says golf with my Dad for a week and visiting my friend in Montana, both sound like good ideas, strike that great ideas.
    Even Steven recently posted…Guys with Beards are Secret Frugal MofosMy Profile

    • Steven, golf can be an expensive sport so start shopping around for used golf clubs or new ones on discount ;) but being able to play with your dad will be worth every game! I agree wholeheartedly about having the freedom to choose and be happy!

  23. Way to go and thanks for sharing. It’s hard to get somewhere without a plan. Usually we drift and hope to get somewhere but usually don’t accomplish as much as we should have and then just have regrets of not starting earlier. Every generation of my family has retired earlier than the prior one so I’m hoping to keep it up. We are well on the way but we want to enjoy the journey as well. We have a plan and want to enjoy life and our plan at the same time. So far so good!
    Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income recently posted…How to Be Rich and Happy and Free from Debt and Stress ForeverMy Profile

  24. I love your vision for retirement, and it’s very similar to my own. We haven’t calculated our FI date as I’m sure many things will change in the next five or so years. I’m just glad I found out it’s possible before we committed to a huge purchase, like a house. We have our student loans “setting us back” a little, but I prefer to save, so once that’s gone, the sky is the limit!

    Also, I totally begged my parents for a Nintendo when I was younger. I hope you got many hours of enjoyment after delivering newspapers and battling the cold!
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…How Do You “Get in the Zone” for Work?My Profile

  25. I played Zelda and Mario Bros. to death! As you said Erin, once you clear the student loan hurdle you’re in a whole new gear of saving possibilities. It’s possible our FI date my be earlier or later due to life events as you said, but at least we know it’s firmly within our grasp.
    Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…Mentors I Admired (and Why)My Profile

  26. You really worked hard at a very young age. With your experiences, you would surely achieve your FI. You are a couple of years earlier, mine I think over 60 before I reach my FI. So many things to do before that FI.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Investigating Peer to Peer Loans for Borrowers and InvestorsMy Profile

  27. Ice bucket challenge! lol. My wife and I never plan to retire, we will always be working, since we love our work, it will never really be like work. However, we do have retirement money invested to fall back on. To me, retirement is more about being able to do whatever you want, including the type of work you want. Great post!
    Kalen Bruce recently posted…What You Need to Know About ALS and The Ice Bucket ChallengeMy Profile

  28. You have a great story, Kassandra! I really enjoyed reading that–I feel like I know you better now :). My vision of retirement is similar to yours. Mostly, we hope for the ability to control our time as we wish and not be locked into 9-5 work schedules! Thanks for sharing this :)
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Why I’m Not Buying Any Clothes in 2014My Profile

    • Nice to see you and I’m glad I was able to convey some life snippets across well enough :) I like your thoughts about controlling time more to your liking. The 9-5 is not my cup of tea then again self-employment is not perfect for everyone. It just caters more to what I want and need at this point in my life.
      Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…Mentors I Admired (and Why)My Profile

  29. I appreciate these words and wish I had saved 50% of my income when I was making a nice one. :( I did put money in my 401K, but now I’m home with my kids and living on basically nothing, although my photography business is starting to pick up. I have definitely learned “less is more” and what was once important now is not and vice-a-versa. I just finished Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace” class through my church and it was a great jumpstart to saving and viewing savings in a new light. Thank you for these words and I’m glad to have this linked at my site today for other women to see! Blessings on your road to financial peace…xoxo, mb
    Meredith Bernard recently posted…It’s time to put on what we know fits. {Woman2Woman | Linkup}My Profile

    • Meredith, thank you for sharing with me in your comments. Life is rarely a straight line and the best plans can be sidetracked at times through no fault of our own. I am happy to hear that the DR course has positively helped you in your financial progress. By the way, I visited your site and I will be back :-)
      Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…Mentors I Admired (and Why)My Profile

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  31. I agree that there needs to be a picture in that frame so you can plan ahead as much as possible. We don’t know what will happen for sure in the future but if we start early financially and knowing the path we want to take it might make things a bit easier. I like writing out our future goals especially long-term because they always seem the hardest.
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted…Is there truth to less stress with financial freedom?My Profile

    • It does seem hard to figure out at times our long term goals but taking a moment to ponder and write them out is the way to go. As you alluded to Mr. CBB, we have no crystal ball when it comes to life, but as long as we make an effort to strengthen our financial position, it will make it easier to handle most of what may come our way.
      Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…Mentors I Admired (and Why)My Profile

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  33. Great article. My being a freak means I start off by saying throw out all of the definitions of retirement and concentrate on the goal of financial independence first and foremost. Having the financial freedom to pursue anything you are passionate about, even paid work is what I call retirement. Once you don’t have to do things but have the financial freedom to only do things you want to do is what my vision of retirement is. I was able to retire the first time at age 51 and again just recently at age 56. Keep doing what you are doing and you will be there sooner than you think.
    LeisureFreak Tommy recently posted…Retiring Early and Often is the best StrategyMy Profile

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  36. Many do “throw money into our retirement plans without any sense of direction.” It’s so important to know the lifestyle one wants to live. When most talk about retirement it’s almost always associated with an age. Save for your retirement which is basically the time in which you can’t work anymore. Why not save so you can retire today (almost always associated with get rich quick schemes unfortunately).
    Jason Vitug recently posted…To Buy, or Not to Buy… That is the QuestionMy Profile

  37. I can’t say I think about retirement all that often, because it’s so far off to me and who knows what will happen by then However, I know I will need to sustain myself in retirement so I am saving for it. I know I won’t want to give up my lifestyle so the plan is to have at least enough to cover what I make now.
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted…Building Your Investment Portfolio the Right WayMy Profile

  38. I would love to travel the world without have to budget for them. In reality, I would love to be debt free, own a home out right, and do the things that I really enjoy. It would be a perk if I got paid for it.

  39. It’s really amazing how little you can live on if you pay more attention to your expenses. I also list of things I would like to do when I retire so I know how much money I would need when the time comes — it does give a sense of direction. I think 50 doesn’t sound too old :) Good luck on your financial independence you’re certainly on the right track!
    Suburban Finance recently posted…4 Important Facts About the United States Federal ReserveMy Profile

  40. Lately I’m obsessed with saving for retirement, and I think it is because I am soon turning 40, and I don’t want to work for 25 more years. Having a hard time though, because my Partner is 10 years younger than me and not really on the same page. I should write a blog post about that, I guess.
    Karissa recently posted…Summer SpendingMy Profile

    • That dilemma would make for an interesting post Karissa! There are several variables in your situation that go beyond the financial such as your SO possibly resenting you if you retired earlier, or you resenting the SO because you’re retired by yourself etc…
      But I’m with you on not wanting to work the crazy amount of hours that I do now by the time I hit FI.
      Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…Epic PF Fail: I’m Making the NYPD Rich!My Profile

    • I was 40 with 2 teens and a tween when I decided I was going to retire early. I made a 10 year plan and luckily my wife was on-board. It took 11 years and a lot of “life-happens” between age 40 and 51 when I retired the first time but just doing something toward financial independence to get to early retirement starts a kind of momentum. It sure beats not doing anything. When I saw your comment Karrissa saying you were obsessed I just had to reply. You are exactly were I was except for one thing, and I think something you can also work out and that is getting your partner on-board because its much easier and enjoyable when we can share a passion. Good luck and stay obsessed. Its worth it.
      LeisureFreak Tommy recently posted…Financial Independence vs RetirementMy Profile

      • I’m obsessed now with getting to be debt free so I understand the phenomenon. Good thing the hubster is on board too! Thanks, Tommy!

    • That would make a really interesting blog post! Thanks for visiting and commenting, Karissa. :-)

  41. My vision of retirement is having less stress! Augh I have way too much stress working a lot of hours now. I also want to stay active and find more ways to give back. I hope to also still be writing in my retirement and living by the beach.
    Untemplater recently posted…Why Are So Many People Bad At Their Jobs?!My Profile

    • Stress is a serious killer without a doubt! Writing while living near the beach…I can picture myself doing this too – love it!

    • I feel the same way, Sydney. I’ve learned to try not to overwork at my job though, but it’s been many years of training. Starting to blog helped me because now I put my time into that. Even though I’m still working for free, technically, hopefully it will not always be that way and at a minimum, be that much more rewarding.

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  43. I think this is why I’ve been so frustrated with just “making it.” I’m not getting ahead like I want and retirement isn’t as far off for me as someone who is 23. I think once I start making decent income again this will be a priority above all else.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…What Up September?My Profile

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