Wanting to retire but have debt?

I have eight years until I would like to retire, but I still have a lot of debt. I know I probably don’t have enough saved and I’m worried about the future. Any suggestions?

Sincerely,

Mark XXXX (Wanting to Retire!)

Dear Wanting to Retire!

Most of us, regardless of need, want to become wealthier. There is great comfort in knowing that there is money in the bank in case of an emergency.

The lack of pension plans and long-term resources for future retirement, along with current high debt loads, can paralyze some Canadians in their 40s and 50s. It becomes a slow burning anxiety that continues to grow into an all-out fire of fear as the years creep closer and closer to retirement. Bottom line, you must live within your means to save more and spend less.

Having said that, you cannot defer happiness until you are retired. Create a budget to monitor daily and monthly cash flow and look for ways to trim down your lifestyle. Sometimes all it takes to start saving is some simple changes to be less wasteful with our expenses.

Mark, if you are not making enough money every month, and go to credit to subsidize your lifestyle, then you must make a change. There are only two options. Downsize your expenses or earn more income. Don’t underestimate your potential. It is said that the fastest way for you to create more wealth is to believe in your ability to earn more. Sometimes investing in yourself, going back to school or learning something new to earn more income is a more secure investment than any mutual fund or stock-market portfolio.

Most importantly, write down a plan for the future. What do you want? How do you want to live? Building and protecting your capital along with a vision of where you want to go, helps you insulate yourself against any hardships and creates more certainty for a comfortable future.

Good luck and best wishes,

Money Lady

This column is written by Christine Ibbotson, author of How to Retire Debt Free and Wealthy. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram. Those with a money question can e-mail on the Web site: www.askthemoneylady.ca.