Retirement Speech

It was a battle but I finally finished up the retirement speech. 891 words. Roughly 7 minutes.

The corporate retirement reception is tomorrow afternoon at 2pm. It will run for an hour and I get to bring it home at the very end.

I will post the speech tomorrow after the reception. You can let me know if it made any sense at all.

Technically I will have two more days at work after the retirement reception tomorrow. I’ll clean out what little is left of my belongings on the Thursday. I have a luncheon with the CEO on Friday and then time to celebrate this transition with my family. They have a set of events planned for me this week-end. Regardless of those plans, I am just thrilled to be with my wife, my children and my grandchildren for the week-end.

Lorraine and I will then head out on a Norwegian cruise. I expect the posts will be very limited over those two weeks as we will be either on a ship with limited Internet access or spending our days touring Norway.

The big transition to retirement is almost here. When I provided my notice last October it seemed like it was so far away.

Three more sleeps.

I will wake up the same person though.

Just without a job!

Retirement Cards

The retirement cards were delivered today. The folks at Moo did an amazing job with our order and such a wonderful unboxing experience.

We ordered the cards on 32 pt Mohawk Superfine stock. Beautifully textured. We added a blue seam colour that matches the blue sky of the picture of our coach.

I have redacted our telephone numbers on the pictures below. We love email through the Internet. Direct calls? Well, let’s say we love them only if we hand out a card directly.

Friends that we had made at Hearthside Grove last year gave us this idea to carry retirement cards — thanks Gary and Suzan. We now have our very own cards to hand out.

Another way we hope to keep in touch with the people we will meet on our travels.

 

Before And After

Happy Canada Day!

A blast from the past. Literally. Just six months ago, we were freezing in Kingston. The weather was colder than the North Pole.

And now, we are warmer than Miami:

43 Celsius means that the temperature feels like 109 Fahrenheit. That is really, really hot.

An RVer told me that one of the most important things that he learned while traveling in his coach was to follow the weather. Avoid the extremes in heat and cold.

For the past 61 years, I’ve lived in a country of extreme weather patterns. I have found the past few winters to be much harder now that I am older.

Although Canadians are not as overtly patriotic as some other nations, I am very blessed to live in such a wonderful country.

As great a country as Canada may be, we still plan on escaping the harsh winters. In just four months, we will begin our travels through the southern U.S. in our motor coach.

Luxury Taxes on RVs

Preserving capital is a rallying cry when thinking about our retirement years. We’ve done well but the shift into retirement means a bit more focus on the expense side.

I’m not concerned about the expenses we can control. I am more concerned about the expenses that we do not control. And most of those expenses are influenced by government either in the form of taxes or monetary policy.

With monetary policy, the Bank of Canada loves to devalue the Canadian currency when the economy is bumpy although some pundits like to draw a close linkage between the value of CAD and the price of oil.

With the recent battle over trade with the U.S., CAD has fallen.

Since February, CAD has gone from a high of .82 against the USD to a low of .75.

With various fees, it means that $1,000 CAD gets us about 715 USD. We lose about 28 percent due to currency valuation compared to parity. Thankfully, costs and taxes are somewhat lower in the U.S. however, whenever CAD falls below about .88, we pay a premium.

We will be paying more in real terms for our trip south. Those currency expenses I cannot control.

I came across this article in Australia. The Queensland government is putting a two-percent tax on vehicles worth more than $100,000 and weighing less than 4.5 tonnes. This impacts people who might want to purchase mid-range motorhomes in retirement.

In British Columbia, Canada, we have such a luxury tax on vehicles. Being Canadians, though, we like bigger taxes then those issued by the Queensland government. We get them to kick in at a lower price — $55k is a luxury car in British Columbia — and make them really bite when the price of the vehicle gets up there. $125k will net an 8% luxury tax. $150k will net a 13% luxury tax. Ouch!

From the British Columbia government:

Luxury surtax applies to passenger vehicles when the value for tax exceeds:

$55,000 to $55,999.99 — 7% PST plus 1% Luxury tax
$56,000 to $56,999.99 — 7% PST plus 2% Luxury tax
$57,000 to $124,999.99 — 7% PST plus 3% Luxury tax
$125,000 to $149,999.99 — 7% PST plus 8% Luxury tax (effective April 1, 2018)
$150,000 and over — 7% PST plus 13% Luxury Tax (effective April 1, 2018)

Reading the tax material further, I find that seniors wishing to purchase an RV in retirement in British Columbia will not be impacted by this luxury surtax:

For tax purposes, a passenger vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle designed primarily as a means of transport for individuals. For example, trucks and vans larger than three-quarter ton, camperized vans, motor homes, buses and motorcycles with engines of 250 cc or less are not passenger vehicles.

In Ontario, the province where I live, the NDP party, running on a platform that included high taxes, wanted to introduce a similar vehicle luxury tax to British Columbia. They did not indicate a percentage, only that, if elected, they would put a surcharge on all vehicles over $100,000. I suspect that all vehicles would also include RVs.

Fortunately, the NDP was not elected. Voters in Ontario were tired of 15 plus years of tax and spend government.

Taxes. Another expense that I cannot control.

Taxes and monetary policy will, no doubt, continue to impact our finances during our retirement years.

A 13% luxury tax on our motorcoach would have been a significant financial challenge. Bad enough that we had to battle with the dealer on hedging our currency risk — we had our coach custom built and CAD was volatile during the 9 months from when we placed our order until we received our motorhome.

We were able to fix the price on order as opposed to on delivery.

CAD did fall further during that time so we wound up not losing money due to currency fluctuation.

Talking About Retirement

Retirement is coming up soon. A little over a month now and I will be retired, whatever being retired means.

To some of my friends, it is shocking that I would retire. To some of my friends, it is even more shocking that we would head out in a motorcoach for months on end in retirement.

As news of my retirement went out to my company, I received lots of congratulations and pretty much the same two questions: 1) What are your plans? and 2) What will you do next?

To me, once the financial planning is done, the tougher part of getting ready for retirement is dealing with the following questions:

  • How much structure will I need in my day-to-day life to feel comfortable?
  • How important is it that I be validated for what I do in retirement?
  • How important is it that I be paid?
  • Is there something that I am sufficiently passionate about that I would be willing to invest significant time and energy in it in retirement? If so, what steps do I need to take to make this a reality? What obstacles should I anticipate?

I’ve thought through these questions and I do not have answers for all of them. Frankly, I’ve had so much structure and so many demands on my time over the years that I really want to have a bit of a break from it all and not commit to anything too soon.

Although feeling mostly excited about our future, I do have days where I am frightened about the change.

A bit of a roller coaster ride for sure especially as the last few weeks at work are at hand.