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A weekly reality check on sensible investing and financial decision-making for Canadians. Hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore.

Jun 24, 2021

One of the major topics we hope to help our listeners with is retirement planning, and today we have a really informative and illuminating conversation with a true expert in the field, Don Ezra. His approach is typified by his focus on retirement and happiness, and their important intersection, subjects he has broached in his many published books, notably Life Two, and Happiness. Don is a self-professed financial nerd, so you know that he will fit right in on this podcast! His advice is relatable and easy to understand, a result of working on his own retirement along the way. Don is an actuary by trade and helped establish Russell Investments Canada in 1984, through which he worked on many huge pension funds across the world, endowing him with amazing expertise in the space. In our conversation, Don gives us such a wide-ranging view of his approach, and the amazing conglomeration of ideas he has amassed on the subject of better retirement, or as he likes to call it, graduation from full-time employment! He breaks things down in easy and catchy ways, giving us some fundamental questions that can help initially guide the retiree, around purpose, action, and money. From there he talks about the seven asset classes of your life's abundance portfolio, needs versus wants, and even finds a spot to comment on the strengths and weakness of the FIRE philosophy. So for all this and much more, join us on the Rational Reminder today! 


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Don's feelings around the time of his retirement from such a successful career! [0:02:10.4]
  • The common feeling of discombobulation around retirement and Don's thoughts on addressing it. [0:03:41.2]
  • Questions people should be asking and answering as they approach retirement. [0:06:45.8]
  • Safety, growth, longevity; the three things we need for our finances in retirement. [0:08:49.7]
  • Don explains the sequence of returns and some misconceptions about averages. [0:10:21.1]
  • Weighing the uncertainty of life expectancy against that of random stock returns. [0:12:24.8]
  • Better ways to calculate life expectancy for individuals and couples. [0:15:15.7]
  • Don's advice to the average person looking to build a diversified portfolio for retirement. [0:16:54.1]
  • How Don has approached his own portfolio and generating retirement income. [0:21:10.8]
  • The importance of flexibility and adjusting a retirement budget over time. [0:23:48.7]
  • When retirees should be seriously considering annuities. [0:25:52.1]
  • The dimension that inflation adds to these questions for people in retirement. [0:27:49.4]
  • Assumptions that Don uses for his life expectancy planning. [0:34:06.1]
  • Calculating what is needed against what you have; Don explains the personal funded ratio! [0:36:33.7]
  • Lessons that Don learned during his work with huge pension funds before retirement.[0:38:35.4]
  • The question of filling one's time in retirement; staying busy and maintaining purpose. [0:41:29.5]
  • Don breaks down the seven asset classes of your life's abundance portfolio. [0:45:22.1]
  • A look at the different parts of the FIRE movement and its success and failures. [0:48:38.5]
  • A few approaches to challenge below-average advice from any expert. [0:50:42.1]
  • Fostering healthy ambitions and dreams for the years of your retirement. [0:55:24.5]
  • Better conversations with family around money, inheritance, and financial planning. [0:57:21.2]
  • The emotional legacy that Don views as the success of his life! [1:01:16.8]