In previous posts I have described how I started working at a major bank when my husband had a serious work place accident.  This “temporary” job lasted for almost twenty-five years.

I won’t get into the reasons why I left but will continue the story from there.

Starting Our Own Business

Because of his health, my husband had trouble sticking with any type of employment.  We decided to go into business for ourselves mainly so he would have some useful occupation but also because we liked the thought of having the freedom to make our own decisions.

Related: How To Prepare Yourself Financially Before You Start A Business

With dreams of future financial independence, we started a little retail store and threw all our efforts into making this work.  Unfortunately, the economy was not the greatest and expenses were very high.

We struggled along for three years, using up almost all our savings and making the terrible mistake of financing the business with our many credit cards.

Eventually we gave up and closed the store.  We sold as much of the stock as we could at liquidation prices and donated the rest to the charity shops.

With no money and over $100,000 in credit card debt, we sank to our lowest point of despair.

Starting Over Again

I managed to get a line of credit secured by our house to pay off all the credit cards and the lower monthly payments eased our situation somewhat.

I started working a few evenings a week in a big-box retail store and got up at 3 a.m. every morning to deliver newspapers to get some money coming in.

Related: What I Learned From Working Retail

I then took a merchandising position at the store.  It was still part-time with no benefits, but more hours – 30 to 35 hours a week.

The pay was way less than I was earning at the bank, but more than I was getting up to then, so I was able to quit my newspaper gig.

The job was a lot different from what I had previously done, but I enjoyed it (most of the time) and got along well with my co-workers.

During this period my husband was convalescing from his second major heart surgery; my mother-in-law passed away and I (as her executor) handled all her affairs; my own parents ended up in the hospital on different occasions necessitating going to BC several times for weeks at a time, which resulted in the need to sell their house and move them into a seniors’ residence; our basement flooded; and our first grandchild was born (a happy occasion at an otherwise stressful time).

After I had worked there for over 6 years, the company was purchased by another business.  All the upper management changed and they proceeded to make changes to job descriptions and duties and reduce staff hours.

Related: Switching Careers Midlife – Is It Worth It?

I was not willing to make the required changes, so I quit.  (In fact, all but two of their long-term employees left within a three-month period.)

Early Retirement?

So here I was at 57, unemployed and – judging from the total lack of interest in my job searches – pretty much unemployable.  So I guess I’m basically retired.

My husband gets disability pay and I receive some blog income, but after more than a year our savings are rapidly depleting.  I don’t want to start working at a job that requires me to ask, “Do you want fries with that?” but it may come to that.

My parents want us to move to BC and I have been considering that.  The problem is with our house.  It’s admittedly too big for the two of us (5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms) but it needs major updating to get it ready for sale.

We could only pay for the home renovations with our HELOC.  This, together with the amount still remaining from our credit card consolidation, would really reduce our equity.

After house closing and moving costs are taken into consideration we could only afford to buy a small condo apartment.  What’s wrong with that?  It’s not really what I want, but it still bears thinking about.

My only significant asset is my RRSP.  I have been considering converting it to a RRIF, but is it too soon?  My worries are:

  1. Will it deplete too fast? (My dad tells me I have at least 30 more good years in me.)
  2. I earn about $600 a month in dividends, which I have always reinvested and I don’t want to lose this income by selling the shares.

I tend to be impulsive and overly optimistic, but in this case I need to step back and really consider my options carefully.  If I make a mistake I won’t be able to bounce back again easily.

Related: Create A Retirement Income Plan

The only thing I know for sure is that I don’t intend to move in with my parents.


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