April 20, 2016 7:38 pm

Surviving the Slump: how to retire without debt

WATCH ABOVE: The Credit Counselling Society in Calgary has several tips to help people planning for retirement deal with their debts. Credit counsellor Mark Kalinowski joined Global News Wednesday with some advice for retirees.

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Retiring debt-free is becoming something of a pipe-dream for many Canadians. Many people these days are retiring with heavy debt loads, and those who aren’t are working through their retirement in order to support themselves and their families.

While the recession plays a factor in the financial situation of many Canadians, people of a retiring age may be contending with health issues or the loss of partner or spouse’s income. In addition, retirees may be supporting adult children and grandchildren living at home.

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READ MORE: Want to retire at 65? Here’s how much you need to save

At a time when 35 per cent of Canadians struggle to pay their monthly bills, the Credit Counselling Society in Calgary has several tips to help people planning for retirement deal with their debts. Credit counsellor Mark Kalinowski joined Global News Wednesday with some advice for retirees.

Triage finances

In the same way that hospitals triage patients based on medical needs, take stock of your current debts and prioritize in which order they should be paid off. Make sure to take stock of your current income in order to properly plan your payments.

Plan ahead

For those planning for retirement, it’s important to “create a realistic plan to ensure that they are free of debt before their first day of retirement.” Base the plan on current income, assets, debts and how much time can be allotted to the plan.

READ MORE: How to make a budget

Make changes

Adjust your living arrangements by downsizing to a smaller home, or even getting a roommate. When it comes to commuting, think about your vehicles: do you really need two, or can you get by with one? Consider carpooling or even using transit. Take advantage of the free entertainment in the city—use the public library instead of buying books, DVDs or CDs. Look for free or cheap events in your area. And if you’re thinking of going to the Calgary Stampede, why not take advantage of the value days?

Bills, bills, bills

When it comes to living expenses like groceries and bills, be sure to pay attention to sales happening at your local grocery. Make sure to take advantage of them, as well as any coupons you come across. Try to make utility and tax bills easier to manage by signing up for level rate plans.

READ MORE: Debt vs. RRSP: What should Canadians put their money towards?

Family matters

Instead of putting on a big production for Sunday dinner with the family, consider hosting a potluck, or even let other family members host on occasion. If you are living with adult children or grandchildren who aren’t contributing financially, perhaps it’s time to consider having a talk with them about your situation.

READ MORE: How to write an effective cover letter and mistakes to avoid

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