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April 05, 2021

How to live long and prosper

Living well in your later years has very little to do with money, maintains Toronto sociologist Lyndsay Green.

It's all about attitude and how you chose to spend your time.

In her new book, You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready?, she chronicles the lives of 40 Canadian retirees identified as role models for aging well. 

What do they have in common? They're as engaged as they were at work. They're searching for ways to enrich their lives by giving back and forging strong ties with those around them -- most of whom are significantly younger.

When people think about retirement, they often envision being surrounded by an ocean or a lake -- signs of tranquility and, often, isolation, Green says. This is the opposite of what most people need. They need vitality and energy around them. They need a sense of community. 

Instead of concentrating on TFSAs and RRSPs, Canadians need to spend more time cultivating what will become the most valuable part of their retirement plan: their emotional circle of friends, families and partners.

Her subjects maintain that aging has brought them many advantages. For example, their worries have been reduced and life has become more stress-free; they have more control over their time; they feel they no longer have to please others; and their life experience has given them a measure of authority.

For more on this topic, have a look at this panel discussion from TVO.

Do you know an older person who's living this type of vibrant retirement? 

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...