Take it from an expert

Bob Chown

Take it from an expert: Bob Chown

What can you expect from life after retirement? To find out, we spoke to Bob Chown about his retirement experience, his pension and life in Vancouver.

Bob retired in the early 1990s. Lives in Vancouver, BC.

What advice do you have for people who have just retired?

When you retire, look way back over your teaching years and write down all the good things and not-so-good things you experienced during your career. Study that list for a time, then get rid of it! Next, start your to-do list. Write down all your wishes for the future, no matter how fanciful or crazy they may seem! Pencil the practical ideas into a calendar—you can always change your mind later. Retire with excitement and happiness.

When did you retire and what was your career?

I retired at age 55 in the early 1990s. I was a teacher for 27 years. I’ve now been retired for 28 years—longer than I was teaching!

How did you prepare for retirement and how far in advance did you start planning?

Before I retired, British Columbia Teachers’ Federation had a program where retired people would travel around the province telling teachers what to expect during retirement. I took that program; it was very useful. I’ve always been a forward looker, and I am to this day. I always plan my future. I used to do it in years; now I do it in months.

Did you return to paid work after retiring?

I became a realtor for about 20 years after retirement. Real estate had always interested me so I took courses before I retired and started selling during retirement. I enjoyed the challenge of serving clients. I rode my motorcycle around and took pictures of houses. It was fun!

Is retirement what you expected it to be?

I make it what I expected it to be. I manage my money well. As soon as I got my first pension cheque, I wrote to the plan to request they deduct more tax from my pension. I have deliberately overpaid my taxes this way every year since I retired 28 years ago. Each spring I get a big tax return—a nice “go crazy fund.” I’m having a great time.

What does an average day look like for you now?

I love to ride my Piaggio scooter. It keeps my brain sharp. I practise riding at the UBC campus. Tuesday nights I play jazz— it’s a wonderful opportunity to jam and meet people. Singing and playing instruments lifts me up.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m planning to ride my scooter to 70 Mile House and stay at a ranch. I’m really looking forward to it. And I’m very tempted to ride through the beautiful wilderness along the highways from Vancouver to Bella Coola.

Man cooking in kitchen

News for retired members

Are you in the loop? Check out Pension Life for COLA news, the trustee message and useful resources.

Read Pension Life