Laid off at 53, former oil industry manager wonders if seven-figure savings will sustain 40-year retirement

Situation: Former exec worries seven-figure savings may not be enough for forty years without work

Solution: With spending cuts, teens off to university in a couple of years, savings should be sufficient

A couple we’ll call Charles and Agnes, both 53, live in Alberta. Recently laid off from his job managing industrial product sales in the petroleum industry, he survives on savings. Formerly, while employed, he brought home $7,900 per month after tax. Agnes continues to do part-time clerical work for which she is paid $1,200 per month. Their three mid-teens children live with them.

Their dilemma, like that of many people who have seen their prospects dimmed by troubles in the energy industry, is financial survival. They have financial assets of about $1.37 million (not including educational savings) to tide them over, but at their age, they cannot access early Canada Pension Plan benefits for another seven years. Agnes’ part time work doesn’t support their $8,743 monthly allocations.

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“Do I need to go back to work after my EI benefits run out?” Charles asks. “Or can I retire and still be reasonably confident that our money and future government benefits will be enough?”

Family Finance asked Eliott Einarson, a financial planner with Exponent Investment Management Inc. in Ottawa, to work with Charles and Agnes.

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