Take it from an expert
Take it from an expert: Rex Go
What can you expect from life after retirement? To find out, we spoke to Rex Go about his retirement experience, his pension and life in Vancouver.
Rex retired in 2016. Lives in Vancouver, BC.
When did you retire and what was your career?
I officially retired in 2016 at age 55. My workplace was being restructured and they wanted me to relocate. I still wanted to work, but I didn’t want to leave Vancouver—so I retired.
My career took me back and forth between the federal and provincial governments. I worked for just about every regulatory agency, from immigration to gaming, developing regulations and investigating outstanding debts from individuals.
How did you prepare for retirement and how far in advance did you start planning?
When my workplace announced plans to downsize, I took retirement planning seminars hosted by the pension plan. I was already in pretty good shape. I had a TFSA and RRSPs, as well as federal and provincial pensions. Everything lined up well.
Was there any emotional impact from leaving the workforce?
Yes. I lost my network of colleagues and my daily routine. During my career, I was fortunate to have travelled. I went north and south all over the province for work with the provincial government. I miss that, but now I’ve got new routines and I travel internationally.
Is retirement what you expected it to be?
No. Initially we fixed up our home, did a lot of travel and went on cruises—then the pandemic hit. We had to re-evaluate a lot of things. So, it’s not what I expected, but I always like a challenge.
What does an average day look like for you now?
When you’re working you want to sleep. Now, in retirement, I automatically wake up around 7:00, sometimes 8:00. I have coffee while I catch up on the news. Two or three times a week I meet with my former colleagues or people in the sporting industry. I’m pretty out there in the community still.
Did you return to paid work after retiring?
I’ve owned and managed a business for 30 years that runs volleyball programs. Up until five years ago, I played competitively. I thought about selling the business, but I’m glad I decided to stick with it. When I work with younger people, I feel younger and happier. I also picked up a side gig as a background performer for TV shows and movies. I landed a smaller acting role recently. During my career, I was usually in a two-piece suit and tie, and now I get to dress up in costumes!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
My advice would be to set new life goals sooner rather than later. Join some volunteer organizations. Spend quality time with family and friends. Take care of your mental and physical health. I hate the word retirement. It seems so finite. I’m enjoying life still!