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‘A lifetime of careful planning’ means couple with medical issues still on track for solid retirement

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This couple pays substantial management fees totalling 1.9 per cent, which is a lot for their level of assets.Illustration by Chloe Cushman/National Post files

Situation: Husband on disability for decades and recently retired wife worry retirement income isn’t adequate

Solution: Cut costs and lower investment management fees to build investment income

A couple we’ll call Steve, 58, and Marianne, 56, live in B.C. in a small town far from Vancouver and its soaring property prices. Both are retired — Steve, formerly an engineer, due to a devastating auto accident two decades ago that left him on disability; Marianne, formerly a health care professional, due to her own medical issues.

Steve gets $2,993 per month from his job’s disability insurance to 65 when it ends and adds CPP disability of $1,168 which will drop to a regular CPP cheque of about $1,000 per month at 65. Marianne has a $2,100 monthly job pension that drops to $1,100 at 65 when her CPP begins at $800 per month. Both will receive full Old Age Security benefits of $601 per month at 65. Present pension and disability income adds up to $6,261. They spend $7,488 per month, adjusting the gap with tax refunds for $6,000 annual spending on uninsured medical and drug costs and dividends from $340,000 of taxable investments. They want to sustain present spending throughout their retirement.

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Steve and Marianne, who are exceptional investors, keep very good records. Yet they fear that their present financial health is at the mercy of government pension and tax policies which could change to their disadvantage.

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