A Friday Chat About Retirement and Cheese

Photo credit: Brian Boucheron, CC BY 2.0.

NICOLE: Happy Friday!

RH&C: Happy Friday! T.G.I.F.

NICOLE: INDEED. I’m participating in a fundraising event with my tutoring center this weekend, so that should be fun. What about you?

RH&C: I’m actually working this weekend. Alas!

NICOLE: Alack!

RH&C: It’s rainy, snowy, and generally miserable here so at least work is warm and dry. Trying to put a positive spin on things.

NICOLE: It’s… only rainy here.

RH&C: Yeah we had our first snow storm of the season yesterday … suffice to say, nobody was prepared.

NICOLE: Ugh. Snow is the best but it can also be the worst. On the subject of positive spins and/or preparedness, you told me you were interested in discussing two things: retirement and cheese.

RH&C: Yes! I’ve actually been thinking about cheese all day in preparation for this chat/in the normal course of things. It’s very expensive here. I just came across a 700 g block of cheddar cheese ON SALE for $12. I don’t know how cheese is measured in the states so that number may not mean much to you though.

NICOLE: I was just doing the math. I buy cheese in 16 oz blocks, which is 454 grams and each block costs between $5 and $6, depending on whether there’s a sale. Of course, I like to buy Tillamook and not store-brand. I spent many years of my life buying store-brand cheese. Now I don’t want to unless I have to.

RH&C: I’m still on the store-brand program. So 16/24 = 2/3 which is about $8. It’s probably not a very good comparison. Damn our different systems of measurement!

NICOLE: Ha! They’re not that different. I could guess that my name brand cheese costs the same as your store-brand cheese, so you are paying more for cheese.

RH&C: That sounds about right! Maybe someday I’ll graduate to name brand. In retirement perhaps.

NICOLE: There are so many names out there, too!

RH&C: I know! Our big dairy provider went through a big cow-abusing scandal two years ago so… where to even go from there. I could make cheese out of cucumber slices like that raw vegan guy

NICOLE: You could make zoodles and cueese! Cuceese? How do you say cucumber cheese?

RH&C: Cuceese sounds right to me. I don’t think I’m spiritually awakened enough yet.

NICOLE: So retirement, then. What’s on your mind?


NICOLE: Canadian retirement is not like Canadian healthcare.

RH&C: No, although having some healthcare covered probably does make retirement much easier! There are a couple different retirement “vehicles” in Canada, so you have your Canadian Pension Plan which gets withdrawn from your pay. Then you have your Registered Retirement Savings Plan which you can contribute to and gets deducted from your income tax. And I think the current darling of Canadian retirement savings is tax free savings accounts which are nice and simple. They don’t get taxed. And you can invest that money, not just put it into a low-interest savings account.

NICOLE: Those sound kind of like IRAs. Is every savings account tax-free, or do you have to apply for them specially? Can you only put in a certain amount of money every year?

RH&C: Yeah they are similar! It’s a special savings account, not all savings accounts are tax-free. With an annual max of about $5,500 (it changes every year but that’s what it is right now) so currently a total max of $52,000.

NICOLE: That does sound very much like an IRA!

RH&C: I’m just learning about this stuff now because I’m determined to start doing the whole retirement saving thing. I just got licensed at work and a raise along with that so it seems like the time.

NICOLE: Well, I hope it all goes well.

RH&C: I feel that the Canadian commenters will have much to say about it all.

NICOLE: YES, I am sure they will. And with that, I also hope you have a good weekend—even at work!

RH&C: Thanks! You too! Have fun at your fundraising events!

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