The Globe and Mail – By Diane Maley

Burt and Betty seem to be in an enviable position work-wise – she is a self-employed yoga teacher, while he earns a six-figure salary in education.

Yet they can hardly wait to throw off the shackles. He’s thinking of changing jobs, casting his teacher’s pension to the wind. She wants to close up shop by the time she is 55.

Betty is 47, Burt is 49. They have two children, 15 and 17.

Their goals: to retire sooner rather than later, and to help the children pay for their schooling. Short-term, they need a new car and some work done on their house in suburban Toronto. Longer term, they wonder whether they can make the desired changes and still maintain the same lifestyle. They like to travel with the children and pay for it using their Air Miles reward miles.

On top of his salary, Burt brings in a little extra money consulting, which could lead to a new job. But the salary and benefits are unknown. Burt’s current pension and benefits would be “impossible to replicate with a non-governmental employer,” Betty writes in an e-mail. Would it be “financially disastrous” if he quit his job? she asks.

Betty likes her work, but is finding it increasingly taxing physically. “If I quit at 55, before the mortgage is paid out, can we afford our present lifestyle?” she wonders.

We asked Ian Black, a fee-only financial planner at Macdonald Shymko & Co. Ltd. in Vancouver, to look at Burt and Betty’s situation. Click here to read the rest of the article.

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