After approximately 5,392 weeks of slacking, I’m back with another fantastic financial facelift from the ol’ Globe and Mail. You might remember the last one of these we did, over at Don’t Quit Your Day Job, where I made fun of two people with an obvious spending problem who wondered if they could afford to retire.

But that couple, which were worth a mere $2.1 million, have been upstaged. This week’s financial facelift features a couple who are literally swimming in cash, but naturally they worry about being about to meet their spending goals. So they wrote into a newspaper to help, and we’ve got all the lurid details.

Let’s do this thang.

As a partner in a large and successful firm, Elliott has earned good money throughout his working life. Now he’s preparing to leave his career behind and retire next fall. His wife, Eva, is no longer working.

Elliott is 59, Eva, 55. They have two grown children.

Their biggest fear, Elliott writes in an e-mail, is that the stock market will fall soon after Elliott quits working “and we run out of money.” 

You’ll soon understand that as far as biggest fears go, Elliott’s fear of running out of cash is realistically up there with other great fears like “being struck by lightning” and “suffocating while trying to get super close to passing out while having a incredibly intense orgasm.”

They’d like to leave their cottage to their children and pay any estate tax that would be due on it. Their annual spending goal is $120,000 after tax.


First, Mr. Calvert looks at their RRSPs, the foundation of their retirement income. They have a combined total of $1.56-million in RRSP accounts.

$1.56 million? But that’s not even close to eight figures. How will Elliott and Eva ever hope to survive? Will Tuesdays be dumpster diving day? Maybe!

Don’t worry, they have more than their RRSPs to draw from.

If they each withdrew $35,000 from their RRIFs, that plus the investment income from their non-registered portfolio would give them taxable income of about $50,000 each, the planner says.

I’m skipping a bit here, but what this really means is they can withdraw $35,000 each from their RRSPs annually, and $15,000 each from non-registered accounts so large they can afford $15,000/year withdrawals. We’re up to a mere $100,000 in total household income. Oh the humanity!

That’s until they both begin taking Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits at age 65,” he adds.

Another source of income? And from both of them? More than $1 million in RRSPs, substantial other assets, and CPP/OAS payments? God, these people are so screwed.

By the way, just how well are these people doing, anyway?

Assets: Stock portfolio $780,245; investments in holding companies $281,115; his TFSA $75,675; her TFSA $75,790; his RRSP $965,285; her RRSP $593,515; residence $550,000; cottage lot $350,000. Total: $3.67-million

“We are firmly in the 1%. How can we ever possibly afford to retire?!?!?!?!?!?!”

$3.67 million invested in dividend stocks paying a mere 3% yield comes to $110,000 each year in annual income, btw. No, I’m sorry. That’s a bad plan. They should write into a newspaper instead.

Liabilities: Home equity line of credit $100,000

I, uh, have questions. Why does this debt even exist?

If investing for dividends is the easy solution, then cutting down some of their overspending is solution 1a. Check out some of this stuff.

vehicle insurance $220; fuel $500; maintenance $375;

and then, a few items down:

 car loan $1,500

Yes, kids. That’s more than $2,500 per month these people are spending on their cars. How does one have a car new enough to need a massive loan payment but also need to spend $375/month on maintenance?

grocery store $1,200

For two people. Or maybe four, because they have two grown kids that are likely still shacking up in mom and dad’s basement.

vacation, travel $1,500

$18,000 per year in travel. I’m beginning to run out of snark and it’s just devolving to full-blown rage.

dining, drinks, entertainment $1,475

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s $2,675 each month for two people to eat. That’s $29.72 per meal, or about $90 per day. I’m going to venture out and say that if they tried, ol’ Elliott and Eva could bring that down just a smidge.

life insurance $550

How do two people with a net worth of $3.57 million need life insurance? That planner sold them a hefty life insurance plan, didn’t he?

Let’s wrap this sucker up

I loved every minute of this one. Whether it was the outlandish “spending goal”, the multiple streams of income, or the close to $4 million net worth, it was perfect in every way. I’m glad these people continue to write into newspapers for our ongoing mocking purposes.

Tell everyone, yo!