IT professional


Kanata, Ont.



I’ve been investing:

Since 1982

I plan to retire:

Ideally, in three years

Investable assets:

$915,000 ($610K in RRSPs, $250K in gold and silver bullion, $55K in silver and gold stocks) plus primary residence valued at approximately $425,000

I’ve had an advisor for:

15 years

In and out of stocks

My biggest financial regret has been investing in the stock market, generally speaking. I started investing in stocks in 1982, when I was 22 years old and you still had to call up your stockbroker and place an order by phone. I bought stocks based on recommendations from friends and family—which my broker occasionally kiboshed. I made money on some companies (Mitel) and lost it on others (Dome Petroleum), but overall I ended up losing more than I made. I currently own shares in four companies in the gold and silver industry, which I bought about 15 years ago on a line of credit. They’ve been up and down over the years, but I’m currently underwater in all of them.

Brotherly advice

I’ve been in the IT industry for 38 years. When my original firm changed hands, I moved over to the newly formed company and took the commuted value of my pension, roughly $230,000. My brother had recently started working as a CFP, and he helped me to invest the money in a LIRA (locked-in retirement account). I’ve been working with him ever since, but I’m usually the one making the investment decisions—good or bad. Sometimes he slaps me back into reality.

My investment style is aggressive—probably too aggressive. My retirement savings are invested in about 70% higher-risk oil and gas funds and about 30% in growth and income funds. My brother helps to temper that aggression, moving me into lower-risk options.

Freedom 60-something

My retirement plan used to be Freedom 55. Now, ideally, it’ll be Freedom 60, contingent on the value of my portfolio. And that will depend on the prices of oil and gas, and gold and silver. If I can pay off my line of credit and earn a modest return on my investments, I’d likely liquidate and retire; probably take a part-time job to keep myself busy.

Otherwise, I’m truly blessed to be working in IT and making a six-figure salary, so I guess I’d keep working. There’s always the possibility that I could get laid off with a sizable severance package. That would be fantastic.

Susan Goldberg is a financial journalist based in Thunder Bay, Ont.