Attend a retirement party

Two women with drinks celebrating

Elaine on the right with her sister Lynn-Marie (also retired!) at her retirement celebration

I’ve attended a lot of retirement parties lately. Several years ago, my company announced a change to retiree benefits, and I think many of my friends and colleagues just decided it was time to go.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the retirement celebration of my BFF at work, Elaine Peterson. You may recall Elaine, since she’s been a subject of blog posts like Show your spirit, You Can’t Buy Happiness, but You Can Buy Chocolate and Play Hookey for the Day.

While some people like to quietly slip out, Elaine helped plan an entire week of retirement festivities with lunches, dinners, and an after-work fete at a local bar. Today, I’m taking her to Handel’s Messiah for her retirement present.

On Friday, I celebrated the upcoming retirement of my friend Beatrice, who told us that Empire Life was the longest place she ever worked. She stayed because she liked the people she was working with so much and the work was always interesting and challenging.

There are so many reasons why these celebrations are so special.

I enjoy hearing the incredible stories and contributions my colleagues have made to their organizations, often over the course of decades.

I love seeing the smiles and laughter around the room and how genuinely happy everyone is for the person retiring.

I like seeing former colleagues who made the leap years ago who came to honour the newest recruit to their ranks. Without fail, they look ten years younger and say they are busier than ever.

But most of all I love the warmth and family feel of these gatherings. Like it or not, work is a huge part of our lives. The people we work with become our family. And when one of our members leaves us to embrace a new, exciting chapter in their life, we celebrate with them.

This week’s #HappyAct is to attend a retirement or honour the work contributions of a special colleague. And to all my friends who have made the leap into retirement or are making the leap this year, I am so happy for you. Enjoy, and don’t look back!

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Take the Financial Weight Loss Challenge

Piggy bank with workout headbandMost people spend more time planning their next vacation than planning their finances. I’m passionate about travel, but I’m equally as passionate about taking control of your finances.

This was instilled into me long before I started working in the financial services industry. I remember my Dad saving his quarters, dimes and nickels in piles of jars on his dresser to pay for our family vacation each year.

Since then, I’ve lived by a few simple money mantras: live within your means, pay yourself first, buy insurance to take care of your loved ones. But just like everybody else, I know there are other things I should be doing to improve my financial health.

That’s why I was so excited when we came up with the idea at work to promote the launch of our new social media channels and Financial Literacy Month with a Financial Weight Loss Challenge.

The idea is simple. Think about the one thing you know you should do about your finances that you’ve been putting off and take action in the month of November. We recently met with our financial advisor to increase our savings for the kids’ education and our retirement, but there’s two other things on my list: finishing a spreadsheet of all our policies and switching cell phone providers (anyone with any tips on this one, let me know!)

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you peace of mind.

This week’s #HappyAct is to take the #FinancialWeightLoss challenge. Take action this month to take control of your finances and lose the weight of whatever financial decision is weighing you down. Challenge your friends and family members by sharing the Financial Weight Loss challenge post on the Empire Life Facebook page (and like us while you’re there). We’re also running a contest where you can win either a $100 VISA gift card or iPad mini. Be sure to share what one action you are going to take.