Retirement planning is easier in small chunks

Thousands of Canadians crossed a milestone off their bucket lists on May 6, the day of the Bank of Montreal Vancouver Marathon.

If you want to interrogate a slew of goal-setting maestros, there’s no better place. Take a masseuse down to the finish line, promise massages (on your dime) and you’ll soon have a weary line of runners to question about setting marathon markers.

But ask these same people how much money they’ll need for their retirement and most will give you a gaunt stare.  And that’s a shame, because running a marathon and planning for financial independence require the same skill set…

Read Andrew’s article at

Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School and Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas. My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions.

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5 Responses

  1. Barry says:

    Isn't there a big marathon coming up in Singapore Andrew?

    I've just started the Global Corporate Challenge (gettheworldmoving) the first few days I travelled as normal, achiveing only half the daily goal, however the goal is 10,000 steps a day. Not achieveing these steps in the first few days meant a few extra sessions yesterday and additional effort to get 21,000 steps to bring up my average steps to 10,100 steps…playing catch up means additional effort ;o)

    There are goals within the challenge along the way including beating your personal best, completing a marathon distance over 4 days, 100,000 steps in a week, Ironman equivelant

    Lots of monitoring of your daily steps and goal setting milestones along the way…just as per your above

    • I think there was a marathon here recently Barry. It started at midnight. Too hot for me to run 26 miles over here.

      Good luck with your goal setting. Did you eventually catch up?

      • Barry says:

        Hi Andrew

        Yes caught up, even pulled the mountain bike out of mothballs and installed a trip meter on it and have clocked up some k's there also. I also walk to the gym now rather than drive and take a long walk back home, I'm up at 04:30 and at the gym by 05:00

        Looking forward to some of the upcoming challenges within the GCC as well as the GFC

        The recent market turmoil has seen me add to some individual stocks again. As per my previous post within your site a call to Vanguard regarding thier funds was not the experience I expected and the lack of help bewildering; the road to indexing maybe a little longer whilst I work out the easiest way to purchase/structure the funds within a self managed superannuation fund

  2. Mick Higgins says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Interesting article (as is your book and Mr. Bortolotti's Couch Potato Guide, and now reading Bogle's Common Sense Investing). So why am I still in mutaul funds? Well, my ADVISER says that with about ten years to go before I want to retire should I be dipping my toe in the water now? What if the market goes south? Sure, he says, if you've got 30 years to invest do the indexing. But ten? I believe the market will outperform mutual funds in the long-term. But what's a long-term?


  3. Hi Mick,

    If you invest in the same asset classes, you have roughly a 60% chance of outperforming an actively managed portfolio after one year with a portfolio of indexes. Each year, those odds improve even further.

    Don't forget the key concepts of what this all means and how this all works. When the market makes a certain percentage (any market) it means that this was the return of the actively managed money within that market before fees, considering that professionally managed money make up the bulk of the assets in any given market. Then subtract fees.

    Your advisor, sadly, has a conflict of interest. Does this make sense? After reading my book, and Dan's book, you probably know more about how this works than your advisor does.



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