Posted by Sheryl on December 28, 2011
This is a guest post from Sheryl (a.k.a Cdn Gwen) in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.
So in the past few months, I’ve worked on changing my thinking, finding motivation , learned not to talk about the idea of early retirement to most of the people I know, and generally changing my life for the better. I was paying attention to the things I could immediately gain control of, and educating myself about the next steps (investing).
I would really like to go back to my 35 year old self, slap myself upside the noggin, and tell myself to smarten up. Yes, my finances were an organized mess back then , we lived well above our means, I’m paying the price now, and I’m ok with that, not happy, but I know I have to clean up the mess I made. I just found one very sore spot though.
In my divorce agreement, an amount of RRSP’s were transferred to me as equalization for the (small) equity we had in the marital home. Other than ensuring the mutual funds were in my name, and the correct amount at the time, I have ignored them since then (Nov 2009).
Although I understand the general picture when it comes to mutual funds and MER’s, I would not consider myself as knowledgeable in the details as I feel I should be, but I know enough that if a fund’s MER is 5.67% , that fund has to make a very good return for that to be worth while.
These are labor sponsored funds purchased through the ex’s employer. We “bought in” to get the additional savings on our income tax at the time, without doing any homework on what we were buying (not that we knew what to look for at the time either). These funds need to be kept for 8 years , otherwise I have to pay the income tax back that I “saved”. Last year at tax time, I found I owed money, and my advisor suggested I “roll” the matured funds back into the fund to get the tax credit again. Dumb move on my part.
So that brings me to now. Knowing that these funds were purchased throughout the year, and that I should have a years worth of funds that I can allocate somewhere that hopefully has a return, I contacted my “advisor” to start making the change, only to find that the funds are frozen for redemption.
So, that puts me back to where I started, controlling the things I can, but being very wary of what else is out there. I got burned, but I have learned my lesson. I only hope that these funds don’t go down any more in value than what they already have.
Ok, I’m done ranting. Thanks for listening and please don’t repeat my mistake.