My Biggest Purchase Was Not A House

in Pensions

The epiphany about my biggest purchase only hit me a while ago when I was chatting some co-workers and the topic was purchasing houses. Yes, I bought my house last century, so the price was not nearly as high as the prices are these days, but my biggest cash outlay was about 33% more than what I paid for my house.

Biggest Purchase

Now THAT is a big purchase

Just to be clear the biggest purchase was not a house, nor a holiday home (i.e. cottage) or anything like that (and no it was not a car or vehicle), and here is a final hint, it was not something I purchased a little at a time either (although you are heading in the right direction).

If you guessed it has something to do with retirement, you are correct, but I have not put that much money into my RRSP (nor do I have an RRSP that is that large (anymore)).

When I left Nortel I was lucky enough to have been at Nortel long enough, that my pension was actually worth a large amount of money, and thanks to my wife and Michael James I luckily removed my money from the Nortel Pension before Nortel declared bankruptcy. This left me with a very large Locked in Retirement Account (LIRA) and a smaller RRSP, which I then was able to buy into the Federal Civil Service Pension.  When I bought into the pension I paid for all of the pension (with no Government payment into it at all) for the period that I was allowed to transfer from Nortel (it is a program called Pension Buy Back).

This means that even though I have a federal pension, I paid for most of it (or more precisely, my defined benefit pension from Nortel paid for it), and this was my biggest purchase (ever).

The interesting part of the story is that the only reason I was allowed to buy into the Government pension was that I had:

  1. Started working for the government within 2 years of leaving Nortel
  2. Nortel’s pension is an “accredited pension plan” that the Government allows for transfer of funds and time from and into the Government Employees Pension plan.

I was very lucky that I qualified for part (1) of that statement (i.e. joined government within 2 years after being Laid off from Nortel), so again I fall bass ackwards into a good decision.



  • Tawcan October 6, 2015, 1:00 PM

    Definitely a good move back then. 🙂

  • Peter October 6, 2015, 10:32 AM

    Smart and now you’re lucky too! Who knew? Good buy – I call it winning the lottery. Can’t beat a GOC pension and hey you earned it. Enjoy the future it’s coming!

    • bigcajunman October 6, 2015, 10:41 AM

      The future is tomorrow, I hear, luckily tomorrow never comes 🙂


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: