TIMEWISE: Member Profile

A CSS retirement story: Dave Kapeluck

May 24, 2022


Above: Several retired CSS staff attended the all-staff event on March 21, 2022. From left to right: Mike Paynter (former Manager, Member Services), Bill Turnbull (former General Manager), Dave Kapeluck (former Manager, Member Services and Manager, Special Projects), Fiona May (former Retirement and Pension Advisor), and Eldon Braun (former Manager, Investments). Larry Williams (former General Manager) was also in attendance but is not pictured.


After devoting 34 years to his career and helping members of Co-operative Superannuation Society (CSS) Pension Plan, Dave Kapeluck, former Member Services Manager, has been phasing his way into retirement. He officially retired on April 20, 2022.


After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1984 majoring in Finance, Dave set out to find a job. Post graduation, he started selling photocopiers then worked at the Bank of Montreal in Prince Albert and Humboldt. With hopes of moving back to his home city of Saskatoon one day, Dave continued his search for a position that was more suited for him and his education. After a few years of being away, he found his way back and discovered the job he was looking for at CSS.


Dave started at CSS on May 2, 1988. He was hired as an Information Officer and was the sixth employee to join the small and mighty team at the time.


“I remember my first annual meeting, where the total assets were around $500 million. Now we are over $5 billion in assets and grown to over 25 staff members since I started,” he recalls. “It didn’t take me long to realize, this could be a really great place to work. Everyone is on the same team, because the Plan members’ and staff goals align.”


In his earlier days at CSS, part of Dave’s job was to travel, meet with members and present information sessions to help them understand their pension plan.


"The markets are going to go up and the markets are going to go down. You don’t fix or repair your ship in the middle of a storm. You wait for the markets to calm down before you make any decisions or changes."



“I have stayed at many interesting places when I travelled for work. I think the farthest I have gone was Dawson Creek, BC. I would present general information sessions, sometimes in local Co-op cafeterias and credit union board rooms during their after-work hours,” he chuckles.


When asked what some of his greatest successes and accomplishments were during his career, Dave says it was often the simple moments that left an impression.


“There is not really any one thing that stands out, but more of little things or little moments that mean more to me. For instance, after I would be done presenting a workshop, the Plan members would thank me for helping them understand their pension plan,” he recalls.


“It is more the member stories and journeys that are more accomplishing to me than any project. So many great relationships have been created throughout the years. I’ve kept in touch with many Plan members even after they have retired, so much so, that I’ve even exchanged personal phone numbers with a few.”


After being in the pension industry for over 30 years, Dave has created not only great relationships with staff and Plan members but has become a reputable source to answer many members' questions and to help them navigate their way through retirement.



Above: Dave accepts a retirement gift from CSS staff at the 2022 all-staff event held in March.


“You don’t have to know the answer to every question. You just have to know where to find the answer,” Dave quotes Albert Einstein. “At CSS we deal with many different members and situations. I don’t always know the answer, but it’s important to know where to find it.”


For members that are not ready to retire – Dave says it’s important to stay the course with your investments.


“The markets are going to go up and the markets are going to go down. You don’t fix or repair your ship in the middle of a storm. You wait for the markets to calm down before you make any decisions or changes. It’s important to ride it out,” he says. For those closer to retirement, he suggests beginning the planning process early.


“You have to have a plan or an idea a few years before you want to retire,” he says. “Think about which retirement income option you are going to go with. Will it be the CSS monthly pension or the Variable Benefit (VB) payment option, or an option offered by your credit union or bank? Because that is going to determine how you reconfigure your pension investments leading up to retirement.


“If you are considering the monthly pension option, you might want to gradually shift your investments into the Money Market Fund a few years leading up to the start of your retirement, so that you are not subject to a possible decrease in the market just before you start your pension.”


When it came to Dave’s own retirement journey, he says “I followed my own advice.”


“If you are going to choose the VB payment option, which is what I am doing, you want to have a couple years' of withdrawals in a spending reserve while the rest remains invested. I will pull from my Money Market Fund spending reserve, replenish when the markets are good and sell high,” he says.


Back in May of 2021, Dave started a phased retirement (a retirement option CSS offers).


“I want to say a special thank you to Martin McInnis, Executive Director, who supported me in choosing phased retirement this last year. It helped me transition easily and I was able to assist in the transition with my replacement, Tami Dove, and clean up a few things before I fully retired,” he says.


In retirement, Dave and his wife (newly retired as well) will be spending a lot more time at their four-season cabin in Candle Lake, Saskatchewan - their home away from home. With plenty of activities to keep them busy, including snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter to boating, kayaking and fishing in the summer.


They also plan to visit family in Ontario this spring. Then in July 2023, they plan to embark on a six-week journey exploring western Canada and travelling to Alaska along the Alaska Highway.


“It’s been a gratifying career at CSS and to serve our members. I have met lots of amazing people and went to many places that I wouldn’t have otherwise been to. It’s been very rewarding to hear from members and be thanked for my help. It shows that what we are doing is valued,” he says.


CSS will miss Dave’s witty dad jokes and humour, but most importantly his knowledge and expertise in the pension industry.


Thank you for your contributions and dedication to the pension plan and its members. Wishing you all the best Dave!


Article from the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of TimeWise.

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