how to plan for retirement retired couple

Retirement Is Getting Closer

With five to ten years left before you plan to retire, it’s time to get serious. As an experienced Financial Planner in Kingston, Ontario, I can make a substantial improvement to what you would otherwise have available.

Effective planning today — including establishing tax shelters now for use at, or after, retirement — can dramatically increase what is available to you in retirement, in part by reducing the taxes you pay every year.

A formal retirement plan

Retirement should not be a DYI project — a spreadsheet can only tell you so much. How much do you need to save to give you the income in retirement that you would like? A customized financial plan will give you the answers that you’re looking for.

Most of us understand the benefits of sensible retirement planning, but when it comes to actually creating your personal retirement strategy and putting it into effect, it doesn’t feel quite as straightforward. The reality is that many of us are unsure how to plan for retirement because there are many, many variables to consider.

I can help you

Comprehensive retirement planning can be a game changer. Studies have shown that households using a Financial Planner have up to 273% of the assets at retirement that an otherwise identical household would have. In other words, most people will have nearly three times as much in retirement if they use a licensed professional to help them along the way.

Let’s consider the merits of a retirement plan. A basic retirement plan will aid you in the setting of clear goals for your retirement such as the age that you want to finish work and what you want your retirement to look like in terms of lifestyle. It will help you establish how much you need to save now to have a retirement that meets your objectives. This plan will allow you to choose your investment options wisely.

Determining how much you need to save is a common concern. This depends on a number of factors that are different for everyone:

  • Your age. Naturally, starting to save for retirement when you’re younger means that you need to save less money than if you start later in life.
  • Pensions and personal retirement savings plans.
  • Benefits available to you. There are a range of federal governmental benefits that you may be eligible for, such as the Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security.
  • Your lifestyle and spending habits. Your personal plans for your retirement will inevitably affect how much you need to save to fund it.

If you haven’t started saving for your retirement yet, or have less in your retirement savings plan than you would like, here are my top tips to accelerate your savings.

  • Make the most of RRSPs and TFSAs to reduce your tax and make your money grow faster.
  • Take advantage of any pensions or savings plans that your workplace offers as the contributions that your employer makes can add extra value to your fund.
  • Think about putting spare money into your retirement fund.
  • Look at your spending habits to identify opportunities to cut back and save more.

Taking steps to create an effective retirement plan is a decision that will pay off as you approach later life, giving you the opportunity to have the savings for the retirement that you deserve.

What happens at retirement?

Saving and preparing for retirement is only half the job. Deciding how, when, in what order, and at what rate to draw from the various potential income sources available to you is a far more complicated process. This is where a Retirement Tax Optimization plan (RTO plan) comes into play.

The most common strategy for accessing RRSPs, RRIFs, or LIFs is to “defer” until you can defer no longer. The year that you turn 71 you will be required to draw a minimum annual amount from all of your registered retirement savings — but is the government-mandated withdrawal strategy the most tax-efficient method? For most people, the answer is “absolutely not”, unless your goal is to pay as much income tax as possible.

There are 120 different potential “start dates” for CPP, each one providing a different income level to you. There are also 60 potential “start dates” for OAS. Taking into consideration your pension (with or without a bridge), your personal retirement savings, and any other assets you plan to use in retirement, which “start date” is the most tax efficient for you? Would it make sense to start drawing CPP or OAS while you’re still working?

A customized and effective RTO plan can answer these questions and potentially find tens of thousands of dollars (or even hundreds of thousands) that you would otherwise be paying to the government. These unnecessary payments are often in the form of income tax, reduced benefits, or claw backs. An RTO plan will integrate all of your retirement income sources and determine which to draw from, when, at what rate, and where to shelter it for later access. You remain in full control of all your assets — you just simply give less of it to the government.

I use a proprietary system (no “cookie cutter systems” here) to run scenarios for all possible strategies and generate a report showing which strategy is the most efficient for your specific situation. This is a very sophisticated process, but the results can be potentially life altering for you and your family.

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If you’re ready to take your retirement planning to the next level, contact me for a no-cost preliminary consultation. Together we can determine whether I am the right Financial Planner for you. I would be happy to help you find the solution that fits your unique situation.

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