The retirement process can be overwhelming, but it’s also exciting to consider all the possibilities that are now yours for the taking. Here are five steps to get you on track to a fulfilling retirement.
When it comes to imagining a happy and fulfilling retirement, you should try to understand what you want from your post-work life. For some, the idea of juggling part-time work with family life is very appealing. For others, investing more time in their hobbies or taking up new activities can bring them joy. Or you may find that the purpose and sense of accomplishment you get from volunteering more fits your idea of a rich retirement.
Here are five steps to getting you on track to enjoying a fulfilling retirement…
1. Define What Retirement Means To You
When it comes to imagining a happy and fulfilling retirement, everyone is unique. For you, it may be wanting to transition from a full-time career into meaningful part-time work. Or perhaps you imagine yourself investing more time with family, beginning a garden or heading to the golf course more often. It’s important to understand how you can get there financially and have a proper Financial Plan in place that you understand, so you can have total peace of mind in retirement.
If you were asked to imagine yourself at age 65, what do you picture yourself doing? What goals do you want to achieve? Write your objectives down, noting the most important goals first. Don’t think about budgets or money involved, just think about ideas, there are no limits! Be as particular as you can. Instead of “travel,” list something more specific like “trips to the lake I grew up by as a kid” or “going to Paris to eat at a restaurant I’ve always wanted to go to”. Try to write 3-5 big objectives down that you consider your most desirable outcomes rather than making a large bucket list of dozens of items with no clear timelines.
Remember, the more specific you are, the better. You want a practical set of goals rather than a bucket list. The more actionable your list, the more achievable they will be!
2. Understand Your Company Pension Plan
Financial security in retirement does not simply occur without clear planning first. It takes dedication, preparation, and of course… money.
Your employer’s retirement savings strategy is a crucial part of your future financial security. It is essential that you understand and are able to comprehend how your company’s pension and retirement strategy works as well as all of the details about what benefits you will receive. Know and understand this early on, so you’re not overwhelmed closer to retirement trying to figure out what your company pension entitles you to.
3. Know What Your Assets Are
Set a baseline of where you’re currently at with your living expenses.
How much income do you make each month from your employer?
How much money do you have in the bank? (Chequing and savings accounts)
How much do you have invested in mutual funds or stocks?
How much you have in your retirement accounts? (RRSP, etc)
Consider other non-traditional assets that could assist with funding your retirement, such as products you could sell if you decide to downsize your house. Perhaps you have an idea for a side business to begin as soon as you retire that will generate some income, or you have a book you wish to write and sell online.
Write everything down so you can visually see your different sources of income.
4. Know When To Take OAS and CPP
You will receive the maximum CPP if you contribute the maximum for at least 39 years and you start CPP at age 65. The standard age to take your OAS pension is 65. Unlike CPP, there is no option to take OAS early, such as at age 60. But you can defer it up to 60 months (five years).
So, what age is best for you? It’s important to consult with a Certified Financial Planner who can help you determine the best time to take your CPP and OAS. Speak with the team at Pension Solutions Canada, who can help you make this important decision.
5. Create A Retirement Budget & Financial Plan
It’s important to head into retirement with a budget in mind. If you have a company pension and you’re taking it out as a lump-sum payment, you’re going to have a lot of money in your bank account that can be tempting to spend.
Start by tracking your earnings and expenditures for a number of months.
Next, calculate how much money you’ll need in retirement to support your chosen lifestyle.
If you realize you won’t have adequate funds for the lifestyle you’re planning for, you may want to consider cutting back your expenses.
Ensure you are diversifying your money into several investments, only investing into things that you understand and have talked with your Certified Financial Planner about.
If you plan on carrying debt into your retirement, you’ll want to budget in payments to pay down the debt each month. If your retirement is still years away, consider paying off the debt sooner rather than leaving it until retirement. Cutting your debt now will mean less to worry about when you retire.
Once you have a budget you know you can stick to, start putting it into action.
Speak with your Certified Financial Planner to create a Financial Plan for you that you understand and feel comfortable knowing you can achieve it.
Remember to review your Financial Plan at least once a year to see if you need to make changes to stay on track! The team at Pension Solutions Canada are here to help make sure you’re set up for success. We specialize in helping individuals prepare for retirement and understand their pension options. Let us assess and review your income streams in retirement and help you with retirement planning. Call us at 1-888-554-6661.