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Plan for retirement

It's never too early to start planning for your retirement.

Are you wondering what life will be like for you when you're 75?

Work with a Gulf & Fraser retirement planner so that when the time comes for you to retire, you are financially ready.

With modern medical advances and increased standards of living, Canadians can plan on spending one fifth of their lives in retirement. Everybody has heard it before, "It's never too early to start saving for your retirement." It's true. The effect of compound interest is significant.

Planning for retirement can be overwhelming. But no matter what age or stage of life you are in, there are many options. Depending on your age, stage in life, goals and expectations, your retirement plan will vary. That said, below are some general guidelines on developing the best retirement plan for you. 

Your 20s: A smart time to start

If you are in your 20s, saving for retirement is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Buying a home seems a million years away, let alone retiring. While you probably still have a student loan, now is typically the time when you start a salaried position and begin to earn regular paycheques. If you have any debt, paying that down should be your first priority, especially if you have anything owing on your credit card.

Your 20s are also a smart time to start contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) because time is on your side. The power of compound interest means that your hard earned money can grow exponentially. And contributing isn’t as daunting as it sounds. If you can afford to buy a $5 latte a few times a week or spend $40 on a night out, you can afford to contribute to an RRSP. Every little bit counts!

A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is also an option. There are pros and cons to both RRSPs and TFSAs. Your Gulf & Fraser advisor can help you decide what best fits your needs and your retirement planning goals.

30s: Settling into a plan

In your 30s, you probably have a steady income, but you might also have more expenses—transportation costs, rent or maybe a mortgage, or even a baby.

If you don’t already have a financial plan, it would be a great idea to create one. If you made a financial plan in your 20s, now’s the time to revisit and revise your plan to ensure it's still serving your needs.

While you might have more pressing expenses, don’t let that be an excuse not to contribute to your retirement plan. Pay yourself first by setting up a Pre-authorized Contribution (PAC) from your paycheque directly into your RRSP and you will hardly notice a difference at the end of the day. Now is also a good time to assess your overall investment risk tolerance and think about incorporating higher return investment vehicles. You have plenty of years until retirement so you don’t have to worry about short-term market fluctuations.


40s: Over halfway there

If you are in your 40s, but don’t have a retirement plan, don’t panic! It's not too late; you still have over two decades left to save and invest. 

That said, now is not the time to hit the snooze button. You should now have a clear idea of how much you can reasonably expect to contribute every year and how much you will need in retirement to maintain the lifestyle you desire. If you act now and invest wisely, you should be able to contribute enough to live your retirement years in comfort.

When it comes to RRSPs, always take advantage of an employer-matching RRSP plan (that’s free money!) and reinvest your income tax returns back into your RRSP.

Podcast: How to save for retirement

In this podcast, Retirement Planner, Jeanie Shih, gives advice on estate planning and how you can retire on your own timeline. You’ll discover...

  1. When is the best time to retire.
  2. Retiring with debt.
  3. Common mistakes people make when they retire.
  4. Five things you can do to start planning for your retirement.

Here are 5 things you can do to start planning for retirement:

  1. Envision what your retired life will be. What will you do with your time when you have retired? 
  2. Decide when to apply for public pension benefits, such as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS).
  3. Figure out what kind of health insurance plan you need to replace your existing employee benefits.
  4. Make a retirement income forecast and expenses budget. 
  5. Work with someone who understands your values and your financial goals. Gulf & Fraser has retirement planners who can help!

50s: Crunch time

Finally, your expenses are starting to decrease, and you’re entering your peak earning years. For these reasons, your 50s are an excellent time to ramp up your retirement contributions. 

It’s also time to pay closer attention to your Return on Investment (ROI) to make sure your investments are accumulating as they should. It is also wise to diversify your assets—don’t place all your eggs in one basket. Do you need to rebalance your investment allocation? Real estate, your RRSP, and other investments should all come together to create a balanced portfolio, thereby reducing your risk.

60s+: Home stretch

Your 60s typically mark your final working decade. This is the time to seriously assess your retirement plan. How close are you to reaching your goals? Do you want to retire early? Do you have enough to retire comfortably in the next few years? Will you be retiring at 65, 67, or older?

The date you set for retirement should depend on when you are ready to retire, not how old you are. 

Transfer your RRSP into an RRIF

Once you are close to retirement, it is important to meet with a financial expert to come up with a withdrawal plan. Any amount that you have in an RRSP must be transferred into a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) at 71 years of age. Remember that any money you withdraw from your RRIF will be taxed based on your overall income, so it’s important to take it out incrementally to reduce your total tax amount.


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Smart Money Brochure


What social resources will you have when you retire?


Get started on your plan!


​"People think they need a lot of money to retire. Money is important, but it’s not everything."

Jeanie Shih, Retirement Planner, Gulf & Fraser

Retirement is about enjoying time with friends and family and achieving your retirement goals. Jeanie can help you understand what expenses you may have in retirement and how much you will need on a month to month basis.