Once you decide to retire, who needs a strategy? It should be pretty simple. You retire, you receive your government pensions, your company pension (if you have one), and simply start taking money from your savings to support your lifestyle, right? If only it were so easy!
Thankfully, getting what you want out of retirement starts and ends with a conversation about what matters most to you. Whether it’s travelling, spoiling the grandkids, volunteering or just enjoying the fact that your week now consists of six Saturdays and one Sunday, requires a conversation to determine how much money you need in your bank account every month to make this possible. Once you decide what you want, you need to create a plan to get there. Then take look at your sources of income and the amount of savings you have available to meet this obligation. It might sound daunting, but we can guide you through that process.
Once you have an idea about the amount of money you need in your bank account each month, the conversation turns to your sources of income, particularly those that have been saved over a lifetime, namely registered savings plans (RRSPs, TFSAs etc.), non-registered investment accounts, and the value stored in a seasonal property and/or your principal residence. The right answer regarding funding your retirement dreams should be one that addresses your short, medium and long-term goals, while keeping an eye on minimizing taxes and managing investment risk.
Next, let’s look at some of the basic tools you have to work with when planning your retirement income.
RRSPs are the most common form of retirement savings for most Canadians. At retirement, the funds that have been built up in the account can be used to purchase an annuity, a registered retirement income fund (RRIF), or taken as cash — although you’ll want to make sure you understand the taxable implications to taking a lump sum from your RRSPs. Money in a RRIF remains fully accessible and drawing the funds out over a number of years helps manage your tax liability.
A TFSA can be very useful for retirees as an account where funds can be contributed and invested in order to prepare for medium to longer-term retirement goals. A benefit to the TFSA is that withdrawals are not taxable nor will they result in any claw back of income benefits such as old age security.
Investments, 2nd Property and the Principal Residence
For some people, selling their home to fund their retirement is considered a viable option. With proper planning, the sale of a cottage property or your principal residence later into retirement can certainly be an option, especially if you require full time care or need the proceeds to fund a longer life.
As you can see, there are many options to consider. Any drawdown strategy should be tailored to each individual circumstance and it all begins with a conversation about you.