Should I take CPP at age 60?

By Barbara Knoblach, PhD

Mature couple walking in countryside

The long summer evenings are over. The kids are back at school; homework, lessons and sports practice have begun to fill the family calendar again. Summer holidays and backyard BBQs are now just photo memories on our phones and social media accounts. But that’s OK. September brings its own “fresh start” energy. It’s a time to look toward new challenges at work, winter vacations and even plans for next summer. Because, really, what is all our hard work for, if not, at least in part, to afford time with friends and family?

In fact, as you ease into a busier fall schedule, it’s a great opportunity to pause and remember why you work hard, and to recommit to your life goals—including your important retirement goals. Who doesn’t dream of the day when all four seasons are theirs to shape and enjoy?

But retirement looks very different to everyone, and one of the most important things to consider when planning yours, is the optimal time to apply for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits. All it takes is a bit of calculated foresight, to make the decision that will best suit your circumstances.

Here’s a look at some basics:

Canada Pension Plan benefits can be drawn as early as age 60 (reduced 0.6% for each month before 65) or as late as age 70 (increased 0.7% for each month after 65).

The average life expectancy for Canadians is age 80 for men and 84 for women. Statistics Canada predicts a continued rise in life expectancy of roughly two years over the next 15 years.

Things to consider:

Life expectancy

Contemplating your mortality may feel uncomfortable, but your health and whether or not longevity is a family trait, are things to consider when making your decision.

If you take your CPP starting at age 60, your breakeven point with someone who waits until age 65 is when you both turn 74. Confused? Let me put it another way; if Mary takes her CPP at 60 and Brenda takes hers at 65, Mary’s monthly CPP payment will be 36% lower than Brenda’s, but she will collect five years longer. They will be 74 when Brenda pulls ahead of Mary for overall amount collected. Continue reading

Posted in Ask Your Money Coach, For your information

Financial Literacy Starts at Home

By Sheila Walkington, Co-Founder and CFO Money Coaches Canada

 Money Coaches Canada: Financial Literacy Starts at Home

When it comes to topics of money and Canadians, Money   Coaches Canada has a great vantage point. Through our interactions with clients, our involvement with the media, our  frequent blog posts and our social media connections—we are in the privileged position of hearing Canadians’ hopes, interests, aspirations and concerns related to money and personal finance.

Over the years, we have written extensively on nearly every topic related to personal money management. One of the topics that elicits the greatest response is kids and money. And the comment we hear most is: “I wish I had learned to handle money sooner.”

When it comes to teaching kids about money, there are a lot of different opinions on how, and where (at school or at home?) it should be done. But there is agreement on one thing; kids need a financial education so that they can make intelligent choices about money at every stage of life. Continue reading

Posted in Kids and Money, Money Coaching, Relationship to money

Don’t Let Back to School Break the Bank

By Karen Richardson, FPSC Level 1® and Christine White, P.Eng., FPSC Level 1®

The back to school cliché is that kids dread it and parents are gleefully counting the hours. But in reality, lots of kids are excited to go back to school (albeit an excitement that usually fades with the first homework assignment) and many parents dread September because it feels like open season on their bank accounts. Back to school spending seems to escalate every year, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You may not be able to keep your kids excited about school, but saving on back to school expenses is possible with some planning.

Back to school basics

Don’t start from scratch

A costly mistake many parents make is buying everything new. School ended roughly 8 weeks ago. It is entirely likely that much of what your children wore last spring still fits them. The same goes for school supplies; rulers, binders, folders, pencil cases, calculators, erasers, etc… are often in fine shape for the new school year. Before you head to the mall make an inventory of what you already have.

Kids don’t need everything on the first day

Even if your stock taking reveals that the kids will need several new items to get through the year, they won’t likely need winter boots in the first several weeks. Keep purchases to the essentials by building on what they have and then start watching for sales. The holidays are just around the corner and adding to the kids’ wardrobe through birthday and Christmas gifts is also a great idea. Continue reading

Posted in Budgeting and Cash Flow, Money Coaching

Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

By Noel D’Souza, CFP®

iStock_000043073486_MediumGetting good financial advice in Canada is a tricky matter – trickier than it should be, in my opinion. The main challenges facing a seeker of financial advice come down to:

  • Can I find someone qualified to assist me with my particular needs?
  • Can I rely on this person to have my best interests at heart?
  • Are we a good fit to work together?

Given these challenges, what is a person to do?

As with so many things in life, being an informed consumer will serve you well. But again, there’s a bit of a Catch-22 here. There’s an inherent imbalance in knowledge when one is seeking advice of any kind. If you’re like me, think of the last time you visited a mechanic and were told “Your right rear differential thing-a-ma-jig is leaking fluid and needs to be replaced. It will take 2 hours and cost X $. Should I go ahead with the repair?”


After all, you’re seeking advice from an expert because you don’t have the knowledge and experience in that area, right? But there are a few basic principles to remember and questions to ask that will serve you well. Continue reading

Posted in For your information, Money Coaching

How to Live the Life You Want with the Money You Have

By Sheila Walkington, Co-Founder and CFO

How to Live the Life You Want with the Money You Have

Money does not buy happiness. You’ve heard that before. Many studies of happiness have shown that relationships, a positive attitude, working towards goals and helping others, are at the core. Even exercise and pet ownership are considered contributing factors. How much money is in your bank account doesn’t even make the list.

On the other hand, constant struggle and worry about money can certainly rob you of happiness. Luckily, whether or not you struggle with money has less to do with how much you have and much more to do with your mindset. That’s why being a Money Coach brings me so much happiness. I have the opportunity to help people stop struggling and gain mastery over their money.

I also have the opportunity to dispel the misconception that money mastery is synonymous with giving up all the fun stuff you enjoy, and thinking only of a distant retirement or being prepared for a “rainy day.” As a Money Coach, I don’t set your priorities; I help you determine what matters most to you. The approach Money Coaches Canada, co-founder Karin Mizgala and I developed in our book Unstuck, is focused on the concepts: Dream, Plan, Live. Continue reading

Posted in Budgeting and Cash Flow, Money Coaching, Relationship to money

I’m Working Really Hard, But Not Getting Ahead. Five Misconceptions Keeping You Stuck

By Alison Stafford, CFP®

How often have you thought—I could get out of debt and save more for retirement, if only I made more money. It appears to make sense; that more money would be the answer to your financial worries. So it may surprise you, that debt often increases with higher income levels.

Stats Canada reported that households earning at least $100,000 had an average debt of $172,400. Compare that to households earning between $50,000 and $100,000, which had an average debt of $95,400. More income, more debt.

If your first reaction to that is despair, you need to think about it in a different way. If you earn over $100,000 a year and still find yourself in debt, the challenge isn’t income, it is mindset. And that puts you in the driver’s seat of change, so that is a good thing. Getting out of debt, saving for a home, or funding your retirement, don’t have to be dreams. They can be practical, achievable goals, if you are willing to let go of some common money misconceptions.

We’ve identified the top five beliefs that sabotage high earners, and offer new ways of looking at your spending and saving habits. Continue reading

Posted in Budgeting and Cash Flow, Debt, Relationship to money

Allowance: Tips on Giving Children Allowance

You are standing in the check out line at the grocery store dreading the nagging you are sure to get from the kids about buying another pack of gum. All the stuff at the check out line is a total temptation for the kids, and a total irritation for you. Sounds like it is time to start giving your children an allowance so they can start spending their own money.

It can be a difficult thing to start, there are so many questions about how to do it and how much to give. Continue reading

Posted in Kids and Money

Are You On-Track To Retire in 10 Years? Do These 5 Things Right Now To Be Sure

By Sandra Mann, CPA, CGA, FPSC Level 1®

Are You On-Track To Retire in 10 Years? Do These 5 Things Right Now To Be Sure


With 10 years to retirement, your daydreams may be turning to a morning latte on your deck, instead of a tepid coffee on your commute. But before you buy that Life Begins at Retirement bumper sticker and toss out your alarm clock, you have some work to do. It’s imperative that the financial decisions you make in this last decade before retirement are forward focussed and carefully planned.

Here are 5 things you must do now to ensure a smooth transition into the next chapter of your life. Continue reading

Posted in For your information, Money Coaching, Retirement savings

How Can My Home Equity Support My Retirement Goals?

By Christine Williston, B.A., FPSC Level 1®

For older Canadians, with a paid or almost paid mortgage, ever increasing home values feels like watching winning numbers come up in the lottery. But how best to cash in the ticket? Or should it even be cashed in at all? The answer of course, depends on individual circumstances.

The optimal financial scenario for anyone approaching retirement is; a good pension, substantial savings, solid investments, and a mortgage free home. But quite often, life falls short of optimal scenarios. Many people arrive at retirement age, living in a very valuable asset, but with limited cash flow to live the way they imagined. This is often referred to as being house rich and cash poor and it can be quite a challenge to decide how (or if), to access that equity. But before you make any decisions, it’s important to have clarity on your situation. Continue reading

Posted in Ask Your Money Coach, Money Coaching, Retirement savings