by Karin Mizgala
Think retirement is out of your grasp? The current economic downturn and the consequent impact on investments have caused many people to worry about their pensions and to re-think their retirement options. The financial news these days can certainly be disheartening, but things might not be as bad as you think. Do you really know where you stand?
The fact is about 1/3 of Canadians people with less than 5 years to retirement don’t have a retirement plan. If you are one of those who haven’t mapped out a plan yet you might be worrying and putting off that next stage of life for nothing.
Here are ten basic – but essential – strategies and considerations to think about:
1. Figure out how much your lifestyle will realistically cost you in retirement (focus on what really matters mortgage/rent, food, extra medical expenses, etc).
2. Consider downsizing before you retire. (Think of it as a dress rehearsal for retirement.) Can you get by with a smaller house or just one car or less expensive vacations?
3. Pay down your debts more aggressively – starting now. Credit card loans and other such high interest debts can add a tremendous burden on a reduced or fixed income.
4. Run some retirement income numbers including company and government pensions. Many people dismiss government pensions but they can total much as $17K per year per person and are more secure than many people realize.
5. Become familiar with one of the newest tools to assist your retirement savings program, namely Tax-Free savings Accounts.
6. And revisit one of the older ones – annuities. These financial products are purchased from insurance companies and are designed to provide you with peace of mind by providing you with a safe drawdown rate through regular payments for as long as you live.
7. Consider working past age 65 or working part time – especially if you love your job or you want to try something new.
8. Get aggressive with your savings! Even if you are in your fifties you can add substantial weight to your retirement income by saving more today. What if you took all of the income that you used to spend on your children for education, food, clothing etc. and then placed that in your retirement fund?
9. Simplifying your life just might reduce your stress load and anxiety levels. Gearing down a notch or two can open you up to new possibilities of how you can live your life. Be creative in your thinking.
10. Consider doing something meaningful with your retirement years. Without the pressure of having to show up on the job every day, perhaps you dedicate some time to making the world a better place for your grandchildren. What would that look like for you?
Don’t worry needlessly – get the facts about how much you will need to retire comfortably. Maybe you will need more money that you think? Maybe less?
The only way to know for sure is to get clear about your goals and to start crunching some numbers.
Need help? Check out the Women’s Financial Learning Centre’s Rethinking Retirement Series or book a complimentary consultation with one of our money coaches who specialize in retirement. But make a plan today – so you can enjoy tomorrow!