retirement planning

You've retired. Now what?

Canadians are living longer, healthier lives. According to Statistics Canada (2012), the average life expectancy is 78 years for men and 83 years for women. This means your retirement years may almost equal your working ones. Family therapist Rhonda Katz suggests taking some time before retirement to identify what you find enjoyable in life and thinking of ways to sustain that happiness level. She also says to honestly answer the following questions:

'Is there some aspect of my job that I would love to keep doing?'

Retirement Planning: Back to Basics

In the aftermath of the US housing market bust and the ensuing financial meltdown that led to global stock market declines of 2008, people are getting back to the basics as far as their retirement planning goes. Although the stock market has recovered, many pre-retirees have lost a lot of ground in their retirement accounts and are facing a new reality. Retirement may not be what they had originally envisioned; but with some retirement income 101 basics, most people should be able to get back on track.

Start with Realistic Assumptions

How to Get Income Out of Your RRSP's

Roger and Linda, like many Canadians, have saved for years for their retirement. They took advantage of RRSPs and now have a substantial amount of savings. As Roger will turn age 71 this year, they need to decide on the best strategy for using their RRSPs for their retirement income needs.

Until now, Roger and Linda have been relying on their non-RRSP investments and government benefits so their RRSPs could continue to grow tax-postponed. Roger has to choose from the following by the end of the year or all his RRSP funds will be fully taxed:

RRSPs & TFSAs - What's the Difference ?

Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) were introduced in 2009 and they seem to be struggling to catch on. Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), however, have been around for over fifty years and attract billions of dollars of deposits each year. If you are serious about saving for your future, it is important to know the differences between the two.

While RRSPs and TFSAs seem to be very similar on the surface, they are really apples and kumquats apart. The only similarity is that, within limitations, earnings inside either plan are allowed to grow without current taxation.

Government Benefits Can Boost Retirement Income

In a 2010 report to the Minister of Finance, it was found that approximately 160,000 Canadian seniors were not aware of the full range of benefits they were entitled to in their retirement years. In fact, nearly $1 billion in retirement benefits from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) have not been paid out to eligible recipients.

According to the Service Canada website, seniors may qualify for a number of income supplement programs that would help them make ends meet, including:

Planning Required to Overcome Retirement Obstacles

A bleak picture is painted by the findings of the second annual survey about 'growing into retirement,' commissioned by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Most retirees' outlook has worsened in just one year, and the so-called 'golden years' are beginning to look tarnished. Just one year ago, 39 per cent of Canadians expected to still have debt in retirement; more than half of those questioned now (54 per cent) think that they will not have paid off everything.

Optimizing Your RRIF

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) are one method of drawing an income from Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) in retirement. There are a few things to consider to get the best value from your retirement savings with RRIFs.

For many Canadians, RRSP savings will be the major source of their retirement income. The main concern for most is the risk
of outliving their money. Another priority for many retirees is minimizing income taxes.

Pros and Cons of Annuities

With the turbulent times we have been experiencing in the markets, more people are considering annuities to ensure a certain income in their retirement years. It might not suit everybody to put their funds into annuities, and

there is always the question of what percentage do you want to invest in them, and how much will you leave in the markets? There is no clear-cut answer, and you'll need to weigh your personal circumstances to see how annuities can fit into your retirement plans.

RRSP vs TFSA: Which is Better?

Millions of Canadian make RRSP contributions each year for the sole purpose of getting a big tax refund cheque each spring. If this is your only reason for investing in RRSPs, there may be situations where making RRSP contribution isn't your best option.

With the arrival of the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) in January 2009, Canadians now have a viable alternative to RRSPs when saving for their retirement. Simply put, the TFSA is the mirror-image to an RRSP - you don't get an upfront refund, but all your future withdrawals are 100% tax free.

Traveling in Retirement

One of the top retirement goals for many is travel. As many as 1.5 million so called 'snowbirds' travel to the Southern United States during the winter. With summer just around the corner, thoughts turn to travel within our borders, too. The Canada Safety Council states that a few simple precautions can help ensure a safe, healthy and enjoyable trip any time of the year.

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