10 Retirement Stats Every Baby Boomer Should Know

RETIREMENT


If you think that you’re worried about retirement, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for find yourself at the tail end of your professional career and still discover that you don’t have enough in the bank to take care of retirement expenses.

Many Canadians simply aren’t prepared, and don’t know how to go about it. If you find that retirement is in your near future, there are still several practical things you can do to get started today. Before you do, read up on these retirement facts to help you prepare:

1. Boomers have less than $100k saved for retirement

Recent polls state that 45% of Canadian baby boomers have less than $100,000 saved away in retirement funds. Despite the fact that Canadians who are in their 50’s have the intention of retiring by 63 years old, more than half of them say that they intend to continue working during their retirement years in part time jobs (source: http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/cibc-poll-short-on-savings-canadas-50-somethings-plan-to-retire-at-age-63—and-keep-working-510596721.html)

2. The Canadian Retirement Nest Egg is Much smaller than ideal

A staggering 61% of Canadian baby boomers have much less than what they intended to have by the time they retire. This poses a problem for them as it means that they will not have a nest egg to rely on. Despite this, the 50’s and 60’s can still be a good time to build savings as long as debts including mortgages are paid off in full. Provided that savings are left untouched for several years, income from employment can suffice in building a retirement nest egg later on in life.

3. 41% of boomers choose to stay in the labour force even after retirement

Canadian baby boomers who have no retirement savings may be forced to work even if they no longer want to, because without a savings account they simply can’t afford to not have a job. However, the good news is that 41% of baby boomers still choose to stay in the labor force because a good number of them still want to. Many Canadian employers find that having baby boomers in their team is extremely valuable because of the information and knowledge they have that the younger employees cannot match. However, when employing baby boomers, companies will need to consider flexible working hours and even telecommuting options (source: http://business.financialpost.com/executive/the-baby-boomer-paradox-how-delaying-retirement-and-working-longer-might-hurt-productivity).

4. Social Security should not be the cornerstone of your retirement plans

Baby boomers shouldn’t be relying on Social Security, because this alone will decrease their motivation to save on their own. Monthly Social Security checks won’t be enough to help retirees cover their bills, especially if there are debts and mortgages to be paid, more so if they have no insurance and get sick. Social Security is only meant to cover around 40% of pre-retirement income and that is insufficient for most retirees to live on.

5. LIFE EXPECTANCY IS INCREASING YEAR OVER YEAR

It’s estimated that one in every four 65-year old will live past the age of 90. This means that you should consider saving for more than 20 years. These days seniors are living longer, which means that there are more things that need to be spent on. This is the reason why a significant population of baby boomers are afraid that they will outlive their savings.

6. Expenses going down in retirement is a myth

Canadian baby boomers need to keep in mind that most retired households end up spending more money in retirement, as opposed to the misconception that they will spend less during their golden years. Almost half of retirees end up spending more money when they stop working, and this has been a consistent trend no matter what income class you come from. This is another reason why it is extremely important to build your nest egg and save for unforeseen expenses, most especially inflation.

7. Cost of health care is rising

The cost of health care continues to rise. Canadians can end up spending $5,391 annually on their own medical costs if they don’t have private coverage. These numbers will continue to rise; as seen in previous years. Between 2004 and 2014, the cost of health care rose as much as 54%, while shelter rose 41%, food 16%, and clothing, 33%. Inflation is rising at a significantly faster rate. If a retiree is disabled, there are also additional expenses to be covered; a home may need to be modified to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters to assist with mobility; these medical equipment can cost anywhere from $1,000 up. If a retiree is severely disabled, they may require the assistance of a personal caretaker or nurse, which can cost anywhere from $16 to $76 per hour.

(Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/retirement/retire-health/hidden-health-care-costs-can-be-a-shock-for-retirees/article27324248/)

8. Retirement does not mean mortgage free

A significant portion of retirees still have to pay mortgage, even when they are 65 and above. One of the biggest mistakes that people think is that by the time they retire they will no longer have to worry about mortgage. The hard truth is that many seniors are starting their retirement years worrying about how to pay off their mortgage debt.

9. Canadian seniors are increasingly living below the poverty line

A surprising number of Canadian seniors are still living below the poverty line. Research shows that 28% of senior women and 24% of senior men are still living in poverty. Income data also reveals that the median income for single seniors who don’t have employer pension income is under $20,000. This is because these seniors basically have no savings to rely on at all. (http://ipolitics.ca/2016/02/17/were-facing-a-wave-of-seniors-living-in-poverty-and-were-not-ready/)

10. Its not all bad though

To end with some happy news, Canadian retirees are known to be among the happiest in the world. But if you find yourself lacking in savings, right now is the best time to start. The earlier you begin to start saving for retirement, the higher your chances are of ending up as a happy retiree. If you don’t know where to start, talk to friends and family and even seek out professional help if needed. Financial advisors can provide you with a great deal of valuable and practical information on building your nest egg today.

 

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Your Step-by-Step Guide to Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning


For the workforce, retirement is the stage of life when you can finally sit back and relax after decades of labor. Retirement can mean many different things to everyone, since we all have our own vision of how we’d like to spend that time in our lives. It usually translates to having enough time to spend with family and friends, travel more, or kicking back in that beach house you worked for.

However, these can only be possible if you’ve saved and planned for retirement since an early age. Retirement means financial independence, and that doesn’t happen overnight. The reality is that only a small percentage of the population are actually equipped for retirement and have enough cash in the bank or assets to keep them comfortable. Without savings and proper planning, retirement will be anything but relaxing since you will need to continue working in order to make ends meet. Nobody wants to spend their retirement worrying about money.

Planning for retirement is all within your control. You can take charge right this minute to build a comfortable nest egg so that you can avoid having to work until your final days. Here are the things you can do to prepare for retirement today:

  1. Determine Your Retirement Goals

As mentioned earlier, everyone has their own vision for retirement. There are things you need to take into consideration as you set your retirement goals, such as:

  • The age you would like to retire
  • How you want to spend most of your time
  • Your life expectancy
  • The kind of lifestyle you want to live
  • The monthly income you’ll need for retirement
  • What income sources can you use to fund your retirement (pension, investment earnings, old age security, home equity, RRSP)
  • The number of years you have to save

To better envision your retirement goals, it’s always better to write everything down. Having a written plan makes it easy to see what factors are in your control, such as the amount of money you can save each month moving forward and how to invest it. Additionally, having a written plan also helps you see your progress over the months and years. Your retirement plan can also be adjusted as needed; there is no need to have a fixed plan if you find that making small changes will help you meet your goals more effectively.

  1. Do you Have Enough Savings?

A critical step in developing your retirement plan is confronting the reality of your savings; not having enough is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Your specified goals for retirement can help you understand if you are saving enough money.

Financial planners recommend working with 80% of your current income as a gauge for you to stay comfortable as you reach retirement. Use a financial planning worksheet to analyze your expenses before and during retirement, but also take into consideration the various sources of income that can help you create your desired nest egg. The following information should be included in your retirement calculations:

  • Account balances in your savings account, including retirement plans from your employer as well as TFSA’s
  • Total contributions you intend to make annually for your retirement accounts
  • Inflation rate and annual rate of returns that you expect to use in the calculations
  • Acceptable monthly income during retirement
  • Estimated future income from social security
  1. Use the Right Accounts That can Help you Make Your Money Grow

One of the most important steps in retirement planning is determining the correct account, which will hold your retirement savings. Financial institutions offer a variety of different retirement savings options so that you can achieve your retirement goals. Certain retirement accounts such as RRSP’s, and TFSA’s include tax advantages for retirement savings. These are the primary retirement account classifications for you to consider:

Employer-Sponsored Retirement Accounts

Experts agree that retirement plans provided by your employers may be one of the most effective investments. If you haven’t already taken advantage of these plans, talk to your employer immediately. It’s the best way to start saving for retirement since contributions are pre-taxed so they don’t affect your own taxable income. Additionally, employer-sponsored retirement accounts are basically a source of free money thanks to matching contributions. Most companies offer programs that can increase the return of your investments. Last but not least, employer-sponsored plans are also becoming increasingly portable which means that they can be transferred to a TFSA or future retirement plan from another employer without tax consequences.

  • Look for retirement account options for self-employed: If you are an entrepreneur, self-employed, or have a small business with employees, there are also self-employed retirement plans that you can take advantage of.
  • Taxable investment accounts: Although tax-deferred investment accounts are ideally the best place to start with investments, there are also benefits to investing in taxable accounts. One of these include the flexibility of using your funds for different purposes, while another is that you can take advantage of tax loss harvesting as well as low capital gains. Likewise, municipal bonds provide a great source of tax-free income.
  • Insurance and annuities: There are many insurance and annuity products that can significantly contribute to your retirement savings account. Annuities, in particular, provide tax-deferred income.
  1. Analyze How You Invest Your Money

Keeping all your money in a savings account won’t get you far, because these accounts are too ‘safe’. The risk with keeping your money in a savings account is that you are exposing it to the risk of inflation, which will significantly reduce your purchasing power in the future. If you aren’t sure what investment options are available for you, or what your tolerance to risk is, seek the advice of a financial advisor who can help you.

  1. Make Sure That Your Plan is Easy to Follow

Saving for retirement is a lifelong process that requires you to have good spending and saving habits in place. Having a simple but effective retirement plan strategy will ensure that you are always on the right track.

 

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What To Do If You Haven’t Saved For Retirement By Age 50

Ready for Retirement ?


Many adults start saving for retirement as soon as they have their first job, but there is also a significant part of the population who have no savings by the time they get to 50. If you’re one of them, know that you’re not alone. A recent study conducted by GOBankingrates.com estimates that 28% of participants have no retirement savings after 55, while 26% said that they have less than $50,000 saved away.

Even if retirement is just around the corner, there are still practical and useful actions you can take to ensure that you become financially independent:

  1. Work for a few more years than you initially planned.

If you are already in your 50’s yet you have little to no savings in your account for retirement, one of the most effective things you can do to make sure you are comfortable in retirement is to continue working until your Social Security reaches full retirement age so that you are entitled to receive the full benefits. The longer you put off retirement, the better you can be sustained by earned income so that you can increase your savings. You can also look for secondary sources of income such as through a part time job that can add to your savings while working your primary job.

For the next 10 up to 15 years from now, you will need to maximize your savings as much as possible. It’s ideal to have savings that constitute 15% of your gross annual salary if you still have several decades to go until retirement however since you’re already at you’re 50’s, you’ll need to work hard on saving at least 30% of your gross annual salary. If even that is too much, you can start at 15% and work your way up over the next few years.

  1. Maximize catch-up contributions from your employer’s retirement plan.

Since you’re already aware that you should be saving at least 30% of your gross annual salary, you can use contributions to add to the deficit of the money you put away each year. Your tax-sheltered retirement accounts can provide you with both current and future tax benefits. Contributions to your RRSP and TFSA can add as much as $18,000 a year or more on savings, as well as an additional $6,000 in catch-up contributions if you are at least 50 years old. Combined, these can give you $24,000 in total per year.

However, if your employer doesn’t provide you with a workplace retirement plan, the CRA can help you save as much as $5,500 annually plus an extra $1,000 provided that you’re at least 50 years old. While you can, maximize the catch-up contributions to help you build your savings. If you’re able to save $6,500 for the next 50 years, you can still have savings of around $150,000.

  1. Look for ways of creating and increasing your guaranteed income.

If you haven’t saved enough in your personal savings account, you’ll need to make calculations of how your pension can contribute to your retirement. Take into consideration how much your check can add up each year that you delay making use of your benefits.

If you reach retirement with a smaller savings account, it would be best for you to annuitize a part of your savings so that you have guaranteed sources of income.

  1. Downsize as much as you can immediately.

    The amount you have started to put away for retirement can be significantly increased if you look for ways you can reduce your expenses in order to add more to your retirement savings account. You can start by evaluating if you can save more by living in a smaller home or a more affordable neighbourhood, trading your car in for something cheaper, or sell it altogether. Get rid of subscriptions or memberships that are a want, not a need. Stop eating out several time a week and start cooking from home. It’s time to tighten your belt so that you can add more to your retirement nest egg.

  2. Seek professional help for retirement savings.

Sometimes it can be intimidating to navigate your way through your finances, especially if you are already under pressure. Seeking professional help can be a useful tool in ironing out all the complicated details involved with investments, taxes, and benefits. A financial planner is well-versed in these issues and can help you make the most informed decision so that you can start building your nest egg as soon as possible. They can provide you with practical and useful advise about what you can do this minute to ensure that you are comfortable in by the time retirement comes. It’s never ideal to start saving at a later period in time in life, but as soon as you are proactive now about the changes that you need to make you will soon be glad that you did it.

If you’re nearing the age of 50 and still don’t have sufficient savings for retirement, it’s important for you to seriously consider how to build and increase your savings over the next few years. It will also entail some sacrifice in your part as you will need to reconsider your previous notions of how retirement should be: traveling the world, living in your weekend home, and spending as you please.

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Ontario Introduces a 16-Point Plan to Cool Housing Market [Great Read]

16-point plan


Today Ontario announced a 16 point plan to cool the red hot GTA housing market. Get a snapshot below and continue reading at the link below for the full details:

16-Point Plan:

  1. 15% Foreign Buyers Tax
  2. Expanded Rent Control to All Private Rental Units
  3. Making Surplus Government Land Available for Development
  4. New $125 Million Fund to Encourage Rental Unit Development
  5. Read On: business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages-real-estate/ontario-slaps-15-tax-on-foreign-buyers-expands-rent-control-in-16-point-plan-to-cool-housing

Estate Planning For Young Families

Estate Planning


If you live have a young family, you might want to start your estate planning soon. There is a lot that goes into estate planning, especially for people who have a lot of assets or want to make a complicated will. You never know when you are going to need one and you want to have plenty of time to structure it how you want. Remember that you can always change things in the future as well – but unfortunately, you can’t make any changes once you’re gone.

Taxation on Estates

While Canada doesn’t have an estate tax, we do have a disposition tax when all of your investments are sold at your death. The final tax also includes money from your life insurance proceeds, stocks, bonds, real estate, and other large amounts of money. At 29%, this tax rate is a large chunk of money and there are even more fees that can be stacked on top.

If your spouse is still alive, that rate can be deferred. When your spouse dies, the assets are then passed on to the heirs at a 50% tax rate on capital gains.

Why You Need to Make a Will

While, in most cases, you can’t control when you are going to die, you can control what happens to your belongings (and you) once you are gone. You need to make a will to ensure that your wishes are followed to the letter. Note that you can also make a living will that will explain what should be done in the event that you are incapable of taking care of yourself.

If you die without a will, it can delay everything because a court has to appoint a bonded administrator to serve as an executor and everything has to go through a Public Trustee. In a time of pain, this can really do a lot of damage.

Without a will, the province will be the one to determine what happens with your assets, even if people know what you wanted to happen with it. Most often, the first $50,000 will go to a surviving spouse and then the rest will be divided up evenly between the children and the spouse. If you don’t have any children or a spouse, your parents are next, after that, your brothers and sisters.

A good will should include the following: a last will and testament, general power of attorney, and a living will.

The last will is one that you hopefully won’t have to use until you are very old. It will determine how your assets are distributed after you die. While it doesn’t typically give directions about your death, funeral, or burial, it does help with closing up your estate.

The power of attorney gives someone the choice to manage your financial affairs for you if you cannot do it yourself. Typically, this will go to a spouse or a child. This person will have the ability to manage your day to day life as well, including filing taxes, paying bills, banking, talking to lawyers, opening your mail, voting, and looking after your affairs.

Note that NO ONE has the ability to do this for you in Canada, even your spouse.

A living will gives healthcare and mental power to the person of your choice. Typically a child or a spouse, it will give that person the ability to talk to doctors, family members, and courts about the welfare of you and be able to communicate your wishes should you become incapable of talking for yourself. This means that someone can choose whether or not to take you off of life support if doctors believe that you have very little chance of improvement.


Consider Getting a Trust

While a will is one of the best ways to estate plan, a trust can simplify everything and make it streamlined for everyone involved. A trust is easier to manage because it allows you to transfer your assets when you are alive, while a will only becomes active when you have passed away. For young families, a trust may be a great way to set your children up for success later in life – regardless of what happens to you.

The terms of a trust are legally binding. It means that a legal entity will own a part of (or all of) your assets from whatever you select.

Types Of Trusts

The most common type of trust in Canadian estate planning is a revocable living trust, which is so popular because you are able to change or revoke the terms at any time. The trust will also instruct the trustees (those to receive the benefit) while you are alive or after you have passed away.

If you are married, both you and your spouse can be established as the trustees and the manager of the trusts. If you have a family business, for instance, this is a good option because you can still retain some control over the operations. When one spouse dies, the surviving one will continue as the trustee, but the terms change.

Note that since living trusts aren’t as popular as they are in other places because the income is taxable at high rates. In most provinces, the rate is 30-47% on the first dollar. Those that are taxed after death aren’t as high because they are taxed at the personal income level. There is some other fine print involved that requires the help of a retirement professional because it is complicated and requires time and know-how. It also requires the personal details of your account.

At the end of the day, you have to take extreme care to ensure that when the time comes, and it always comes, that your assets are distributed how they are meant to be and that you don’t leave with a mess behind you. You will want a last will for that. However, life is long and there is a lot that can happen, so you may want to consider getting a living will and a power of attorney. In many cases, a trust is needed as well.

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Four Bits of Personal Finance News Canadians Can Be Thankful For

Personal Finance News


There are a lot rumblings in Canada about the personal finances of Canadians. Most of the news and ‘noise’ is focusing on the building housing bubbles in Toronto and Vancouver, the state of the economy and the habits of Canadian. In light of this, we wanted to share a bit of good news. This weeks’ Great Read shows that things are not as bad as they seem and this read shares a bit of good news thats sure to brighten up your week ahead.

Read Ahead: www.huffingtonpost.ca/jeffrey-schwartz/personal-finance-canada_b_5945004.html

Tax Changes for 2016 That You Need to Know About [Great Read]

2016 Tax Changes


Continuing on with the theme of taxes. This Great Read from the Globe outlines the tax changes for 2016. There are 13 changes that are outlined in the article, some of the changes will save you tax while others cut out previous tax credits that you would have been able to apply for in previous years.

Tax Changes for 2016
  1. Family Tax Cut – Income splitting is gone for 2016.
  2. Principle Residence Reporting – You
  3. Canada Child Benefit – Higher amount, and not considered income, so win win.

Read the rest of the list here: www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/taxes/a-bakers-dozen-tax-filing-changes-for-this-year/article34122880/

7 Mistakes that are Destroying your Retirement Dreams

Retirement Dreams


Retirement: it is a day that seems so far away to so many people, but it will come up much more quickly than you think. It might seem that you won’t ever get to retire, and unfortunately, many people have spending habits that will make it seem almost impossible to retire at 65, 75, or even 85.

You don’t want to always struggle with money, so you have to start fixing these seven mistakes so that you can enjoy your twilight years:

1) You Spend Too Much Money

One big problem people have isn’t that they aren’t making enough money, but that they aren’t saving enough of it. If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, you aren’t doing anything to help your retirement dreams.

Instead of doing that, create a budget for yourself. Plan to have so much money in your savings with each paycheck and don’t touch it. Decide that you aren’t going to eat out every night of the week. Bring your coffee instead of buying it from a fancy shop. Just create a plan to save a little extra and try to add a little more over time. Most importantly: force yourself to stick to that plan and hold yourself accountable.

2) You’re Too Image Obsessed and Want the Newest Things

Sure, we all want the newest iPhone or the next cool gadget, but do we really need them? Everyone wants the newest car, to go see that top band, or even to go see Hamilton on Broadway just so we can get the greatest Instagram photo. Instead of getting everything as soon as it is released, consider taking it a little slower. Instead of getting everything right away, wait for the sales and the prices to go down.

3) You Upgrade Too Quickly and Buy Into Plans For Upgrades

The same thing goes here – you don’t need to upgrade everything as soon as you can. Sure you can buy a new phone or sign up for another monthly plan, but why not put that $25 into your savings instead of getting the newest iPhone that does the same thing?

Unless you absolutely need that upgrade, don’t go for it right away – especially if you are only doing it because you can or because you simply want the newest things.

4) You Use Your Credit Card Far Too Much

Credit cards are really convenient for many reasons – they are easier to carry, people can’t just steal them from you (well they can, but there is protection in place), almost every place takes them, and they are linked to what seems like limitless supplies of money. While all of those things are great, they also make credit cards dangerous. It is too easy to just reach into your pocket and buy something without thinking it through.

Once you do spend all that money, you may end up spending even more because of the high interest on your debt – for things you probably wouldn’t have purchased with cash. This is especially true if you connect your phone to a credit card. Then you add in an annual fee and you really have high costs.

5) You’re Using Financing and Leasing Offers to Finance Your Depreciating Assets

Borrowing from your own fortune is bad news, no matter what you do. This includes using teaser finance or lease options to finance your depreciating assets. It also includes things like getting a second mortgage on your home in order to buy a new car. Try not to borrow money as much as you can because remember that you always have to pay more back in the end.

Once again, make a plan and stick to it. Only borrow money from yourself if you absolutely need to do that. Try to exploit all of your other options before you get there.

6) You Didn’t Start Saving Early Enough

There isn’t really anything you can change about this, but you should consider making up for lost time if you can. Most people don’t start thinking about retirement until they are 40 or even older. With so much going on in your life, why would you? You have a home to buy, children to put through college, and bills to pay to raise those children. It doesn’t make sense to take money away from things like that just to use later.

Except it does.

Consider putting money into a retirement account, a TFSA, a RRSP, or even under your mattress as a way to protect your future. Make a plan for how much money you want to save by certain ages.

7) You Keep Your Savings in the Bank

No one is going to tell you that you shouldn’t have savings for your retirement. You need to have savings, but you need to make that money work as hard as you did to get it. Hire an investor or another professional to help you plan where you money goes. Invest in systems that will allow your money to grow – whether you want to play the stock market, you want to invest in real estate, or you want to use your money in other ways. If you don’t want to go through an advisor, banks have CDs and specialty accounts that will grow your money at a faster rate. Don’t settle for what you have – aim higher.

At the end of the day, retiring is one of the scariest things a person can do. No one can accurately predict what will happen in the future, especially with the political and economic conditions of the world. The best thing you can do right now is to make your money work for you, save as much money as you possibly can, and continue to work hard. Always strive for a job that will give you benefits, including ones that will give you benefits into the future.

Your life isn’t all about working and then dying – you don’t want to have to work up until the day of your funeral just so you can survive. Avoid these top 7 mistakes in order to truly have the retirement you deserve.

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The Top 5 Tax Write-Offs You Don’t Want To Miss

Tax Write-Offs


Since tax season is in full swing, we wanted to share a tax related great read. In this great read (watch?) Financial Post looks at the top 5 tax write-offs you can get right now. The information comes from respected tax expert Jamie Golombek of CIBC. In case you don’t want to watch the video, the write-offs are:

Top 5 Tax Write-Offs
  1. Medical Expenses
  2. Fertility Treatments
  3. Gluten Free Foods
  4. Disability Tax Credit
  5. Transit Passes (atleast for 2016)

Jamie goes into details for each of these write-offs and what it takes to qualify. We would highly recommend watching the full video at business.financialpost.com/tax-season/the-top-5-tax-write-offs-you-dont-want-to-miss

$400 Billion is About to Change Hands In Canada and Canadians Are Not Prepared

The largest intergenerational transfer of wealth is about to happen in Canada. Some $400 billion dollars is coming due for inheritance in the near future. However, as the article below points out, there is a distinct lack of planning on the Canadian publics part to be prepared for this.

Read on below to find out more:

Most high net worth individuals lack inheritance plan despite largest transfer of wealth coming: study

New survey suggests more than three-quarters do not have an inheritance plan. An oversight that may cut into the amount of money transferred to the next generation.

Source: business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/family-finance/high-net-worth-families/most-high-net-worth-individuals-lack-inheritance-plan-despite-largest-transfer-of-wealth-coming-study