Getting ready for retirement

Part of my work today is a presentation on the subject of preparing for retirement. Can you start too soon? Can you begin to set aside something for retirement when you’ve barely got enough to pay the bills?

Wendy and I invited a wealth advisor to come to our home when we were first married. We talked about our goals, set up some strategies, and crunched some numbers. Then we told him about our practice of tithing – giving 10 percent of our income to our church as a spiritual discipline. He was dumbfounded.

His strategy was rather straightforward. Take out life insurance – term only – then begin putting aside 10 percent of your income until you have the equivalent amount of money in savings to the insurance at which time he instructed us to cancel the insurance and continue to put aside that 10 percent of income. He unequivocally told us, if we continue to tithe we would never achieve our goals. It was – in his words – impossible.

But we continued with our tithing – and we saved what we could when we could. As time progressed we were able to save more. During some of those days interest rates were really high and I do remember making 20 percent interest, even once or twice up to 40 percent but the amount of money invested was rather small. Yet it was money in the bank!

Some people save so they can travel in their retirement, our objective was to be able to set ourselves up in housing where we would be comfortable in retirement. That was objective number one. We had watched my parents do just that and it made a lot of sense to us.

Did you know that the Canada Pension website has a host of tools to help you plan? They have an income calculator CANADA PENSION. You can follow that link to it – and look around they have a tool to help you calculate all sorts of parts of your retirement income.

We did a couple of other things which we offer as a sample of thinking about how you can save. We decided not to spend our child tax grant which came to us monthly – we just put it in an RRSP and so found another way to save while we lived on our regular income.

There is no perfect way, no right way, just looking ways forward while still living! I really don’t want to just work towards the future…do you? No, we want to live today too, and find balance.

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