A retirement savings plan is a way of protecting your post-retirement financial lifestyle. However, in recent times, recessions, stock-market declines, housing market bubbles, joblessness, and a global pandemic have created a series of challenges for people trying to start, grow, or maintain a retirement savings plan. With all these economic uncertainties, it’s natural to wonder if you’re doing all you can to protect your retirement nest egg. Taking a back to basics approach can instruct you on how to keep your retirement financial plan on track during uncertain economic times and beyond.
The question of reducing debt or contributing to savings will continue to be debated for as long as people plan to retire in Canada.
Of course opting for both: reducing debt and increasing savings is the ideal. As for which is better, however, really depends on the individuals involved, their goals and feelings, and their unique financial situations.
If you find you just can’t decide whether to save or pay off, start by contributing to a TFSA; those deposits can easily be withdrawn and applied to your mortgage in the future.
We all know the cost of goods and services rises over time. Single postage stamps that cost 85 cents just 3 years ago now cost a dollar. The same thing has happened to virtually everything we purchase. This is what we call “inflation” – a sustained rise in the cost of goods and services over time. It also means that the purchasing power of a dollar decreases over time because you need more and more dollars to buy the exact same goods or services. This has important implications for your savings; especially in your retirement years.
Capital Gains tax occurs when you sell capital property for more than you paid for it. In Canada, you are only taxed on 50% of your capital gain. For example, if you bought an investment for $25,000 and sold it for $75,000 you would have a capital gain of $50,000. You would then be taxed on 50% of the gain. In this instance, you would pay tax on $25,000. In Canada, there are some legitimate ways to avoid paying this tax: Tax shelters, Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption, Capital Losses, Deferring, and Charitable Giving.
Imagine you woke up today and could no longer go to work – Would you be able to pay your bills? What if you are diagnosed with cancer and must travel for treatments? Could you afford to lose your income and pay for healthcare expenses?
For most Canadians, the answer is no. A survey conducted by RBC found that 50% of Canadians could not afford to take time off work if needed. Luckily, there is a solution available.
Ever feel like your money is not going as far as it used to? Do not worry, you are not imagining it. You can blame inflation. Inflation is the rising price of goods and services over time. This rise impacts your purchasing power. Though it can be discouraging to think that inflation is eating away at the value of your assets, economists consider a small amount of inflation indicative of a healthy economy. Inflation encourages consumer spending and corporate productivity.
If you are nearing retirement, you may be starting to think about creating retirement income for yourself from your RRSPs. Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) are considered accumulation vehicles. This means they are used to save for your retirement in a tax efficient way. When the time comes to start using your hard-earned savings to fund your retirement, you may want to consider moving them to a payout vehicle called a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF).
The amount deposited into a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) is subject to a yearly contribution limit. For 2020, and again in 2021, the annual limit has been set at $6,000. As of 2021 the lifetime maximum contribution has grown to $75,500.
If an over-contribution is made Canada Revenue Agency will levy penalties.
Every investor wants to know the answer to the question, “How much money will I need to retire?” Many factors contribute to this determination and it is unique for everyone. For example, someone who earns $70,000 per year will likely be able to live comfortably on $60,000 per year in retirement, but another person who makes $200,000 each year will likely not find that income level realistic. There is a simple way to discover the amount of retirement income you and your family will require, and it is called the Financial Independence Number.
If you have been a good saver and contributed religiously to your RRSP, you should be rewarded with a sizeable six or seven figure RRSP that would make your retirement that much more enjoyable. The only issue now is – how do you get the money out of the RRSP without paying more tax than you should? Typically, it is advised that investors leave their RRSPs alone for as long as possible to take advantage of the tax-free growth. While this can be true for many people, it is important to crunch the numbers before you retire to make sure this makes the most sense for your unique retirement situation. Many retirees, especially those with a high net worth, may find there could be a more efficient way to withdraw retirement income.