Great ideas to help your retirement plan

Last week, Credit Cards Canada posted my entry to their blogging contest.  I choose to write an article on something I am very passionate about . . . helping others to plan to retire happy and make retirement the best years of your life.

Unfortunately, retirement anxiety affects many of us and it’s hard to imagine a happy and successful retirement when so many messages out there are suggesting we are all doomed to fail because we are not saving enough money.

One of the things I love most about my article on retirement anxiety is all of the comments that were posted about people’s experience, perceptions and questions on retirement planning.  I’d like to highlight some key themes that come from the comments.   These comments were really insightful … you should check them out.

Retirement planning is about saving money

Jason says “saving is very essential to get a better retire life”.  Part of saving for retirement is knowing what accounts to use.  In the US, Jason suggests some of the different retirement accounts that are designed for retirement savings like the IRA, Roth IRA and 401K.  In Canada we debate between RRSPs, TFSAs and non-registered savings.

Although we intuitively know we need to save money, the question is how much is enough?  Rob Bennett thinks retirement planning is intimidating because the numbers seem so big.  “You need to save millions and millions of dollars to retire properly.”  These big numbers might be counterproductive to encouraging people to plan.  I like his suggestion of breaking retirement savings goals into smaller, more manageable chunks.

You may not need millions and millions of dollars to retire

I think this is one of the common misconceptions of retirement.  I believe this because I know so many people that have retired happy and successful without millions of dollars in their RRSPs.  If you want to live the stereotypical retirement dream where you travel 365 days of the year, staying in 4 star hotels, eating in nice restaurants, etc, then you probably need a good chunk of change to retire.  I’ve often said that for most people, retirement is simply an extension of the life they are already living, which can be happy without millions.

I love Kim’s comment “After making my plan, I realized that I need much less than I had anticipated. As a result, my retirement anxiety has significantly decreased.”  I’ve seen this so many times where good planning actually helps people to realize they may need less money to retire than they thought.

Retirement is about more than just money

Yvonne and Carl really make this point in their comments.  Yvonne says “don’t forget to plan non-financial life goals that you wish to achieve in retirement. Do you want to work with a charity, go on that big trip, have more time to exercise, eat properly, etc.”

Carl share some practical thoughts for retirement that has nothing to do with money:

  • Volunteer in your community to lend a helping hand to those in need
  • Find peers with similar interests to bond and share leisure time
  • Consider blogging on a topic of interest or expertise
  • Get creative with a new hobby and build something unique
  • Explore your artistic side and take up painting or sculpting
  • Learn the methods for tracing genealogy and become a history detective
  • Take field trips within 50 miles of home and encounter wonders of nature
  • Write articles like this one and self-publish online to make new friends

Although money is important to retirement planning, there is more to retirement than just money.

What does a retirement plan look like?

Buck Five hits the nail on the head when he says “I went to a bank to get some help with a retirement plan and ended up walking out with a mutual fund. No wonder we all have retirement anxiety!”  I’m sure many people can relate to this.  People need to know that financial products are a very small component of a retirement plan.  Unfortunately, many financial advisors will tell you they will do a retirement plan or a financial plan “for free” but are really trying to sell you and investment or manage your portfolio for you.

A little retirement anxiety can be good

One of my favorite comments was from Mr. Ham, who claims retirement anxiety can actually be a good thing especially if it motivates someone to start developing a retirement plan.  The bigger problem over a case of retirement anxiety is a case of ignorance, denial or complacency.

Your two cents . . .

There are so many more comments to check out.  Many of these comments are really insightful.  Please feel free to throw in your two cents on my contest post.  Not only do your comments help me to win the contest (which I appreciate) but they also help others.  Share a story, comment, question or suggestion on your experience with retirement planning or retirement anxiety.  I promise to read your comments and respond.

Written by Jim Yih

Jim Yih is a Fee Only Advisor, Best Selling Author, and Financial Speaker on wealth, retirement and personal finance. Currently, Jim specializes in putting Financial Education programs into the workplace.For more information you can follow him on Twitter @JimYih or visit his other websites Group Benefits Online and Advisor Think Box.

6 Responses to Great ideas to help your retirement plan

  1. excellent, beneficial, where do you get your enthusiasm.

  2. abinash chandra says:

    We have no doubt to say that time of love has gone.Today’s is time of money and usefulness.Specially if you are old then the importance of money is more .It requires retirement planning so that you can pass a part of life time that is old like as gold.We should never forget for retirement planning while you are working life.
    Thanks,
    Abi

  3. Noah says:

    If you know your monthly expenses, which I think you would, it should be a fairly easy calculation. Your saved $300,000 should be divided by say 25 years = $12,000 p/yr. That is without anticipated growth, so a conservative estimate. Plus your Social Security check x12, plus the pension x12 , less 20% taxes, should give you a good idea of a yearly income. Add that all up, less your monthly expenses, will give you your discretionary income. Hoping that excess allows you to take a vacation or two.

  4. Irina says:

    Is there anywhere we can get information on retirement planning for immigrants who won’t get access to full CPP or OAS? All the articles I read assume full OAS and CPP as a base income, and that is just not the case for quite a few of us who came here as experienced professionals. Also information tailored specifically for singles would be good too as I believe it costs me almost as much to live as a never married single as it does a couple (home, cable, phone for example costs the same for one or two).
    Thanks!

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  6. Bill Silverberg says:

    My wife has 3000.00 to invest in a dividend paying stock
    She is 71 years of age
    What stock would you recommend ?
    Thanks
    Bill

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