Almost retired: Are you ready for retirement?

Is this the year you are going to retire? How close are you getting to your retirement date? The baby boom started in 1946 and ended in 1966. That means the earliest boomers are just turning 65 and we are just at the beginning of a big retirement boom. Are the boomers ready for retirement?

Many Canadians have a bad case of retirement anxiety. You can’t really blame them given that every study seems to suggest that most Canadians are destined for Kraft Dinner, stale bread and tap water because we are not saving millions of dollars for retirement.

Is this really the formula necessary to have a successful and happy retirement? Do we really need to accumulate millions in our Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) to ensure that retirement will be the best years of our life?

The cure for retirement anxiety is simple

Anxiety is created because of the unknown. Your financial future is one of the biggest unknowns so it’s no wonder why we worry about retirement.

The cure for retirement anxiety is simple: Start planning for your future to create more predictability about your retirement.

Although my professional experience is rooted in the financial industry, I happen to believe we may not need the millions of dollars the financial industry suggests. Don’t get me wrong, I think money is important but it’s not everything.

Good retirement planning is about more than money

As important as it is, saving enough money for retirement is only half the battle. True retirement success comes from good planning which incorporates both money issues and lifestyle issues. If you think of these issues as circles, the more these lifestyle and money circles intersect and overlap, the more real retirement becomes. Unfortunately for some, these circles don’t intersect. For example, some people have big dreams for retirement but not enough money to pay for the lifestyle. On the flip side, others have enough money but are not really happy people.

Getting ready for retirement

One of the resources we have put together to help people get ready for retirement is our retirement checklist.

Download OUR Retirement Checklist

Here’s a short synopsis of that checklist:

1. Get organized by getting a grasp of your spending, your net worth and some of your financial goals.

2. Develop some lifestyle goals by creating your retirement to-do list.

3. Make a doctors appointment to establish some healthy lifestyle goals for retirement.

4. Determine whether debt will be a factor in your retirement. Take stock of how much debt you have and how long it will be before it is paid off.

5. Figure out your base retirement pension income. How much will your get from Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and possibly a pension plan through work.

6. Review your investment strategy to see if you have an appropriate amount of risk. Too much risk in the portfolio can be very problematic.

7. Develop a withdrawal strategy from your RRSPs. How much income? When to start? And whether you should use a RRIF or Life Annuity.

8. Review your benefit needs for life insurance as well as health and dental expenses.

9. Review your Will, power of attorney and personal directives.

10. Review your beneficiary designations on your RRSPs, TFSAs and insurance policies.

What can you add to list of things to do to get ready for retirement?


  1. My Own Advisor

    Good post, some valuable questions to ask yourself and very important “to-dos” Jim!

  2. Diana Kastelic

    Wow, Mr. Yih, I am very impressed with your articles, and your answers to people’s questions about the new CPP rules. I myself am only 47 years old, so I figure by the time I get there, there will be no money left after all those baby boomers got their paws on the CPP funds! However, I was researching this topic because I work with a Payroll department who received questions from some employees, and I found your answers (as well as Doug’s answers/clarifications/caveat answers) to be very clear and concise. I will definitely recommend your blog to anyone I know who is thinking of retirement and has questions about these topics.
    Diana Kastelic

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