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Securing your retirement with guaranteed income

Retirement used to be simple. My uncle Dan, for example, spent his entire career with one employer. He retired at 65 with a pension that provided a guaranteed monthly cheque for life. It was a typical retirement for his generation. They tended not to save much for retirement because they didn’t have to.

Unfortunately, those top-drawer defined-benefit pension plans are becoming increasingly rare. Fewer than 40 per cent of us have employer pensions of any kind and many of those that exist are the far less generous defined-contribution plans. If you have a defined-benefit plan (lucky you) and remain with the same employer for 40-plus years then your retirement may be very comfy. The rest of us have to save a lot more, manage our own investments (even if we’re not comfortable doing so) and contend with the worry about whether we’ll be enough to retire comfortably and worry free.

The book Paychecks and Playchecks: Retirement Solutions For Life by Tom Hegna is a useful guide for creating a comfortable, worry free retirement with more money than you should ever need. That’s 90 per cent of retirement planning right there.

Those who write about money are well intentioned, but lots of financial advice is either poor or unsuitable for some readers. What good is advice on investing for retirement for someone who struggles to make ends meet? What’s the value of suggesting an emergency fund for someone who piles on debt?

However, retirement comes whether you’re ready or not so even the financially challenged need to find a way to save for that inevitability. Whether that requires spending less on crap they don’t need (always good advice) or some other means of finding extra cash, it’s necessary.

Depending on your situation, you might want to use some of your money to secure your retirement with sources of guaranteed income. With stock markets being what they are, uncertainty over health care costs and increasing life expectancies, Canadians need guaranteed income more now than ever, yet fewer people have it than ever before. The book will show you how to survive the unfavourable investment market conditions that can decimate your savings if you mishandle your investments.

Canadians need to ask themselves these key questions:

  • What do you want to do with your money while you are alive?
  • What do you want your money to do when you are gone?

Those questions are crucial and everyone has different answers that depend on age, income, family situation and retirement goals. This book walks you through asking the right questions, and presents retirement solutions customized for your situation.

By using simple financial products properly, having a plan for long term care and practicing proper estate planning, Paychecks and Playchecks shows you how to retire with guaranteed lifetime income to cover your basic expenses and optimize the rest of your portfolio to provide more options.

The book is a good, useful read.

Written by Wayne Rothe

Wayne Rothe, Certified Financial Planner/Branch Manager, Wayne Rothe & Associates Wealth Management, Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc., [email protected], 780-962-1146, Spruce Grove, Alberta. These comments are the author’s and not necessarily those of Manulife Securities. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

14 Responses to Securing your retirement with guaranteed income

  1. I like the article. Makes perfect sense to me (I’m an advisor myself), but I’m not sure its for everyone. I understand that the product here is the book, but I think you haven’t done enough to convince me to buy it. A few examples would be needed to seal the deal (for me anyhow). Like I always tell my clients, a good advisor will point you in the right direction, but a great advisor will help you along the way!

    Great job! Cheers!

  2. I have not read the book but in looking on the internet for more information I see there is a Canadian version!! Any reason why it was not reviewed?

  3. Hi Wayne: I found the article very interesting. When I went to amazon.ca to purchase the book the one review said “weak on current content and not relevant to Canadians.” since you are in Alberta, I take it this is not the case? I’d like to read more about Canadian annuities for instance, and if this book includes such information I’d be eager to buy it. Thanks!

  4. Wayne,

    Probably my favourite topic.

    You list two questions. The missing one is: “How much time are you allocating to managing your Personal Retirement Fund?”

    If you don’t have the outrageous amounts the banks suggest, then you need another source of income. You can work a second job (NOT!) or you can allocate some time to learn about the myriad financial options and products available out there.

    There’s no such thing as guaranteed retirement income. What is advertised as such offers such poor returns (most of them 100% taxable) and a variety of restrictions that they should be viewed as a list of things to avoid.

    As to company pensions… As those people at Sears, others at Nortel and GM.

    Three, four decades ago, there were very few choices available to Joe Consumer and, of course, there was no Internet.

    Being in charge of your own Personal Retirement Fund is very easy today. The hardest part is to determine how much time you’ll spend on this “part-time job”, especially in the nascent stages.

    In the beginning you might need 3 or 4 hours a week – a live sports event? a few Kardashian episodes? And this may take a few years but once defined and familiar the plan will take 30 to 60 minutes a week.

    Part of the learning curve is asking the right questions – my personal stumbling block; but eventually the right answers will come. The satisfaction you’ll get from realizing that you understand the types of financial products, the income tax implications and advantages, the new understanding of RISK as it applies to you, the assimilation of more and more information is… priceless.

    If you can make a tasty sandwich or paint a room, you can benefit from getting personally involved in your Personal Retirement Fund.

    Tools, tricks? Consider the CPP, OAS & GIS as safety nets and exclude them from your Plan. Get familiar with the stock screeners of TMXMONEY and Google/Finance to see what returns you can achieve. There are many, many more you’ll learn if you allocate some time to this project.

  5. Well…for us, CPP,OAS and GIS are not safety nets. They are EVERYTHING! We have some RRSP’s and THEY are the safety nets, not the other way around.
    All you financial advisors talk as if we all have a million dollars to play with. We couldn’t come up with that if our lives depended on it. We have worked all our lives and are now in our 60’s, so it’s too late for us to improve our financial situation much. We need help so we can survive on the little that we do have available.

    • Let me recap some of my story for you. First of all, I’m not a financial advisor of any sort, but I like money and I’m very familiar with spreadsheets and the Internet, and did I say I like money.

      When I was 55 or so I was unemployed, my skill set was outdated and I could only find minimum wage jobs, most of them part-time. My RRSP would feed me for about 5-6 years. My non-RRSP money would feed me for 2 years.

      I chose to explore the possibility of making a minimum wage income from my “cash hoard”.

      I knew that many funds and companies paid dividends. That became my focus for investing. If I was not paid cash, I didn’t invest. It took me about 6 months to reach a minimum wage income.

      The key points in the story are that I was cornered, facing poverty and I acted on an alternative, an unconventional approach. No matter what I did, minimum wage and all those frustrations and expenses or explore something new that met a basic need: cash.

      What most people fear is losing some capital rather than putting whatever capital one has to work – to generate cash; capital appreciation is completely ignored.

      If you look at a stock or fund that has been paying monthly cash for 10 years or so, what does that imply about them and do for you?

      If you look at a stock/fund that focuses only on capital appreciation and has doubled in 10 years, what does that imply about them and do for you?

      Simple: you can eat from one, not from the other. Also, it says something about the management of the fund/stock: they’re good at what they do.

      To truly benefit from any investment strategy, it must be outside an RRSP because an RRSP costs too much in fees and income tax. A TFSA is OK – no fees and no income tax, but an open account and especially a Margin account are the way to go to pay very little in income taxes and have money to eat (buy a car, take a trip, whatever).

      You and I worked all our lives, have been on EI (I even had to withdraw from my RRSP after EI ran out), have believed all the gurus and politicians. In the end, we were part of the 60% of Canadians who don’t have an employer or taxpayer funded retirement fund and not enough to be relaxed about our financial future.

      We were on our own.

      But when the Internet came along, everything changed. You can make money from your computer by investing in funds and stocks that pay monthly cash in the form of dividends, return of capital, interest, capital gains.

      I have a brokerage account with a bank. Today I sit in the computer for 5-10 minutes a day to monitor and be familiar with my portfolio. When I started, it was more like 4 or more hours a day.

      Today, if you’re 40 or so, spend 2-3 hours a week for maybe a year (everybody’s different) to create/design your Personal Pension Fund, earn some principles like the rule of 72, the impact of income taxes on the various types of income generated, new terminology like Bid, Ask and Margin you’ll be happier because you’ll be in charge of your future.

      At 71, I have a 20 hour a month “job” that I can do anywhere, a job that pays me enough to do anything and pay very little income tax.

      Get familiar with the stock and dividend screeners of TMXMONEY and Google/Finance to see what returns you can achieve. It really is your choice: worry about your financial future or manage your financial future.

      • Claude you are very inspiring to me.

        I purchased this book, only to find out yes, it is geared towards Americans, Amazon website didn’t indicate you could purchase a Canadian version. I am sure there will be some information that may be helpful, but feel like someone like yourself would be more helpful to me than any internet link.

        There is so much information on the internet etc. one doesn’t know where to start or more importantly, who to believe.

        I am a 65 y/o lady,just retiring, who would love to do what you’ve done. Learn how to invest online. Have you ever considered coaching anyone?

        I’d love to hear from you. Any and all suggestions would be most appreciated.

        • Bobbi,

          I wouldn’t know how on this site; I’ve instructed some family members with some success. Also bear in mind that it takes time, determination, possibly desperation.

          As I said, I determined an initial goal: generate a minimum wage income – not accumulate capital. If you already have enough income, then possibly decide additional income at a minimum wage level.

          Set a time frame: 6 months? 12 months?

          Understand the impact of income taxes on cash income from RRSPs, TFSAs, dividends, capital gains, interest income, return of capital. You’ll be amazed at how expensive RRSP/RRIF income is.

          Very important: understand what a Margin account is and how it impacts your income taxes.

          Get very comfortable with
          – the rule of 72,
          – TMXMONEY screener for dividends,
          – become at ease with spreadsheets,
          – dig into money managers (found via TMXMONEY) that service private portfolios on a fee basis and/or manage funds that are on the TSX so that you can follow them,
          – use practice accounts on free discount brokerage websites,
          – make mistakes,
          – change how you think about retirement income vs retirement capital,
          – understand TFSAs intimately,
          – look into maximizing your RRSP withdrawals before starting CPP & OAS,
          – make more mistakes.

          All terms that I used here that you don’t understand can be defined via Google, the CRA; YAHOO|Finance has a financial glossary. You may find definitions also at your chosen discount broker.

          Whatever I promise here I can’t really support. This is why I’m giving you some topics, some websites, some targets, some tools.

          Finally, once familiar with TMXMONEY, it’s easy to find enough TSX listed symbols to seriously whet you appetite for monthly cash, satisfy your diversification needs, mitigate your risks.

          A very successful day-trader once told me that he’s ecstatic when he achieves a 66% positive result in his trades. Meaning: you can’t always be right.

          Good patience.

          • Claude

            I can’t thank you enough for all of the information you have noted here.

            I shall begin the learning curve.

            Wish me luck. If nothing else, I shall become more educated in these matters.

            Best Regards
            Have a wonderful day.

        • Bobbi,

          It’s Aug 27 ’17. I’ve been thinking about your “coaching” idea.

          I obviously like to talk about this stuff and I would like to give no cost coaching a try.

          I could meet you at the Central City Shopping Centre food court near the Subway on Wednesday Sept 30 ’17 at 11:00. I’ll wear a bright red shirt and white hair ☺.

  6. The Canadian Version is called PayCheques and PlayCheques and is also on Kindle. I suggest that you update the article with the more relevant version for Canadians, who are the ones that are reading this article!!!

    http://a.co/aWvOTN3

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