Maureen, age 20, figures she can save $400 each month; or she can keep frittering it away at the mall. She lives with her parents and they think she should save it. Dad says, "Put it into an RRSP and get a tax break as well." Her friends think RRSPs are for old fogies and she doesn't need to start thinking about retirement savings until she's 30.
We all know how easy it is to romanticize our retirement years. Many of us make lengthy lists of things we will do and experience in those golden years. We have little doubt about our ability to enjoy the perfect blend of leisure and excitement, which is what makes the very idea of retirement seem so priceless to so many of us. However, it would be a mistake to equate “priceless” with “cost-free!”
Those golden years might cost you more than you think. Are you prepared for those costs?
We are all familiar with the following perennial adage: “health is wealth”. Regardless of any financial circumstances you may have, optimum health allows you to enjoy long trips overseas, partake in your grandchildren’s life, physical activities such as golf as well as looking forward to your retirement years. No one wants to have to worry about the expenses that come with health problems in retirement. Medication is not cheap, insurance rates change and other expenses can quickly put you into debt.
Most people list tax elimination or minimization as a top priority in their estate plans. For most, Registered Savings Plans (RSPs), which includes RRSPs and RRIFs, are one of their most significant assets. Most RSP accounts hold investment funds or securities that are very liquid, often accessible within a few days.
For many nearing retirement, lifestyle choices become more significant in determining their comfort level for the rest of their lives. They must decide whether it is better to make some of those choices now or have their circumstances force lifestyle changes later in retirement. That's the dilemma faced by many people who have come to enjoy their way of life, but now realize that sacrifices will have to be made in order to maintain a similar quality of life in retirement.