Combing the Interweb for the best retirement savings tips

October 6, 2022

Years ago, when we were working away at Lakehead Living in Thunder Bay, Ont., a colleague asked us if we were contributing to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP).

“What’s that?” we asked. And once it was explained that you would get a tax refund for contributions made to an RRSP, the 25-year-old us was in – starting off at $25 per month.

What’s the best retirement savings tip out there? Save with SPP decided to have a look.

Start saving today, advises the Merrill division of Bank of America. “Start saving as much as you can now and let compound interest — the ability of your assets to generate earnings, which are reinvested to generate their own earnings — have an opportunity to work in your favour,” the bank advises.

At the InvestedWallet blog there are two tips of note – to “fund your retirement account with side hustles,” and to “ditch the lavish vacations.”

Using “side hustles,” such as “flipping furniture, using a 3D printer to make money, or completing freelance gigs” is a great way to boost savings – direct your profits there, rather than to buying furniture or taking trips, the blog advises. And on big annual trips, Invested Wallet suggests cutting back on “destination” vacations (the average vacation in the U.S. costs $1,145 per year) and instead, doing something affordable during time off and putting the saved cash into retirement.

The Forbes Advisor offers up a couple of good tips – get rid of your debt now, and not after you are retired, and “practice retirement spending now.” The first one needs no further explanation – debt is harder to pay off when you are living on less.

The “practice” tip is intriguing. Basically, the article suggests that most retirees will live on 80 per cent of what they were earning before retiring. We had a friend who was fearful about living with her first mortgage. So her husband said look, let’s bank the difference between our rent and the mortgage in the run-up to buying the house, and live on the reduced income. This idea worked, her fears were abated and by now we’re sure that house is paid for.

At Sun Life, a variety of tips are included, with a sound bit of advice being “take full advantage of your employee pension plan.” A lot of times, the company pension plan may be optional. You don’t have to join. But if you don’t, you are missing out on putting away money for retirement, often with an employer match.

If you are in a defined benefit pension plan, be sure to find out if there are ways to purchase service for periods of time when you were off on a maternity or parental leave. Your future you will thank you later.

We’ll add a few others we have gleaned over the years.

Make your saving automatic – contribute something towards your retirement every payday, and up it when you get a raise. You will be paying yourself first.

A nice place to put your Canada Revenue Agency tax refund is back into your SPP or RRSP account. You’re making the refund tax-deductible.

Start small. We started with $25 a month nearly 40 years ago. Don’t think you have to start off big, or you may never start off at all!

If you haven’t started saving yet, a wonderful resource to be aware of is the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. It’s open to any Canadian with RRSP room. With SPP, you can contribute any amount you want, up to $7,000 per year, and can transfer up to $10,000 a year from other RRSPs. SPP will pool your contributions, invest them at a low cost, and grow them into a future source of retirement income. Check out SPP today!

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

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