Feb 6: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

February 6, 2023

Article warns of five “myths” about retirement

Writing for Kelowna’s Castanet blog, Brett Millard examines what he describes as five top “myths” about retirement.

The first such myth, he writes, is the belief that “the cost of living will be lower in retirement.”

Canadians may think “their income needs will be much lower once they stop working. After all, they won’t have those commuting costs or need to make mortgage payments,” he writes. But, the article notes, travel costs are likely to increase for the newly retired, and “plenty of Canadians have debt in retirement.”

Those of us retiring with debt are facing rising interest rates, which will “have an impact on your disposable income,” the article continues. We may also have to help struggling adult children, the article points out.

Finally, longevity — living longer — can impact your bottom line, the article notes. The longer you live, the more you’ll need to pay towards “in-home care, a care home, or renovations to make your home more accessible.”

The next myth, Millard writes, is that “registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) are a complete retirement plan.” The article points out that RRSP income is not usually sufficient for all one’s needs, noting that most Canadians will be counting on other sources, such as “the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), company pension plans, Tax Free Savings Accounts,” and such sources as non-registered investments or income from rental properties.

“RRSPs are one part of an investment plan, but a real retirement plan also includes estate planning, life insurance and tax efficiencies,” Millard’s article advises.

The next myth is that “one million dollars is enough for retirement.”

Millard writes that for a variety of reasons — such as when you start your retirement, and what other sources of retirement income you have — setting a target of $1 million might not be right for you. “The amount that any investor will need when they retire will depend on a whole array of variables, with the target amount being unique to each person,” the article notes.

Lifestyle, the activity level of your retirement, possible inheritances — these all factor into determining how much you actually need to save for retirement, the article explains.

The final two myths are that “retirement plan portfolios should be conservative,” and that you should “never carry debt into retirement.”

On the first point, the older “conservative” investment idea was based on assuming a shortish retirement, the article says.

“Now, Canadians could realistically expect their retirement to last 25 years or longer. Retirement portfolios that need to support you for this many years aren’t going to experience significant growth if they’re made up exclusively of fixed income. A conservative retirement portfolio runs the risk of running out of money,” the article notes.

The “no debt” rule, the article contends, “is not realistic or practical” these days, as “close to half of Canadians carry some sort of debt.” Instead, the article suggests, work on paying down high-interest debt from credit cards, which the article describes as bad debt.

The overall message in this well-written piece is that there’s a lot of factors to consider when thinking of retirement, so rather than going by “myths,” you may want to consult a financial planner.

The government benefits most of us receive in retirement — CPP, OAS, and even the Guaranteed Income Supplement — are paid for life, and therefore cannot “run out.”

Yet many people who have RRSPs choose to continue investing them in retirement via a registered retirement income fund (RRIF), rather than choosing to convert any of their savings into income via a lifetime annuity.

If you’re a member of the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, you have the option, at retirement, to convert some or all of your account into an annuity. That way, you’ll never run out of retirement savings in the future. 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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