Yahoo! Finance

Jan 10: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

January 10, 2022

New year, new plan to fix your finances?

Writing for the GoBankingRates blog via Yahoo! Finance, Jennifer Taylor suggests that the start of 2022 is a great time to review your personal finances.

“The new year is here and you’re ready to make serious changes to your financial situation,” she writes. “Whether you’re buried in credit card debt, haven’t started saving for retirement or don’t currently have an emergency fund, you’re committed to turning things around in 2022,” the article continues.

She raises an interesting idea, courtesy of Ryan Klippel of Optas Capital – that your budget for this year should be focused on whether or not “you were cash flow positive or negative last year.”

If you were cash flow positive – meaning you had money left over after meeting all your obligations – “great, now set a savings goal for 2022” for the extra money, the article suggests.

If, on the other hand, you were cash flow negative – meaning you have more obligations than money – “spend the time to determine what expenses were luxuries versus necessities, and trim accordingly,” the article notes.

For those of us with debts to address, states Klippel in the article, “sometimes setting smaller goals to start is better than overly ambitious ones. For example, it is much more realistic and digestible to eliminate credit card debt for one card than five.”

The rest of the article offers tips on how to turn your personal financial ship of state around.

  • Save more money: Even if you could save just 10 per cent of your salary per month – leaving you 90 per cent to spend – you’d have a full year’s salary in the bank after 10 years, the article suggests.
  • Retirement savings: Pay your future self first, the article suggests, and make retirement savings a priority, even over saving for kids’ education. Often, people want to do more things in retirement than they have done in their working lives, so more retirement income is positive, the article adds.
  • Don’t let money control your life: It’s easy to get into the cycle of living paycheque to paycheque, but the article advises that “gratification comes when you take control of your life and the power you get when you wake up and realize you have money in the bank.”

Other great ideas suggested in the article include building up your emergency fund, changing your spending habits (via reflecting on how you spend and having a plan to change your ways), and paying your credit card in full each month.

This last one is particularly good advice. There are a lot of us who can’t pay off credit card balances. That basically means we are “buying” things that we won’t pay for in full for years, all while getting charged double digit interest. Often, one ends up in a “pay the bank first” scenario, due to rising minimum payments on credit card balances. Turning this around so that you pay the thing off in full will mean you can bid a fond farewell to all that compounding interest – and create a new pool of cash that you can put away for your future retirement years.

As we start a new year, your financial planning should for sure focus on retirement savings. The Saskatchewan Pension Plan equips you with a do-it-yourself, end to end retirement system that takes your contributions, invests them, and turns that nest egg into future retirement income. You can even get a lifetime pension through SPP’s family of annuity options. Find out how SPP can help you pre-build a secure retirement!

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.


Oct 4: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

October 4, 2021

Despite pandemic, retirement savings are still ticking along: report

As the brutal financial impacts of the pandemic washed over us – businesses forced to close, workers laid off, and so on – many observers expected that retirement savings might have to be raided so people could keep afloat.

New research from the U.S. suggests otherwise, reports Yahoo! Finance.

Recent research carried out by the Investment Company Institute found that “most Americans have not taken any withdrawals from their defined contribution (DC) retirement plans,” Yahoo! Finance reports. As well, “the vast majority of U.S. savers have continued to make contributions to their plans through the pandemic,” the article notes.

“Despite the economic challenges over the past year and a half, retirement savers show deep commitment to preserving their retirement nest eggs,” Sarah Holden, ICI senior director of retirement and investor research, states in the article. “The combination of ongoing contributions and few participants taking withdrawals reflects DC plan participants’ long-term mindset and preference to keep this money earmarked for retirement and avoid dipping into it.”

Paradoxically, the pandemic – a period where many thought money would be very tight – has turned out to be a period of higher rates of savings, the article notes.

“Though many households have been faced with financial constraints over the past year and a half, the aggregate personal savings rate has increased since COVID-19 first reared its head in the beginning of 2020,” the article states.

Indeed, here in Canada, the CBC reports that the average Canadian has saved $5,000 during the pandemic, thanks to “the combined impact of reduced spending and collecting more money from government support programs,” the broadcaster reports.

With less to spend on, Canadians attacked their debt loads and were still able to stash away “$5,574 per Canadian on average in 2020, compared to $479 in the previous year,” the CBC notes.

Back in the U.S., the ICI report found that only “1.1 per cent of all DC plan participants stopped contributing to their plans in the first half of 2021,” reports Yahoo! Finance.

It’s good to hear that people generally are leaving their retirement savings alone, despite the strange economy and overall odd spending era the pandemic has brought us. No matter what’s going on today, eventually all of us will reach an age where the income we get from working declines, and the income we need from our savings escalates.

Workplace pensions certainly help with retirement income; if you are in a program at work, be sure to maximize your participation if you can. If you don’t have a workplace pension plan, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan is a voluntary DC plan that professionally invests your savings and can help you turn it into an income stream when you hang up your working hat for the last time. They’ve been doing it for 35 years – check out SPP today!

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.


July 26: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

July 26, 2021

Your 20s may be the best time to start saving for retirement

Writing for Yahoo! Finance, Phoebe Dampare Osei points out that your 20s is a good time to start saving for retirement.

“Your 20s is that decade where society says you’re old enough to have some responsibilities, but young enough that you haven’t quite settled down yet,” she writes. She notes that statistics from the U.K., where she is based, show most couples aren’t getting married until their 30s these days, a big change from the 1970s when they married younger.

Similarly, U.K. stats show people aren’t buying their first homes until they are in their 30s or older, she adds.

“But what about life after 60? It may seem odd to be thinking so far ahead, but your future you, will thank your present you, if you take care of yourself now,” writes Dampare Osei. We love that sentiment!

Her suggestions:

  • “In your 20s you have fewer responsibilities than someone much older, so it’s easier to save now than a lot more later with more financial pressure.”
  • “State pension alone will not cover you — check with your employer to make sure you are eligible and auto-enrolled.” (Auto-enrolment in a workplace pension plan is not a common practice in Canada – so here at home it’s up to you to find out if there’s a retirement plan and how you can qualify to join it.)
  • “If you do not have enough money saved for retirement you may have to keep working beyond state pension age. Working into your 70s if you don’t have to and don’t want to doesn’t sound like much fun.”

This last point is very true. Many people without retirement savings simply say to themselves well, I’ll keep working until 70. That sounds great when you are younger and healthier, but will you be healthy enough to keep punching the clock by age 70? Not everyone is.

She raises a good argument about state benefits not being all that great.

To Candianize this a bit, the current maximum benefit from the Canada Pension Plan is $1203.75, but the average amount is $706.57, according to the federal government’s own site.

The maximum Old Age Security payment, again per the government’s web, is $626.49.

In fairness to the government, these benefits were never intended to provide the only income people receive in retirement – when they were launched, most people had workplace pensions, and these programs were designed to supplement that.

So the most anyone could get from both programs is a little over $1,800 a month – and not everyone qualifies for the maximum.

The point Dampare Osei makes is a very good one. When you are young, single, and just starting out in the workforce, you probably don’t have as many expenses as you will when you’re in your 30s, married, raising kids and paying a mortgage. So it’s a good time to start your retirement savings program.

Another great reason to start early is the “magic” of compounding. The longer your money is invested, the more dividends and interest it will accrue.

As an example, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan has averaged an eight per cent rate of return since its inception 35 years ago. And while the past rate of return is of course no guarantee of what SPP will do in the future, the track record is worth noting. If there isn’t a workplace pension plan to sign up for, the SPP may be just the thing for you. And as Dampare Osei correctly notes, your future you will be very pleased if the current, youthful you gets cracking on retirement now rather than later.

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.


July 5: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

July 5, 2021

Does being broke have an upside – better money management skills?

An interesting column by Terri Huggins, published on Yahoo! Finance, provides a unique take on being broke.

Huggins (who freely admits to having lived through many broke years) takes the position that so-called broke people may actually be better with money than those who are, for want of a better phrase, unbroke.

When you have less money overall, she writes, “financial awareness becomes more of a survival tactic than a money habit.”

People without money don’t have the “luxury” of “putting off dealing with… financial fears and stresses.” She says that while living on a shoestring is certainly not much fun, “there is a silver lining… being forced to think about money constantly means you naturally become very good at thinking about money!”

This includes, she adds, “managing money problems and coming up with financial solutions that fit your immediate needs.”

The downside, Huggins, says, is that those low on income are naturally forced to focus on “immediate needs – with little thought for the long term.” If you are having trouble making this month’s rent, saving up money in an emergency fund is “pointless.”

She recalls her own broke years, where “every day was a financial emergency. How can you contemplate saving for retirement when you’re unsure if you’ll have enough to pay for food this month?”

The fact that those living on very tight money can’t realistically save for retirement or emergency funds sometimes gets them painted as being “bad with money,” Huggins writes. But the money management skills of those on low incomes may be quite the opposite, she says. “Broke or poor or otherwise financially struggling people everywhere are forced to make tough decisions every day, gamble with those decisions, and make sacrifices to somehow fund the things that truly matter.”

She summarizes the chief money insights that “broke” people have, and that others may wish to adopt:

  • Mastering money tracking – they know exactly how much money they have, and exactly what their bills are going to be
  • Every expense is a mindful decision – broke people don’t have the privilege of making “poorly thought out purchases on a whim.”

Huggins argues that so-called “financially sound” people probably don’t know what they make and what all their expenses are. She suggests they are far more prone to make impulse purchases or poorly thought-out decisions. Now that she herself is no longer on the broke side of the equation, she concludes by saying “I’m still able to take those broke-learned money management lessons with me as I strive to grow my savings, expand my investment portfolio, and create wealth for years to come.”

There’s a lot of very good advice here. We all live through periods of tight money – some of us for a while, others for many long years. If you know exactly what there is to spend on bills each month, and how much you’re earning, you are in command.

And when you get to that period where your income is more than the sum total of your monthly bills, be sure to think of your future. Once your personal finances are running in the black, put away a little of your personal “surplus” to help make life easier for your future self. A great place to stash that extra cash can be the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, where you can start small and build up your savings as your income grows. Check them out today!

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.


APR 5: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

April 5, 2021

Will your retirement dreams align with retirement realities?

Let’s face it – if you asked a bunch of folks what they think retirement looks like, more than a few would imagine it involves a sunny beach, a cool tropical drink, feet up, and full relaxation.

And maybe it does. But a new U.S. study has found that in reality, retirement isn’t always what we expect it will be.

An article in Yahoo! Finance, citing research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), notes that retired American seniors find they are “wrestling with spending worries, forced retirement and an identity crisis.”

EBRI’s Lori Lucas tells Yahoo! Finance that “We expect retirement is going to be one thing and then when you actually get into retirement, as your priorities have changed, you’re not as excited about doing things that you thought you were going to be excited about.”

The survey, the article continues, found that “fewer than one in four Americans think their current retirement lifestyle aligns with what they planned for their retirement to be.”

Travel, the story notes, takes a back seat to health and wellness as a top concern – 81 per cent put it first, with “quality time spent with family and friends” next at 68 per cent.

“You’re more excited about the quality of your relationships, and things that are not going to cost as much as we thought they were going to cost,” Lucas tells Yahoo! Finance.

The article also notes that after a lifetime of saving for retirement, there is a genuine reluctance to start tapping into the nest egg – even though that’s exactly why we saved it!

Six of 10 respondents in the EBRI survey “wanted to spend down only a small portion of assets, spend none at all, or grow their assets,” the article tells us.

Two other bits of advice the article provides are these:

  • Once you are in your 60s, retirement could come at any time – even before you plan it. “Layoffs, health or other reasons” can be behind an “unplanned” exit from the worforce, the article says.
  • There can be an “identity crisis” for retirees if they are leaving a job that they really felt defined them as people. Even retired people get asked what they did when they were working, which “almost makes it (retirement) seem like a less important existence,” the article adds.

The article says it is important to “fill your time with meaningful activities to give yourself that sense of purpose that you might lose” once you are retired. Another option is to ease into full retirement via retiring part-time – keeping busy with consulting, part-time work or “professional mentorships,” the article concludes.

Save with SPP, out of the full time work force for a seventh year, can attest to these latter points. You need to do something to replace the 40 hours – more if you count commuting time – that you’ve spent earning money to support your family. New interests, and reviving old ones, are among the keys to making your time more meaningful.

Fun is often expensive, however. Be sure you have a regular plan to save money for retirement. If you lack a plan, and really aren’t sure how to go about starting one, take a look at the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. You can start building an SPP nest egg slowly, and then ramp it up as you earn more. And when it’s time to give up your parking spot at work, SPP will help turn those saved, well-invested dollars into a stream of income to help finance your retirement “to-do” list. SPP, after all, has been in the business of securing retirement futures for 35 years.

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.


Should we still be savers after we retire?

March 11, 2021

The mental image most of us have of the retirement process is quite clear – you save while you work, and then you live on the savings while retired.

But is this a correct view of things? Should people be adding to their savings once they’ve stepped away from a long life of endless meetings, emails, Zoom or conference calls, and annoying performance reviews? Or not?

Save with SPP decided to scout this out on the good old Interweb.

What we notice is that when you query about “saving after retirement,” you’ll find lots of advice about how to save by spending less. For example, U.S. News & World Report suggests things like asking for senior discounts, shopping “for cheap staples online,” downsizing your home or hobbies, etc.

You’ll also find general advice on saving that can apply to folks of any age – Yahoo! Finance points out that you need to “spend less than you earn,” and “grow and invest your money.”

The type of advice we’re looking for is more along the “pay yourself first” rule that our late Uncle Joe lived by until almost age 90; and Yahoo! Finance does have a bit of that.

“When people say `pay yourself first,’ they mean you should take your savings out of your paycheque as soon as it hits your chequing account to make sure you save something before you spend it all on bills and other expenses. The key to saving successfully is to save first, save a lot — 10 per cent to 20 per cent is often recommended — and save often,” the article states. Uncle Joe would endorse this thinking.

But it’s not clear this article is aimed at retirees – so is putting money systematically away when retired even a thing?

Maybe, but perhaps not quite in the way Uncle Joe might have envisioned.

MoneySense notes that Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) are a great savings tool for older, retired Canadians.

The article suggests that if you are retired, and don’t need to spend all the income from your Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) or other sources, like a pension, a great home for those dollars is the TFSA.

“Unlike Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and RRIFs you can keep contributing new money into TFSAs after age 71. Even if you live to celebrate your 101st birthday – as my friend Meta recently did – you can continue to pump (the TFSA annual maximum) to your TFSA, as Meta has been doing,” the article explains.

“In contrast, you can no longer contribute to RRSPs after the year you turn 71 (or after the year the youngest spouse turns 71), and even then this depends on either carrying forward RRSP room or earning new income,” MoneySense tells us. So the TFSA is a logical savings account, and is still open to older folks.

Our late father-in-law gleefully directed money from his RRIF (after paying taxes) to his TFSA, so that he could continue to invest and save.

The TFSA has many other benefits, including the fact in can be transferred tax-free to a surviving spouse. An article in the Globe and Mail points out a few other interesting TFSA facts – investments must be Canadian, you can re-contribute any amounts you cash out, and your contribution room carries forward, the article notes.

It would appear then, that “saving” after retirement means two things – it means budgeting and bargain hunting to make your income last longer, and it means using savings vehicles like TFSAs to manage taxation. That’s probably the answer – when you’re working, taxes are simple to manage. You get a T4, your employer is usually deducting the correct amount of taxes, so filing income tax is simple. It’s more complicated for retirees with multiple income streams and chunks of withdrawn RRIF money.

You will have a greater opportunity to save when you are retired if you put away some cash now, before they give you the gold watch. The less retirement income you have, the tighter your future budget will be. If you haven’t got too far yet on the retirement savings trail, why not have a look at the Saskatchewan Pension Plan? You can set up a “pay yourself first” plan with SPP, which allows contributions via direct deposit. Money can be popped into your retirement nest egg before you have a chance to spend it – always a good thing. Be sure to check out SPP, celebrating 35 years of delivering retirement security in 2021!

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.


NOV 2: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

November 2, 2020

How much should we put putting away in savings?

We are bombarded by advice on why we should be saving more – but how much is “enough” when it comes to filling the piggy bank?

An article from Morningstar UK takes a look at this problematic question.

How much to save, the article tells us, “will depend on a number of factors: what you’re saving for, how soon you might need the money, and how much you can afford.”

Fair enough. The article goes on. “Saving money is important, but not at the expense of putting yourself in financial difficulty. Paying off credit cards or loans should generally take priority over savings, because the interest rates on this type of debt are typically much higher than the interest you can earn on your savings,” the article notes, adding that “a growing debt pile will only wipe out any returns you earn on your savings.” to save.

The article proposes a sort of savings formula, which the writers call the “the 50-30-20” rule.

Through this formula, half of your money – 50 per cent – goes to “necessities, including groceries, monthly bills like your phone, as well as paying your rent and mortgage.”

The next chunk of cash – 30 per cent – should be for “the things you don’t need but which make you happy,” such as dining out or shopping for clothes.

It’s the last tranche of moolah – 20 per cent – that Morningstar UK feels should be directed to saving. “This money can be invested in a pension, put into a rain day fund” or some sort of fixed-income savings vehicle, like a guaranteed investment certificate.

“Chunking your money in this way is an easy strategy to manage your finances because it means you know exactly how much you have to spend and to save each month. It also means that you automatically increase the amount you save when your income rises because you are setting aside a percentage of your money rather than a set amount,” the article concludes.

If, on reading this, you think “man, this just won’t work with my bills,” have no fear, the article says.

“Most of us have bills to pay, student loans to grapple with and families to feed, and this limits the amount of spare money there is to save each month. In fact, it’s estimated that around 40 per cent of Brits in their twenties have no savings at all,” the article notes.

“But the key point is: saving something – anything, however small – is better than saving nothing.”

It’s a great piece of advice. If you can’t save 20 per cent of what you make, it’s not a crime. Start with what you can. Then, when you’ve paid off a credit card or credit line, direct some of what you were paying to savings. You’ll be surprised how the money will begin to pile up.

With our Saskatchewan Pension Plan (www.saskpension.com), we put in a small percentage of our pay, but also winnings from lottery tickets, money from taking back empties, yard sale proceeds – any little extra amounts. The balances in our retirement savings accounts are getting fairly substantial after being at it for 10-plus years, and we have been transferring money into SPP from our registered retirement savings plans. Be sure to check out the SPP – they have the investing know-how and solid track record to help make your retirement savings grow.

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.


Here’s what you shouldn’t do once retirement arrives

March 26, 2020

We spend much time seeking out great value-adding, life-enhancing things one can do in retirement. But here’s a worried thought – what shouldn’t we be doing in our life after work?

Save with SPP had a look around with a different theme, this time – what not to do!

The USA Today newspaper lists a number of things to not do in your crucial first year of retirement.

A key mistake, the newspaper notes, is “not having a financial or life plan.” David Laster, a U.S. financial author, is quoted in the article as saying “only 42 per cent of workers try to calculate a budget before going into retirement. If you don’t do that, that leaves you vulnerable to some unpleasant surprises in retirement. And it can be painful.”

Other things to watch out for in year one, USA Today adds, are overspending, claiming government benefits too early (you get more the longer you wait) and being too conservative with investments.

At the Yahoo! Finance site, author Gabrielle Olya adds a couple more – ignoring inflation, and not seeking the advice of a financial planner.

“Although the inflation rate seems minimal, it still affects how far your dollar will go,” she writes. “This is especially true for money held in fixed savings accounts, which unlike money in certain investments, will lose value over time.”

Going it alone on finances, she warns, may mean you are “losing out on how to improve (your) financial readiness.”

The Gilbert Guide blog adds a few more, including having too many cars, moving at the wrong time, and getting “sold or scammed on services you don’t need.”

Try to avoid having multiple vehicles, the blog suggests. One will do for most retired couples.

Moving is a very important consideration as well, the blog notes. According to retirement specialist Bill Losey, who is quoted in the article, “many people relocate based on a couple of specific factors, such as low real estate costs or low taxes, then discover that other costs more than eat up their savings.”

Losey goes on to say in the article that if you make an expensive move – then change your mind and move back where you started from – the move is even more costly. Before choosing a retirement move, the blog advises, consider “hidden costs” such as property taxes, sales taxes, grocery costs, and other basics. Staying put may make more sense, the blog advises.

Save with SPP has noted a few other things. If you consider your retirement to be an unending vacation of travel, meals out, expensive hobbies and doing new things, you may run out of money before you run out of ideas. It is perhaps better to think of retirement as being a permanent weekend – you won’t be going into work, sure, but you won’t be jetting to the south of France either. You’ll be shovelling the driveway and trying to get the wretched filters to stay in the range hood after you’ve cleaned them. It’s important to be practical, and enjoy life within your means.

A nice feature for folks who save for retirement via the Saskatchewan Pension Plan is the fact that it offers life annuities when you retire. With an annuity, you get a pre-set payment every month for the rest of your life. You can never run out of money, and SPP allows you to provide for a surviving spouse or beneficiary as well, so you can pay that security forward. Check them out today.

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. He and his wife live with their Shelties, Duncan and Phoebe, and cat, Toobins. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22

Dec 30: Best from the blogosphere

December 30, 2019

Making some retirement savings resolutions for a new decade 

It’s hard to believe that we’re on the cusp of a new decade – welcome to the ‘20s.

At least – like the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s – there won’t be confusion about what to call this coming era. We never heard a good name for the 2000s and the 2010s. So we bid them adieu.

Save with SPP likes to start any new year with some resolutions; what little tips we could consider following to increase our retirement savings efforts in the year, and decade, to come.

Here’s some good advice we found.

Plan, understand and scan: A Yahoo! Finance article on the lack of preparedness for retirement in Canada says we need to do three key things – plan, understand and scan. You can start your plan by first determining how much you want to have as retirement income, and then calculate how much you need to save to get there. Knowing how much you’ll need in the future requires understanding how much you are spending now. And be sure to scan your retirement savings account periodically “to ensure your retirement plan is headed in the right direction.”

Start as early as you can: According to the folks at Nasdaq people need “to save as much as they can in their early years to enable their invested savings to compound over decades.” The average rate of return for the US S&P 500 index, the article notes, has been 10 per cent per annum since 1926 – so that includes two major crashes. What that means is that money can double every 7.2 years, the article notes. It’s all about growth, the article advises.

Make it automatic:  An article from the Career Addict blog urges us to make our savings plans automatic. “Have a direct debit set up so you can automatically (save),” the blog advises. “You can even set up an account that’s not accessible by Internet banking so you’re not tempted to tap into these funds when you feel you have an `emergency.’”

Consider an RRSP for your retirement savings: The folks at BMO note that if you save for retirement using an RRSP or similar vehicle, your contributions “are tax-deductible” and “your investments grow tax-free.” The income you withdraw from an RRSP will be taxable, a point often overlooked by those using them.

Get out of debt: The Motley Fool blog sees getting out of debt as a critical first step towards having a retirement savings plan. “Make paying down debt a priority,” the blog advises. Even if your only debt is a low interest mortgage, the blog suggests you pay that off before you retire to reduce the stress of paying it down on a reduced income.

An important thing to note here is that no one is saying “don’t worry about saving for retirement.” Even if you have some sort of pension arrangement at work, saving a little extra will be a move you’ll appreciate when you’ve reached the golden age of retirement.

The Saskatchewan Pension Plan offers many of the features outlined here. You can start young, or when you are older, and SPP allows you to set up automatic deposits. Contributions you make are tax-deductible and grow tax-free, just like an RRSP. And since SPP is locked in, you won’t be able to raid the piggy bank for a pre-retirement expense – it’s sort of like giving money to your parents to hang on for you. Check SPP out today, you’ll be glad you did.

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, classic rock, and darts. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22

Apr 15: Best from the blogosphere

April 15, 2019

A look at the best of the Internet, from an SPP point of view

DC industry looks at automatic enrolment, waiving waiting periods

Getting people to save for retirement is never easy – even, it seems, if they have a defined contribution (DC) workplace pension plan.

A report in Benefits Canada on their recent DC Summit held in Banff, Alta., says a roomful of DC sponsors, industry officials and investment people “recently compiled a wish list for DC plans.”

On that list – auto-enrolment and mandatory contributions. As well, the sponsors discussed “the suggestion to shorten or eliminate any probation period required before new employees can join a workplace plan.”

Auto-enrolment, the article explains, has already been rolled out in the UK. The idea is that instead of letting an employee decide whether or not to join, you just automatically enroll them – if they don’t want to be in the plan, they can opt out. This “nudge” approach works, because most people, once in, don’t bother to opt out.

The other ideas are similar – mandatory contributions meaning, once you are in, you stay in, and can’t decide to stop contributing. And getting rid of waiting periods would ensure people join more quickly, allowing them to contribute more.

The author of the article, Jennifer Paterson, explains it all very well. “For my part, I’m extremely supportive of this type of legislation. I believe one of the most fundamental barriers to retirement savings is inertia, so I welcome anything the government and employers can do to ensure people automatically join a workplace plan with mandatory contribution levels, and do so as soon as possible.”

Save with SPP agrees strongly. Workplace pension plans of any sort are increasingly hard to come by in most private sector companies, so it is essential that those who can join, do. They will certainly thank themselves in the future for having done so.

Another nice trend spotted lately is the return of savings optimism, not seen for some time. A recent CNBC survey found Americans were more confident (30 per cent) or much more confident (27 per cent) about their ability to save for retirement versus three years ago.

“With the economy in its 10th year of expansion, wages creeping up and unemployment below 4 per cent, experts say being in a better place financially is a good opportunity to address your savings anxiety,” the article notes.

If you are fortunate enough to have a retirement program at work, be sure to join it if you haven’t already. And if you don’t, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan provides a way for you to create your own plan. Once you enrol, you can set your level of contributions and can choose to increase what you pay in whenever you get a raise. And SPP is a full-featured plan, in that there’s a simple way, once you retire, to turn those hard-saved dollars into income for life. Be sure to check it out today!

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, classic rock, and darts. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22