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Finding Balance in Planning for your Retirement

By Shannon Lee Miller

Published June 17, 2019 • 3 Min Read

Living in the present and planning for the future can sometimes feel like a balancing act. Many Canadians feel stressed when thinking about retirement — so you’re not alone. The majority of working Canadians over age 50 (57 percent) say they suffer from retirement-planning stress, according to 2016 survey by the Ontario Securities Commission. Crunching the numbers can be intimidating; however, the quickest way to reduce your stress about retirement might be to sit down with your finances, explore your options, and start to ask questions. Here are a few things to remember that might put your retirement “planxiety” to rest.

You’re Not Alone

If you think everyone else has a plan for the future and you’re the lone holdout — think again. Planning for the future falls to the bottom of many Canadians’ to-do list. Almost half (46 percent) of non-retired Canadians have no plan at all for the future, and one-third (32 percent) have a plan in their head, but not on paper, according to a 2018 poll conducted by RBC. Scrutinizing your savings and preparing for a major life transition like retirement can bring up lots of emotions, you’re probably not the only person you know who may feel tempted to put off for another day.

You Might Surprise Yourself

Are you convinced you’ll never retire? You may find that living well in retirement is easier than you expect. Research released in 2015 by Benefits Canada, revealed that only 25 percent of pre-retirees expect to maintain their current standard of living but once in retirement, almost half (46 percent) of those surveyed claimed to enjoy the same quality of life as they did before.

Payments you could receive down the road such as CPP/QPP, GIS, and OAS, might be more substantial than you imagined. Once you tally up your assets, revisit old accounts, and review any stocks and bonds that might’ve fallen off your radar (Hey, it can happen!) you may find that the future looks brighter than you imagined.

You’ve Got Help

Mapping out your future may feel more like playing a guessing game than making a game plan, but you may have more resources at your disposal than you realize. Family and friends who are already retired might be more than happy to answer your questions. Having them tell you what budgeting, investment, and spending strategies work (and don’t) for them could help you paint a clearer picture of what could work for you. If planning for the future still has you feeling stuck, it might be time to visit a branch and sit down with an RBC advisor. Building a financial bridge between today and tomorrow isn’t always easy — a little help could go a long way.

If recalibrating for retirement makes you feel unsteady at first, that’s okay. With the right support — and a few deep breaths — you can find your footing, flesh out your financial plan, and take the next steps with confidence.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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