Oscar-worthy retirement plans

As good as it gets: Most Canadians are saving but it won’t be enough.

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Best Actress Winner Helen Hunt and Best Actor Winner Jack Nicholson, (both for "As Good As It Gets"), pose with their Oscars 23 March 1999 at the 70th Annual Academy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Best Actress winner Helen Hunt and Best Actor winner Jack Nicholson of “As Good As It Gets” on March 23, 1998 at the 70th Annual Academy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Which past Oscar-nominated movie title best describes your retirement readiness? Investment dealer Edward Jones and Leger Marketing put the question to Canadians and found that while the majority are actively saving for retirement, only 30% will be able to retire comfortably. Take a look how Canadians responded:

Million Dollar Baby – I’m set for retirement – 8%

Bound for Glory – I’m on my way to retiring comfortably – 22%

As Good as It Gets – I’m saving as much as I can, but it will not be enough to retire – 33%

Gone with the Wind – I’m not saving for retirement – 20%

(The remaining 17% said they did not know which movie title best described their retirement savings.)

“With various expenditures vying for our attention, it can be challenging to factor in retirement savings. The simple solution is that Canadians need to get in the habit of paying themselves first,” said Patrick French, director of financial and retirement planning at Edward Jones in a press release.

“Implementing a pre-authorized contribution (PAC) plan allows individuals to treat savings like any other bill, having funds automatically flow out of their bank account and into a registered retirement savings account. It’s the first step to achieving long-term financial success, and the earlier you start the better.”

French recommends the following tips to ensure a financially secure retirement:

  • Identify retirement goals. Dining out like a movie star or dinner at home? Decide what type of lifestyle you want to live and build a financial strategy that will meet your goals.
  • Start early. It is never too late to start saving for retirement. But the earlier you start the better the opportunity you have to retire how and when you want.
  • Use retirement savings opportunities. A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is one of the best ways to save for retirement. Money contributed to an RRSP grows tax-deferred, so over the long-term it provides the opportunity to accumulate much more wealth and contributions can result in a generous tax break.
  • Invest your tax return in your RRSP. By paying your tax return forward and investing it in your RRSPs when you receive your return, you have already given yourself a head start for a tax break next year and hopefully another return.

The RRSP deadline to qualify for a return on your 2013 taxes is Monday, March 3. Visit the MoneySense RRSP Guide for more information on when, why and how to invest in RRSPs.

Leger Marketing gathered poll data using an online survey of a representative sample of 1,503 Canadians between Jan. 27 and Jan. 30, 2014. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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