Investor Toolkit: The right way to calculate your retirement income

Retirement Planning

Every Wednesday, we publish our “Investor Toolkit” series on TSI Network. Whether you’re a new or experienced investor, these weekly updates are designed to give you specific advice on successful investing, and on successful retirement planning. Each Investor Toolkit update gives you a fundamental tip and shows you how you can put it into practice right away.

Tip of the week: “When you work out a plan for your retirement, make sure that you aren’t basing your future income on over-optimistic calculations that will end up leaving you short.”

As the deadline for RRSP contributions approaches, many investors are confident they are taking concrete steps toward a secure retirement. But are those steps based on realistic calculations?

Let’s say you’re 50 and you want to retire at 65. You have $200,000 in your RRSP, and you expect to add $15,000 in each of the next 15 years. To determine if this is enough to retire on, you need to make assumptions about investment returns and income needs.

  • What you can expect. Long-term studies show that the stock market as a whole generally produces total pre-tax annual returns of 8% to 10%, or around 6% after inflation. For purposes of this retirement plan, we’ll assume a 6% yearly return, and disregard inflation.Your $200,000 grows to $479,312*, and your yearly $15,000 RRSP contributions add up to $370,088, for total retirement savings of $849,400.

(*Be sure to check your math. There are many compound-return calculators available online. For example, you can find a comprehensive compound-return calculator at the Bank of Canada’s web site, www.bankofcanada.ca/rates/related/investment-calculator/.)


Finding a financial advisor you can trust

Successful retirement planning begins with faith in your investment plans. Many investors say that finding an advisor they can trust is one of their biggest problems. Too often, they’ve had advisors who apply the wrong rules to their investments, frequently for reasons of self-interest.

Many of our portfolio clients tell us they chose us to manage their investments because they feel a deep sense of trust in our investment capabilities. Obviously they have confidence in the gains we have achieved, both in our newsletter recommendations and our portfolio management results. But they also feel an extra sense of trust due to the way we set up the business, to eliminate conflicts of interest, which ensures that our clients get our unbiased recommendations with no fear of hidden costs. This sets us apart from most investment services: you can find out more without any obligation.

If you hire us to manage your investments, we tailor your portfolio to your own unique situation—your specific goals, your temperament, your financial situation. We work for your convenience, not ours.

You are in very secure hands. We have an outstanding team of experts. They contribute an enormous amount of time and research to our Successful Investor Wealth Management service. But I personally approve every transaction in every portfolio. If you’d like to know more, call us toll free at 1-888-292-0296, or drop us an email.

Click here to learn more about Successful Investor portfolio management services.


  • Income and outgo. If you continue to earn 6% a year, and you withdraw $50,964 a year (6% of the $849,400 in your RRSP), you can avoid dipping into capital until your mid-70s, when RRIF rules call for steadily rising withdrawals.

    However, if you start taking money out faster, or earn lower returns, you’ll run out of money. If you withdraw $90,000 a year while earning 6%, the money you’ve accumulated will last just over 13 years. If you earn 5% but withdraw $90,000 a year, your money will be gone in just over 12 years.

  • Beware of getting caught in a vicious circle. Some investors, worried about their money eroding, or tempted by even greater gains, start to look for higher returns in riskier investments. They may take a chance with gold and silver stocks or even with high-risk junior stocks. In years when these volatile investments lose money, those investors will then have less capital for the following year. This may lead to a vicious circle of lower income and shrinking capital.

Our investment advice: Rather than taking on extra risk, we always advise investors to take the safe route to retirement planning. Save more now, work longer, or plan to spend less. Retirement leaves you with lots of free time, and filling it often costs more money than people anticipate. But postponing retirement, or working part-time as long as you’re able, can pay off in higher current income, more contentment and greater long-term security.

Coming up Next

Tomorrow we examine the prospects of a major US media company as it spins itself off into two firms.

Comments

  • After a period of superior returns, such as we have enjoyed recently, anyone retiring at such a time would be wise to assume a lower average real return going forward. Your guess is as good as mine!

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