What is the best savings plan for retirement?

best-savings-plan-for-retirement

The best savings plan for retirement saves you money on taxes now, and offers peace of mind for later.

 

The best savings plan for retirement doesn’t involve market timing or investing in stocks that carry high risk. And retirement is a subject we’re asked about all the time. It’s one we deal with on a day-to-day basis with our Successful Investor Wealth Management clients.

A fulfilling retirement is not simply a matter of accumulating sufficient wealth to give you peace of mind. It is equally a matter of knowing what you will do—in effect, ensuring that you will be as active and productive with your time as you were during your working days.

These days, more investors suffer from what you might call “pre-retirement financial stress syndrome.” That’s the malady that strikes when it dawns on you that you don’t have enough money saved to be able to earn the retirement income stream you were banking on.

If you want to pay less tax on dividends while you’re still working, investing in an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) is the way to go.

Is an RRSP the best savings plan for retirement?

RRSPs are a great way for investors to cut their tax bills and make more money from their retirement investing.

RRSPs are a form of tax-deferred savings plan. RRSP contributions are tax deductible, and the investments grow tax-free. (Note that you can currently contribute up to 18% of your earned income from the previous year. March 1 is the last day you can contribute to an RRSP and deduct your contribution from your previous year’s income.)

When you later begin withdrawing the funds from your RRSP, they are taxed as ordinary income.


Manage your portfolio successfully into retirement

Relax. You can have clear, simple guidelines on planning and enjoying a successful retirement. You benefit from our experience in the day to day work we do building wealth for our Successful Investor Wealth Management clients. We’ve packed our experience into one comprehensive guide for you—”12 Steps to the Retirement You Want.”

 

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What returns can I expect from using an RRSP?

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.

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 retirement planning, 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.

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.

Beyond RRSPs

The best savings plan for retirement you can have is to start saving as early in your working career as possible. You then invest a steady or rising amount of that money in the stock market every year. When you follow this plan, you automatically profit from dollar-cost averaging. You will automatically buy more shares when prices are low, and fewer shares when prices are high.

In retirement, you reverse the process. You live off your dividends, and sell stocks only when you need more money. When you do that, you sell your lower-quality holdings first. That way, your sales have the added advantage of upgrading the quality of your portfolio.

Of course, you can improve your returns and cut risk if you structure your retirement investing around our three-part approach at TSI Network:

  1. Invest your money mainly in well-established, dividend-paying companies.
  2. Spread your investments out across the five main economic sectors (Manufacturing & Industry, Commodities & Resources, the Consumer sector, Finance, and Utilities).
  3. Downplay or avoid stocks in the broker/media limelight.

That limelight tends to push up investor expectations to unrealizable levels. When unpleasant surprises come along, they can have a brutal impact on prices of stocks in the broker/media limelight.

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.

In your personal experience, what’s the best savings plan for retirement? Do you have an RRSP? What have you done so far to plan for your retirement?

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