How women can plan for a longer retirement

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How women can plan for a longer retirement

Canadian senior women live an average of three years longer than men, while their annual retirement income is significantly lower. That means careful planning is even more important if you’re a woman. Make sure you’re on track for a long — and financially secure — retirement.

1. Know your CPP, OAS, GIS

These important acronyms stand for Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement. You can learn more about these public pensions, find out which ones you qualify for and estimate how much you could receive at the Government of Canada site.

2. Choose your investments

An investment strategy can help you achieve the growth you need to build a nest egg that will support you through 20 or 30-plus years of retirement. It should also consider how your investment mix will change over time, so that the proportion of safer investments increases closer to retirement. Your investment advisor will work with you and recommend investments based on your comfort with risk, your savings goals, and your time until retirement.

3. Use registered funds

The Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) were designed to help people maximize long-term savings. It’s important to understand how these tools work and how to best use them for your situation. Depending on your income, your spouse’s income if you are married, and your anticipated income level during retirement, you might choose to hold your savings in RRSPs, spousal RRSPs, TFSAs, or some combination of these. Your financial advisor can help you figure out how to get the greatest benefit from these savings vehicles.

4. Protect yourself with insurance

If you have a spouse or common law partner, life insurance is an important tool to help preserve your current lifestyle and protect your financial wellbeing if your loved one passes and you find yourself having to cope on your own.

5. Think like a team

If you are married or have a common law partner, it’s important to consider all of your financial planning jointly. Estate planning (including wills and beneficiary designations) insurance, income from personal savings (including annuities, RRIFs, TFSAs and other sources), government pensions — all of these should be considered as part of a larger picture to ensure financial stability and to minimize taxes.

6. Create a financial plan

A well-rounded financial plan will provide you with a roadmap to guide you through to retirement and beyond by outlining a strategy for all of the points noted above. It should take into consideration any specific health concerns that may have an impact on your finances or your living arrangements.

Your financial advisor is an important part of your retirement planning team. Our advisors are trained to ask the right questions to help you develop a plan that addresses every aspect of preparing for retirement, tailored to your specific needs as a woman.

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