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6 Key Retirement Planning Decisions

The New Year brings with it many reasons to consider our future… We typically start by making resolutions that will result in healthier and happier versions of ourselves. Without a plan though, do these resolutions ever become a reality? It is often said that failing to plan is planning to fail. With that in mind, it’s the perfect time to make note of a few simple best practices that you can easily put into place to help ensure your happy and healthy retirement.

Start now It is never too early, or too late, to start planning your retirement. Whether you’ve just joined the workforce or you are approaching your retired years, it’s important to get organized. Start by defining each retirement goal (i.e. income, travel, purchase a vacation property, etc.) and listing them in order of importance so that you can assign a saving strategy to each.

Implement a disciplined savings plan They key to saving is to do it early and do it regularly. With this in mind consider setting up an automatic savings plan to automatically transfer funds on a consistent basis (i.e. every pay) into a retirement savings account. Consider investing a portion of every bonus you earn. Look at your employee benefits package to see if you have employer-sponsored savings plans available to you that you can take advantage of.

Understand options available to you There are many types of plans and, quite literally, thousands of investment products available to help you reach your retirement goals. Start with the basic account types including Registered Savings Plans (RSP), Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) and non-registered accounts.

Be strategic with tax planning opportunities In addition to understanding the possible tax opportunities available on contributions and withdrawals for the account types mentioned above, it is also important to understand and consider what type of investment products you will utilize in each. For example, it is wise to hold investments that are taxed more favourably in non-registered (taxable) accounts and hold other investments within the tax deferred and tax-free structures of RSPs and TFSAs.

Review and update your plan at least once a year One consistency in life is change. Whether it is our employment and subsequent income level, changes to relationships or the birth of children we must always adjust our plans to reflect our lives today. It may mean that you are able to start contributing more to your savings plan or that you have to reevaluate your goals and the time it may take to reach them.

Work with a professional Successful retirement involves taking other important factors that need to be taken into consideration outside of investing and saving. For example: prospective retirees should also consider estate planning and charitable giving. As retirement planning may be a complicated process, you may want to consult a qualified and experienced financial professional. They will not only ensure you take advantage of every opportunity available for you, but they will also help you stay disciplined and on track.

AL RAMSAY is TD Bank Group’s regional manager, LGBTA Business Development. He can be reached at al.ramsay@td.com or follow him on Twitter at: @AlRamsay_TD. Heather Richardson, Vice President at TD Wealth Private Investment Advice, also contributed to this article. She can be reached at heather.richardson@td.com.

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