If you find yourself thinking more about your retirement these days, you're not alone. According to a January 2021 Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of TD, more than one in three Canadians say the pandemic has impacted their savings and retirement plans.
And, although this is troubling to many Canadians whose savings have been impacted by the pandemic, what many are also struggling with is figuring out where to turn for their next steps in planning.
"The pandemic has made many Canadians reflect on and even alter their retirement plans," said Kevin Moffatt, Vice President, Canadian Personal Banking Business Management & Governance and the TD 'Seniors' Champion', (a designated member of the Bank's management team promoting seniors' interests).
"While there is lots of information online about how to plan for retirement, finding the right information for your situation can be tricky. That's why getting trustworthy answers to your retirement questions is particularly critical," said Moffatt.
To help get answers to some of the toughest retirement-planning questions, we spoke with Minju Kim, a TD advisor in Vancouver.
Will I have enough money to retire?
“This is definitely the number-one question on peoples' minds when they think about retirement," Kim said.
Oftentimes, though, Kim said people don't realize how much information is out there to help Canadians plan for the retirement they want.
“In figuring out how much money you need to retire, you first need to figure out what you want your retirement to look like," she says.
Kim believes customers can do that by starting with some basic questions, including:
- When do you want to retire, and how old will you be at retirement?
- What age will you be at your ideal retirement date?
- If you're married or have a common-law partner, will you retire at the same time as they will?
- How much do you think you will need, or want, to spend in retirement?
- How do your income expectations in retirement compare to what you're earning and spending now?
Here's where a retirement calculator can really come in handy, says Kim.
“A retirement calculator is a great tool to help you see some of the details that go into estimating a retirement date and the savings required for the retirement I want," she said.
The TD retirement calculator can help you start to get a better picture of what your future retirement could look like, Kim adds.
“Our retirement calculator is a tool you can use on your own, which can be useful for getting comfortable with the 'nuts and bolts' of your retirement plan," she said.
"Because the answer to 'how much is enough?' will be different for everyone, an online calculator can help you explore what your retirement might look like depending on when you retire, how much you think you'll spend, and what your retirement savings look like now."
You can also use a retirement calculator to help you understand how changes you might be able to make today – such as saving more, deciding to retire at a different age, or changing how your savings are invested – might affect your future retirement plans.
“I highly recommend playing around with a calculator, which will give you a starting point," she said.
“Then you can talk to a TD advisor for more concrete answers, plans, and insights."
Is it possible to retire without a pension or retirement savings?
“This is another big question that people bring to me when they're starting to think about retirement," Kim said.
“The good news is that there are lots of ways to finance a successful retirement, even if you don't have a traditional employer pension plan or savings set aside specifically for retirement."
Many people planning to retire in Canada will have some retirement income through the Canada or Quebec Pension Plans, if they've worked in Canada. These pension plans can start to pay out monthly income as early as age 60, although they will increase if you wait past age 60.
“Beyond those sources of income, there are other ways to finance your retirement," Kim said.
For homeowners, they may be able to use the value built up in their house as a way to finance retirement. Others will use real estate to generate rental income.
“It's very common not to have a traditional pension or savings in a retirement savings account," Kim said.
“But that doesn't mean you won't have a financially viable retirement."
What if my circumstances change – will I still be able to afford my retirement?
“When people think about the future, it can feel like 'one big unknown,'" Kim said.
“They have concerns like, 'What if one of my adult children needs to come home and live with me? What if my marriage or common-law partnership breaks down, or if my spouse dies?'"
The concern that's really underneath those kinds of questions is: how do I make sure my retirement plans can accommodate big life changes?
A good retirement plan will consider the changes you might experience, even big ones, because it will build in flexibility, Kim said.
And if you revisit your plan regularly – whether that's every year, every second year, or when something unexpected happens – you'll be able to plan for that new reality.
“Working with an advisor to talk through how any changes in your life might impact your retirement will help give you confidence in your retirement plan," she said.
"We can work with you to help identify any adjustments you might need to make, to minimize the impacts on the retirement you planned. We know your life will change, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't plan for retirement. The trick is to put a plan in place that's geared to you – your goals, your circumstances, and your desires."
Book a virtual appointment with a TD advisor to get a personalized retirement plan based on your unique circumstances."