Checklist: Getting ready to retire

With retirement coming into view, it’s time to get your financial planning into high gear. Check your progress and catch up if you need to. Plan ahead for things like health care costs and how to go from saving to spending. Planning to retire in 10 years or less? In addition to talking with your financial advisor, use this checklist to help you get started.

Coming down the home stretch

  • Take stock of your income, expenses, assets and other financial obligations. Your assets include:

         o Retirement savings: registered plans and employer-sponsored plans
         o Equity in your home and other real estate
         o Cash value of life insurance
         o Investments
         o Bank account

  • Work with your financial advisor to identify a specific goal for the amount of savings you want to have at retirement – and develop a strategy to reach it.
  • If you still have a few years to retire, ramp up your retirement plan contributions, including your Tax-Free Savings Account and savings as much as possible.
  • Work to pay off all your debts, including mortgage, car loans, credit cards and line of credit

Determine what to expect

  • Think about when you'd like to retire and weigh the options of when to take your government retirement benefits i.e. CPP/QPP and OAS. Work with your financial advisor to estimate how much income you think you'll need in retirement. Take into consideration that some expenses (such as health care) may be higher in retirement, while others will be lower.
  • What other financial obligations do you have? Are you caring for parents or supporting children? Do you want to help children or grandchildren with their education or leave an inheritance? Do you wish to make donations to charity?
  • Estimate how many years you may spend in retirement based on average life expectancy. If your family has a history of living well into the 90s or longer, expect that you'll live that long, too!

Put your strategy into action

  • If you’re leaving your job before age 65, determine how you’ll cover health care.
  • Learn about the rules pertaining to your retirement plans – how long can you continue making contributions, when you should convert your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) and when you must begin withdrawing funds.
  • Review the beneficiaries listed on your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, annuities and trusts, and make sure they're up-to-date.
  • Consider purchasing long-term care insurance.
  • Meet with an estate-planning professional to ensure you have a strategy in place that will carry out your wishes. Review and, if necessary, update your:
    • Will(s)
    • Living will
    • Power of Attorney for Property (or Mandate in Quebec)
    • Power of Attorney for Personal Care (or Mandate in Quebec)
    • Trust

Consider your lifestyle

  • Think about – and discuss with your loved ones – how you'd like to spend your time. Do you plan to earn income in any way, such as a part-time job or consulting? Or are you ready to leave the workforce altogether?
  • Be sure to think about the non-financial considerations and discuss them with your loved ones. It's important to have a plan for how you'll spend your newfound free time.

How we can help

You've been working toward retirement your whole life. First, talk to your Edward Jones financial advisor to make sure you're on track to reach your goals ‒ and then start living the life you've been planning for.