Retirement Planning

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

– Mark Twain

Retirement planning is the process of managing your assets with the goal of achieving financial independence, so that earning an income is optional rather than a necessity. Although impacted by all areas of financial planning, it is highly integrated with Financial Management and Investment Management due to the dependency on available cash flow and the growth of investment savings.

A well-prepared retirement plan should provide you with clear options so that you can make informed decisions and accumulate the retirement assets you will need. Your plan should also address the most common questions many people have:

  1. Will I have enough income when I retire to do the things I want?
  2. How soon can I retire based on my current investments and future savings?
  3. Where should I be invested and what rate of return do I need to achieve?
  4. How much will I need in my retirement accounts, and am I contributing enough?

For people nearing retirement, another important purpose of retirement planning is to assess when to apply for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS). Determining the optimal age to begin taking government benefits requires careful analysis. Select the wrong age and you could cost yourself thousands in additional income taxes and/or lost benefits over your lifetime.

RECORD TYPE: Income Strategies

Your retirement income strategy should be more than simply deciding on how much to withdraw from your RRSPs and other savings. It should include assessing pension options, determining the best age to apply for government benefits, and the need to liquidate other assets such as real estate or a business.

The income strategies you use will determine how much money you can spend, the tax you will pay each year and ultimately the estate you will leave to your children.

Suggested Action: Upload a copy of the Income Strategies you plan to use in retirement. Include any Projections or Analysis illustrating any recommended income strategies.

RECORD TYPE: Pension Statements

There are two main types of pension plans offered by employers:

A Defined Benefit pension plan provides retirement income based on a formula using your years of service, income and age at retirement. This type of pension plan provides guaranteed income for life but offers no flexibility to modify the amount of income paid.

A Defined Contribution pension plan provides retirement income based on the contributions made to the plan and the rate of return earned by the investments. This type of pension provides flexibility to increase or decrease withdrawal but is subject to Sequence of Return Risk.

Suggested Action: Upload a copy of your Pension booklet and most recent statement.


The amount of your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefit is based on how much you have contributed and how long you have been making contributions to the CPP at the time you become eligible. The standard age to begin receiving CPP is the month after your 65th birthday. You can elect to take a reduced pension as early as age 60 or an increased pension as late as age 70, doing so will impact the amount of your benefits. Seeking the advice of a qualified professional will help you get the most out of your benefits.

Suggested Action: If you are turning age 60 or plan to stop working soon, log into your “My Service Canada Account” to request a Statement of Contributions to Canada Pension Plan and upload it here.

NEXT Steps

  • Download Resources
    Click the Resources link to download and print the various worksheets and templates applicable to your needs. Set aside some time over the next few days to complete each one. Remember to involve your partner/spouse should you have one.
  • Gather Documents
    Complete each worksheet or template and gather other statements and documents for each type of Record to be uploaded to this Tile.
  • Upload Documents
    Using a scanner or the Sidedrawer Mobile App, upload all statements and documents to the appropriate Record for secure storage and collaboration with your family and trusted advisors.
  • Add Collaborators
    From the Sidedrawer home screen, click on the Collaborator icon to add someone you wish to give access to one or more of your Records. Enter their email, name and relationship to you, then select the Record and permissions to be granted.

Click here to print the Retirement Planning Document Checklist.

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