Not very long ago, retirement was a definitive term. Once you reached the age of 65, your career ended and pensions and government benefits stepped up to the plate. From that point on, the biggest question was what to do with your new-found free time, and the resounding answer was essentially whatever you wanted. Times have changed a bit, and the once distinct lines have become somewhat blurred.

Today, 65 is merely a median guideline. You and your fellow Canadian citizens may now choose to retire at any point during this particular decade of life, but funding for the venture may require a little creativity. Pensions aren’t quite as readily available as they once were. Old Age Security is dwindling, and plans are in the works to extend the eligibility age for this benefit to 67 regardless of when you retire. In short, you’re on your own far more so than past generations, so plan your retirement today to really enjoy it later. This may sound like an overwhelming task, but a few critical steps can make the transcendence go a little more smoothly when the time comes.


Understand How Much Life Will Cost You After Retirement


Knowledge is power. If you how much money you’ll need to live on, and not just survive, after retiring, you’ll be better equipped to prepare for the future. At the same time, it’s likely to leave you more motivated to invest in the next phase of your life. A number of calculators are available online to give you a solid monetary amount, but you can also speak with an accountant, financial advisor, or other professional in the field to gain more insight.


Simple Savings


An ordinary no-frills savings account can be an advantageous place to start when it comes to planning your retirement. Chances are, you may already have one in place. If you’re currently allotting $200 per month to savings, consider making a few small lifestyle cutbacks to bump up that amount. Allow yourself to go out to lunch once a week rather than twice. Make your coffee at home instead of frequenting the local coffee shop, and switch from name brands to generics at the grocery store.

Industry analysts estimate couples are likely to need an estimated $50,000 per year or more for a moderate retired life. If you’re 40 years old and you manage to add an extra $100 each month to your savings, this one step will add up to another $30,000 by the time you reach the age of 65. It’s a small sacrifice with noteworthy rewards. With TFSA’s, specifying this money is going toward your retirement will keep you from paying out all the interest you accrue in taxes.


Branch out from There


You may have a 401(k) plan available through your employer, and this is yet another key step toward a comfortable future. Have a little money sent to this nest egg builder from your earnings, and you’ll never miss it. Once you’ve built up a considerable sum in your savings, consider transferring that to an IRA or even a couple of them. You can eventually roll those over into precious metals, real estate, or other types of investments, but exercise caution. Plenty of rules and regulations are in place when it comes to these options. If you overstep your bounds, you’ll literally pay for your mistakes.


Don’t Turn up Your Nose at Low-Yield Investments


Investing certainly needs to be part of your overall retirement planning efforts or you’re not going to see much growth in your financial stockpile. Low yields on your investments may not sound glamorous or exciting, but these ventures are relatively safe from the potential losses you could face with high-risk endeavors. CIG’s are popular options in this realm. Invest in one this year, another further down the road, and so on to create a continual string of maturing certificates as well as growing interest.

You may also want to consider ETF’s. If you like the thought of rolling over an IRA after giving it a chance to build value, this would be another suitable course of action. Again, stagger these types of investments over a period of time to create a positive domino effect in your wealth-building journey. Both of these are low-risk alternatives, virtually ensuring returns.


High Yields aren’t Out of the Game


When it comes to investing, the highest yields tend to come from ventures with the most significant levels of risk. While you shouldn’t necessarily be deathly afraid of investments with more sizable payouts, you do need to have a healthy respect for them. Making a high-risk investment could certainly pay off, but keep moderation in mind if you choose this route.


It’s Not all About Money


By the time you reach retirement age, you’re likely to have spent upwards of 40 years or more in the workforce. Even if you’ve dreamed about this every single day during that time, you’re bound to experience some level of disconnection when it all comes to an end. Try to build a circle of acquaintances outside the workplace, including some close to your own age with similar interests, so you’ll still have strong relationships to fall back on when the time comes. Mental and financial preparedness are equally important to enjoying your golden years.


In a nutshell, diversity is the key to success. Start off small, branch out, and feel free to take an occasional risk if the mood strikes. Don’t leave the emotional aspect of the transition out of your planning process. Once the time comes to cash in on your efforts, you’ll be set to fully enjoy your new-found freedom. Travel the world with your spouse, book a cruise with your fellow retirees, spend more time with your grandchildren, or volunteer with your favorite charity. Through diligent planning, you’ll find an endless supply of opportunities knocking at your door.