The Five-Year Retirement Countdown



Retirement is not what it used to be. More and more people over the age of 65 continue to work as life expectancy increases and they remain productive, vibrant and youthful.


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Look at this as your guide to making a smooth transition to the next life phase. Securing your financial well-being is an important step in physical and mental well-being.

“The early start makes the decisions later so much easier,” says Angela Joell, Education and Investment Manager in Life & Pensions at Argus. “It's such a huge milestone – one that should be enjoyed and celebrated. Those who have the most seamless transitions, both in financial as well as physical health, are the people that start planning.”

 

Five Years Out – Research and Build

Take a deep dive into where you stand financially. Angela often helps people discover sums of money that have been left unclaimed when people move jobs. Check to ensure that you have no unclaimed benefits from previous plans or policies you held with an old employer.

Understand your possible post-retirement income. Our online calculator tools, available on the Argus website, allow you to estimate how much post-retirement income you will likely have based on what you hold today.

Build your cash reserves. A number of people have assets but not cash. If you are later forced to sell an asset in desperation, you may face a loss. There are many things that you can do and some possible strategies include: downsizing from your large family home; when replacing your car, choosing a smaller model to reduce annual expenses; letting cash accumulate with the view to save the difference, not spend the difference. “The cost is highest the least prepared you are.”

 

Three Years Out – Review and Refine

Fill in the details. If you have not met with a financial advisor, do so now. “Make a spreadsheet that consolidates all of your expenses and all of your income into a document and a plan. Update any wills, beneficiaries and legal documents. When you’re working with estimates or approximate round numbers, you may find a startling reality when the time comes to look at precise numbers.”

Angela also recommends making any large purchases. Replace your washer-dryer or your car with your income and do not touch your savings.

 

Two Years Out – Revise and Reassess

Year two is a revision year – a busy one at that. Meet with your Human Resources department and research your benefits. Follow up with your financial advisor and review your position. You should by now have moved away from generic tools to specific calculations. 

Now is the time to reassess and review your position. Has the market impacted your investments? Has anything occurred globally, nationally or legislatively? Have there been any family or life changes that might cause you to update your strategy or even your will? Has anything changed for you or your family medically? By finding out the answers to these questions, you can adapt your plan accordingly.

 

One Year Out – Administrative

The last year will fly by.

“I hear it from every single client every single time,” Angela says. “I thought I had more time than I did. People are not prepared for how many decisions they have to make. That’s where the time gets eaten up.”

Meet with your HR department to ensure you understand your company’s retirement process and get the full detailed documentation update on any available benefits, including savings plans, profit share and the possibility to stay on health insurance policies and life insurance policies post-retirement.

Meet with your financial advisor quarterly, opening any recommended accounts needed for transition and closing others.

 

Three months out

Contact Government’s Social Insurance Department to best understand your anticipated income and begin the application process. Confirm your timelines. Many organisations and agencies, such as banks and government services, require a long lead time so it's best to start at least three months out. 

“Retirement is really a transition to be embraced and celebrated. Start today to have the best possible retirement tomorrow.”