Your retirement financial checklist

Take steps to manage your financial well-being. Use the checklist below to help.

 

Your retirement financial checklist:
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1.
Update your budget as a retiree.
It’s likely that your spending habits and expenses will be different than they were before you retired. And it’s important to regularly reassess your budget as your needs and lifestyle change.
See Budgeting in retirement for more information.
  
 
 
2.
Decide when to apply for public pension benefits (the age at which you apply can affect how much you receive).
Most Canadian seniors and retirees are eligible to receive income from Old Age Security (OAS) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). Lower income seniors may qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement. See FCAC’s Planning your retirement life event for more information.
If you choose to start collecting your CPP early, before age 65, you will collect a reduced amount. If you collect at age 65, you will collect the unadjusted amount you are eligible for. And if you start collecting past age 65 (up to age 70), you will receive an increased amount. See Service Canada’s webpage on Changes to CPP for more information.
If you have not started to receive the OAS pension, you may be able to increase your pension amount by 0.6 percent for each month you choose to delay, to a maximum of five years. See Service Canada’s webpage on the Deferring Your Old Age Security Pension for more information.
 
 
 
3.
Consider all of the other benefits you might be eligible for.
In addition to Canada’s public pension benefits, there are several other benefits that seniors can take advantage of, such as discounts, senior’s bank accounts, and more.
 
 
 
4.
Review and update your insurance coverage to make sure it meets your current and future needs. 
Is your life insurance coverage adequate? Were you receiving a workplace benefit that you’re no longer receiving now that you’ve retired?
It’s a good idea to reassess your insurance needs in retirement to make sure that your coverage suits your current needs and lifestyle.
 
 
5.
Consider the tax credits that you might be eligible for.
 
 
6.
Consider the impact of additional employment income on your public pension benefits and finances.
 
 
7.
Consider pension income splitting and/or pension sharing with your spouse or common-law partner to minimize the amount of tax you have to pay in retirement.
Pension income splitting allows spouses and common-law partners to move pension income from a higher-earning spouse/partner to the lower earning spouse/partner. Since Canada’s tax rates are higher for higher earners, this can lower the amount of tax you have to pay. For detailed information, visit the Canada Revenue Agency’s section on pension income splitting.
 
Spouses or common-law partners who meet certain criteria can also share their CPP retirement benefits. This is called pension sharing, and may result in tax savings. For more information, visit Service Canada’s section on sharing your retirement pension.
 
 
 
8.
Learn the signs of financial abuse and fraud and how to protect yourself and the people you love against it.
 
 
9.
Plan for a possible loss of independence.
 
 
10.
Prepare or update your will.
Preparing a will is a good way to make sure that your wishes are honoured after your death. It’s a good idea to get professional legal help when preparing a will to make sure all your documents are prepared and witnessed properly. Check to see what fees may apply.
 
 
 
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12.
Consider the financial implications of an extended stay outside the country (“snow birding,” extended vacations).
Some retirees choose to travel outside of Canada for extended periods of time. Whether it’s a move, “snow-birding” in a warmer climate or an extended vacation, there are potential financial implications, such as taxes and insurance that you should be aware of.