• Tags

  • Category: Retirement Planning

    Manage RRIF rules carefully – or you could run out of money

    Planning for retirement can be challenging. Attempting to balance your need for current income against the risk of outliving your savings is hard enough and, as it turns out, the federal government is not making things any easier.

    Back in 1992, the federal government was running a significant deficit and needed cash. To help rectify this problem, the Income Tax Act mandated that at age 71, Canadians must convert their registered retirement savings accounts into Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs). Seniors had to begin drawing a minimum amount out of their RRIF every year, which was taxed upon receipt. This measure was implemented to help the federal government manage their cash levels and remove the deficit.

    Fast forward to today and the RRIF rules have not changed, but the landscape certainly has. In a recent report by the CD Howe Institute, it was noted that today the average 71-year-old male can expect to live almost 30% longer than in 1992, whereas women can expect to live 15% longer.

    Not only are we expected to live longer, but the investment yield environment is vastly different today than it was in 1992 when the average yield on government of Canada bonds stood between 7.2% and 8.5%. In 2014, this range has fallen drastically to between 1.1% and 3.1%.

    Longer life expectancy is a good thing, but it means we must plan to spread our retirement savings over a longer time horizon.  If the minimum withdrawal schedule implemented in 1992 were to be updated to reflect today’s longer lifespans and lower interest rates, RRIF withdrawals would start at 2.68% at age 71 and rise to 3.76% at age 85.  Instead, the mandatory minimum withdrawal begins at 7.38% at age 71 and rises to 10.33% at age 85.  The odds of living long enough to see the real value of your RRIF depleted are much higher in today’s environment.

    RRIF july20141 1024x638 Manage RRIF rules carefully – or you could run out of money
    Source: “Outliving Our Savings: Registered Retirement Income Funds Rules Need a Big Update”. Robson, William B.P & Laurin, Alexandre. C.D. Howe Institue. 2014.


    This can be problematic for seniors who use the minimum withdrawal rate as their annual spending budget. Too often people make the mistake of assuming that this rate is sustainable and will provide them with a lifetime of income. As a point of reference, in our retirement planning assumptions, we generally use a 6-7% annual withdrawal rate assuming retirement at age 65, otherwise one may risk depleting their capital. (Keep in mind that if one retires earlier, 4-5% may be a better rule of thumb to use as the maximum annual withdrawal amount.)

    How can you avoid the potential downfalls of inflated RRIF minimum withdrawal rates?

    1. Seek professional help.
    2. Do not assume that RRSPs alone will adequately fund retirement.  Build savings elsewhere – such as in Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) and non-registered accounts.
    3. Plan for added tax payments on rising RRIF income.

    Seniors, with the help of wealth management professionals, are advised to create their own retirement plan specific to their personal financial situation. The majority will likely use a portion of their minimum withdrawal from their RRIF to fund their lifestyle and transfer the remainder into a non-registered investment account to maintain savings for future spending.

    There are roughly 200,000 Canadians who are over the age of 90. In 25 years that number is expected to triple. Canadians who are beginning to think about retirement should seek professional help so they can effectively manage their savings to provide security and peace of mind throughout their retirement years.

    How to talk to aging parents about their financial affairs

    father son 150x150 How to talk to aging parents about their financial affairsThere comes a point when adult children should be asking certain questions of their parents to ensure that their financial affairs are in order. As parents age, achieving financial independence for retirement is a primary objective and effective planning should start well ahead of time. Similarly, planning for the smooth succession of assets on death is critical to maintaining family harmony through a difficult time. Here is a list of questions adult children should be asking their parents, now, to better plan for retirement and beyond.
    [read more >>]

    The dog days of August … A time to reassess success

    The summer is a great time to take a break from many of the day-to-day activities that take up most of our time and thoughts. It’s time to enjoy the outdoors and share it with family and friends. It’s also an opportunity for reflection when we perhaps better see the forest from the trees.

    As wealth managers at Newport Private Wealth we encourage our clients to reflect on personal, family and business goals. Some questions to ask are: Where do you see yourself in five years? What obstacles or challenges do you need to overcome to get there? What is the greatest risk to your financial prosperity?

    If retirement is part of the plan, are you on track? Is your personal balance sheet up to date? Have you recently done financial projections to test your plan (see summertime offer to crash test your retirement plan)?

    If you are a business owner, how current is your business plan? Should you re-examine your growth strategy, target an acquisition or plan for succession? Do you even know what your business is worth should a suitor come knocking?

    For me, summer is the best time of year to share quality family time. It’s a great opportunity to reinforce family values, strengthen ties and build on shared experiences that are, frankly, priceless.

    For most of the year we get caught up in the details of managing our lives. At Newport Private Wealth, we structure and manage investment portfolios, plan to minimize taxes, prepare effective estate plans and generally help our clients manage their financial affairs. Our job is to plan and implement strategies to help our clients achieve their objectives. Defining those objectives is critical to the success of any plan and should be considered thoughtfully at a time when the mind is less cluttered.

    During these dog days of August, take some time to consider some of the more important questions towards achieving success in your personal, family and business life.

    Special summertime offer

    CTA Buttons BW 150x150 Special summertime offer This summer we’re extending a special offer to high net worth individuals who want to get greater clarity on their retirement plans.  We call it our Retirement Crash Test.

    We do a lot of retirement planning for clients in our wealth management practice and we know it’s something people worry about. And many aren’t prepared for:  According to a research report released this past April by McKinsey & Co., 41% of high income Canadians between 55 – 64 years of age will be challenged to maintain their income during retirement.  Either because they haven’t saved enough or investment returns have been sub-par on the savings they have accumulated.

    We’ve developed proprietary financial modeling that will simulate your retirement under a variety of scenarios using inputs you provide. Our clients have found it gives them tremendous peace of mind.  We thought to extend the offer to other high net worth individuals who are at the same life stage i.e. less than a decade from retirement.  It’s a great opportunity to take charge of your financial future and ‘kick the tires’ on our capabilities at the same time.

    Visit Retirement Crash Test to get started.

    Increased wealth after age 70? Don’t bet on it.

    retired couple beach 150x150 Increased wealth after age 70?  Don’t bet on it.A recent article in the Financial Post concludes that spending by those who are retired declines with age and correspondingly wealth increases for those over 70 years of age. Our experience is quite the opposite among the higher net worth clients we have helped through retirement. In fact, I continually caution my clients to count on higher expenses in the future for the following reasons: [read more >>]

    Even the wealthy worry about retirement

    FPArticle 2009 golden egg Even the wealthy worry about retirementCan I afford to retire?

    This question, more than any other, is asked by clients approaching retirement.

    Individuals balance their spending and savings during their working years to reach a point at which they have accumulated sufficient capital to augment any pension income to support their expenses. That’s retirement affordability.

    The retirement affordability equation appears simple. It isn’t. That’s because there are too many variables like life expectancy, future health care costs, investment returns and inflation, etc. that can change materially and have a dramatic impact on whether you enjoy a comfortable retirement or not.

    [read more >>]

    Is the next generation ready to fund retirement?

    succession 5April Is the next generation ready to fund retirement?Last week’s federal budget included the much anticipated changes to the Old Age Security (OAS) pension. But not nearly as soon as some thought.

    With changes being phased in over six years beginning in 2023, the reality is that the majority of Canada’s baby boomer population will be unaffected by the changes. Currently, at over $6,000 per year with a claw back feature reducing the amount received based on income, the reality is that for most of our clients OAS is an afterthought in their retirement planning.

    But what this change does signify is a continuation of two societal trends that have been going on for decades. [read more >>]