Tools to help you meet your goals
Your retirement checklist
No matter what stage of life you're in, preparing for retirement is one of the most important steps you can take to secure your future. The sooner you begin to think about it and take action, the better prepared you'll be.
Below is a checklist of things you should do to help prepare you for retirement:
Five to ten years before your pension starts
- Assess your current financial picture, including your income, your current expenses, your debt load and whether or not you’re operating with a surplus or living paycheque-to-paycheque.
- Consider how emotionally prepared you are for retirement: Do you have an overall plan and budget that will allow you to save for your future expenses and achieve your post-retirement goals? The general rule of thumb is you need about 70% of your pre-retirement income for you to retire comfortably. Your budget may fluctuate depending on your goals.
- Determine your insurance needs earlier rather than later because premiums can increase as you get older. If you’re an OPS employee and you have access to life insurance while working (basic life insurance or if you elect Supplementary Life Insurance for you and your spouse), it may be less expensive because you’re part of a group policy plan.
Between two and three years before your pension starts
- Review your survivor pension options if you are considering increasing your survivor pension amount, because submitting it more than two years before your expected retirement date means you won't need to have a medical.
- Ensure your beneficiary information is up to date, which you can easily do through your e-services account.
One year to six months before your pension starts
- Revisit your survivor pension options. Note: Changes to these options can only be made within certain time frames. You'll also want to ensure that we have the proper beneficiary information on file.
- Notify your employer of your intent to retire.
- Make sure you and your employer have completed all of the necessary forms before retirement.
- We will notify you that we received your written intent to retire from your employer.
- We will send you a Retirement Information and Elections Package to review and complete, including banking information.
- Review and complete your package and return to us by the due date.
- We’ll send you a Confirmation Statement.
At least three months before your pension starts
- Use Initiate Retirement through your e-services account so we can process your Retirement Information and Elections Package so you can start receiving your pension.
Retirement tips from our Client Service Advisors
Here’s what you can do to help prepare for your retirement:
- Think about your goals – Before you can create an effective retirement plan, you need to set realistic goals. It's also important to occasionally review your goals to make sure you're still on track. Understanding when you want to retire and knowing what you want to do in retirement can help determine how much income you'll need.
- Identify your income sources – Start by defining your income sources, including your PSPP pension, government programs (e.g., OAS, CPP), your personal savings (e.g., RRSPs, TFSAs, other savings/investments), and your spouse's or partner's pension and income sources. This will help you get a better sense of what your retirement income will be and how well prepared you are.
- Understand your expenses – Have you thought about what your expenses will be in retirement? This is just as important as understanding your retirement income. It's important to be realistic. We recommend using the online tool My Retirement Planner that takes you through your income sources and expenses. It offers you the chance to determine if you need to adjust by making additional savings decisions, or in extreme cases, shifting your expectations in retirement. The earlier you start planning, the better.
- Consider if you need additional investments – As a member of the PSPP, you're already saving for your retirement, but you may also be investing money to help meet your retirement goals or to help with other financial and life objectives. When investing, it's important to consider your life stage, overall goals and risk tolerance, and to revisit these considerations regularly so you can make necessary adjustments as circumstances change.
- Maximize your income – To help you maximize your income in retirement, consider tax planning strategies, like pension income splitting with your partner, and developing a tax-effective strategy to withdraw income from other retirement vehicles.
Retirement isn't just another phase of life, it's a complete lifestyle change. Careful planning now will help ensure you're able to enjoy the retirement you want later.
Check out My Retirement Planner – our free, online tool available through your e-services account to find out if you're saving enough for your future. This planning tool helps you understand and forecast your complete financial retirement picture, including your projected income from all sources and your projected expenses in retirement. It also provides you with the ability to model the impact of income splitting so you can get an idea of how to allocate retirement income between you and your spouse.
You can also book a one-on-one session with one of our Client Service Advisors, who are Certified Financial Planners®, to discuss any questions you have about your retirement and pension. Our Advisory Services are available to you at no cost and are offered either in-person or over the phone. To book a one-on-one session, login to your e-services account and select Book My 1-on-1.