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Include This In Your Retirement Checklist In Canada

Retirement is the phase of life where you should be relaxing and live a happy and stress-free life. However, unorganized steps can ruin this fun. Hence, you should create a retirement checklist in advance to ensure that you have a smooth sailing life after retirement. Retirement is said to set you free, but you need to take several exhausting steps before diving into this new life phase. Thus to help you out here, here are 10 financial steps for your retirement checklist in Canada.

Retiretirement Checklist in Canada

1. Forecast Your Retirement

What you imagine is the most accurate depiction of your future. This also happened to be the first step that you need to take before your retirement journey. 

How you envision your retirement life is the testament of your goals and also the endpoint that directs the position that you need to acquire to reach your future goals. The best way to do so is to include these questions in your retirement checklist in Canada.

  • What is the time that you prepare to retire? One, two, or ten years?
  • Place of retirement? Home, abroad, or do you tend to mix it up?
  • What are your future goals for retirement? Traveling, fulfilling pet projects, not retiring any soon, or indulging in your hobbies?

2. You Need to Budget Your Finances

To create a budget, you first need to determine the amount of money that you will have during your retirement. Here are the basic rules that you need to follow for the same. One being, that from the total amount of your retirement funds have a 4% withdrawal rate on a 70% annual re-retirement income, or you can also multiply your annual income by 10 and 14 multiples.

Your funds will be dependent on your lifestyle, needs, your dreams, and wants. You can also create a budget. To create a budget, you need to be aware of your monthly income, savings, and expenses with intricacy. For example, you need to consider travel, health, and leisure while mortgage and other such expenses may or may not be a significant part of your budget depending on your preference.

Determine if your income will be able to fulfill your expenses. Are your needs realistic and justifiable, is your income enough for your lifestyle, and more. 

Read: 13 Ways on How to Improve Your Finances in Canada

The Benefits of Budgeting

  • You are well on your way to a financially flexible retirement.
  • You need to regulate your expenses.
  • You need more savings for retirement in RRSP, TFSA, or the non-registered investment account.
  • You need to increase your income by working more.

3. Be Debt Free

Your ultimate plan should be to reduce your debt to zero or negligible amount. To achieve this, you will need to clear the debt that levies high-interest rates and continue until you have crushed all your debts and mortgages.

If you are debt-free, you will save thousands of dollars in interest savings. Before retirement reaches your door, make sure debt goes out!

Read: Top 11 Ways to Avoid Payday Loans in Canada

4. Assess the Investment Portfolio

You should check the profitability of your investment account to derive the value that you might reap at the time of retirement. You should check the RRSP, TFSA, and other accounts. This step is crucial because the propensity to take risks at age 30 is more at the age of 65. 

Read: How to Buy Stocks in Canada: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Once you reach your retirement, your investment horizon narrows, and your portfolio should display the following.

  • Do you have a diversified portfolio?
  • Safety and growth are the concerns of retirement, hence, a conservative to a balanced portfolio is ideal.

What to do with left-out space in the registered plans?

  • Use your RRSP contribution space for acquiring a tax refund. Maximize the savings further by reinvesting that refund.
  • You should maximize your TFSA before other accounts as it is non-taxable.

Create income from RRSP

  • Convert your RRSP to RRIF. Cash-out your funds, or buy annuities.
  • RRIF requires withdrawal of a minimum amount every year.
  • If you have a life annuity, you will have the guarantee of a lifetime fixed income.

Read: GIC vs. Mutual Funds – Which One is Best for You?

5. Know About Government Benefits

OAS (Old Age Security) Pension: OAS pension is provided to people aged 65 or more. Your OAS can be deferred until 5 years and hence facilitating you to increase it by 36% at the most.

If your income is more than the threshold amount, your OAS payment might also be withheld or at least a part of it can be withheld. People of low-income slabs are also eligible for GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) along with OAS.

CPP (Canadian Pension Plan): You can be eligible for CPP if you put in money for it. You can start getting it as soon as you turn 60. If you want payment early, say, before 65 years, the amount will be reduced and the same can be increased if you postpone the payments until after 65 years of age. You can apply for such government benefits 12 months before you get a pension.

6. Workplace Pensions are Substantial

Workplace pensions are available in many alternatives.

  • The value of the commute can be in cash.
  • Your funds can be deposited to RRSP or LIRA before retirement, and can also be transformed into LRIF, RLIF, PRIF, LIF, or life annuity.
  • You can also opt-in for the usual pension income from the plans. 

7. Taxes are A must!

A retirement checklist in Canada is never complete without the component of taxes. If you have low taxes to pay, you have more money to spend for yourself!

Read: Do You Have to Pay Canada Inheritance Tax?

To achieve that, you should:

  • Income splitting: You can bring your family taxes down by splitting the income of an RRIF. LIF, or annuity with your spouse.
  • Pension sharing: Spouses with high income can save their taxes by sharing income from CPP with their low-income slab spouse. For this, you will have to apply for Service Canada by filling the form ISP1002.
  • TFSA-  Max out your TFSA accounts before others since it is a non-taxable income.
  • Keep income-generating assets in non-taxable accounts in the TFSA.
  • If you want to live abroad, be aware of the tax implications and rules of the place.
  • Remember to apply for the pension income tax credit if you have income from LIF, RRIF, or annuity.

Read: TFSA vs RRSP: How To Choose Between The Two?

8. Where Will You Live?

These are the questions you should ask when making your retirement checklist in Canada.

Read: The Ultimate Guide on How to Buy a House in Canada

  • Will you live abroad in a different climate, and a cheaper lifestyle?
  • Are you renting or buying a new home?
  • Are you looking to get a reverse mortgage?
  • Is your home also a source of your retirement income?
  • How much does retirement home or in-home assistance costs?

9. Is your Insurance Foolproof?

Insurance should be taken up based on various conditions.

  • Insurance for critical diseases
  • Life insurances
  • Travel or medical insurance
  • Long-term care insurance

In Canada, you get almost full coverage of healthcare. But if you are planning to live outside Canada, get health insurance with proper research and coverage. 

10. You Should Have an Estate Plan

Is your will decided or will you have to update it due to new circumstances? You should have a plan in hand that defines how your estate will be divided amongst the people of your choice in case of your demise. This reduces stress for your family while also ensuring justice is done and your wishes are also respected. 

The government will let an administrator divide your estate based on provincial legislation if you lack a will. Hence, you should review your will on a regular basis. Get a power of attorney to make decisions on your behalf. 


This retirement checklist in Canada will help you retire with ease, and when you finally reach the point of retiring, you will do so stress-free. A consultation with a professional is also advisable. Make sure that you have everything planned before you retire and have done your homework. 

Devanshee Dave

Devanshee is a staff writer at She is a finance enthusiast and has completed her Master’s degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. She has worked as a journalist in a local business newspaper, multiple start-ups as well as finance and economy-related online media houses.

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