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10 goals to help you build a tailor-made retirement plan

05 June 2020 by National Bank
What to do in retirement

What to do in retirement? Travelling the world, going back to school, spending more time with your family: retirement can give you the opportunity to finally achieve your goals, fulfill your dreams, or turn a passion into a source of additional income – all while staying active. Here are 10 project ideas to inspire you to plan for a retirement that’s right for you. 

Retirement goals that are right for you

1. Travelling

There are many retirees who wish to pack their bags and get away. Whether you’re discovering your own country or jetting off to see the world, travelling can be expensive. But with good financial planning, travelling while sticking to your retirement plan is possible. Check out some handy and inspiring tips on the website Les Retraités flyés (French only).

2. Becoming a tourist guide

Have you ever thought of becoming a tourist guide? This could be a great option for anyone who wants to keep costs low while travelling, or for those who want to stay active and help tourists discover their own area. It’s a second career where you can work part-time while generating income.

3. Volunteering

If you believe that a happy retirement is synonymous with generosity, take a look at the many charities looking for volunteers. You could pick a cause that’s close to your heart, like supporting education, protecting the environment, or food security. In any case, it’s a stimulating and gratifying retirement activity that doesn’t cost a lot of money.

And why not combine your love of travelling with your desire to feel useful? Whether through voluntourism or humanitarian development, many Canadian charities look for volunteers abroad. But be diligent in your research before making any such commitment.

4. Developing your artistic flair

Photography, painting, ceramics: there are plenty of artistic activities within your reach. Most of them require more of a financial investment at the beginning to cover equipment and classes, but afterwards you can let your creativity run free.

5. Teaching a class

You may have expertise in a particular field, like administration, cooking, sewing, or Spanish. In any case, sharing your knowledge could allow you to socialize, generate income and, most importantly, do something that matters.

6. Going back to school

If you want to keep learning, retirement is the perfect time to go back to school. Pursuing specialized training or getting a university degree could open up some doors for you. You could work part-time and, who knows, land a job you’ve always dreamed of.

7. Opening a hostel

This is a major project because you’ll need to acquire many licences, permits and registrations to adhere to your province’s legislation. That’s why opening a hostel is often a business project for couples or a family business. If you and your partner have experience in management, accounting, or the restaurant or hospitality industries, this could be a nice way to earn some additional income and enjoy an active retirement.

8. Buying a small farm

Dreaming of peace and quiet? Yearning for fresh air? Thinking of selling your home in the city and moving to the country? This could be an interesting option, especially if you want to stay physically active by tending to your property. If you’re dreaming of beehives, a large garden, and letting your dogs run free, you could consider buying a small farm. For those with a flair for business, you could sell your harvest of fruit, vegetables, flowers or honey at farmers’ markets in the area. This is also an active retirement project that’s easier to do as a pair.

9. Practising yoga

This practice is suitable for seniors and great for both your mental and physical health. This activity can easily be done at home, either alone or as a couple. There are hundreds of classes available for free online. All you’ll need is a yoga mat and some comfortable clothes.

10. Starting a book club

Call the friends who share your love of reading and get everyone together. Vote on which book to pick, then make a list of topics to guide your discussions: themes, character motivations, the book’s influence on pop culture, etc. Then, find a time that works for everyone and decide how often and where you’ll meet. It could be in the afternoon for some English high tea, or in the evening when everyone can enjoy a glass of wine.

How to achieve your retirement goals

To make sure your retirement suits your life, you have to prepare.

1. Define your retirement goals

Which goals matter to you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years? Find solutions with your advisor to help your retirement goals reflect your dreams.

2. Establish an initial retirement strategy

Talk to your advisor and figure out the best time to leave your active life. You could opt to retire from your company gradually. This is referred to as a phased departure or progressive retirement. Start by discussing the matter with your employer and your advisor. Then, check your eligibility on the Retraite Québec website. If you’re allowed to proceed with a progressive retirement, you will then come to an agreement with your employer regarding the conditions surrounding your phased departure.

3. Maximize your savings and your income

Are you close to retiring and wondering how to maximize your savings? Depending on your personal financial situation, see if it’s better for you to pay off your debts or to invest in your retirement savings. Then, choose the savings products and investment solutions that are most beneficial to you.

How to maximize your income

There are many tax strategies you can use to maximize your income and allow you to plan a wonderful retirement.

  • Take advantage of your common-law status: You can optimize your taxes by splitting your eligible retirement income between both partners to reach a tax balance.
  • Defer your government pension: Consider collecting your Old Age Security (OAS) and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) benefits when you’re 70 rather than when you’re 65. They’ll increase by 36% and 42% respectively. Of course, this only makes sense if you have a very strong budget and retirement plan to support you until you’re 70 without these direct sources of income.
  • Make an RRSP withdrawal plan: Letting your money grow for as long as possible in your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) is recommended. Once you’re 71, you will have to convert your RRSP into a registered retirement income fund (RRIF), which will have a considerable impact on your taxes. So, think about setting up a good RRIF withdrawal strategy.

Need advice on your withdrawal


Whether you’re close to retirement or enjoying it already, feel free to talk to your advisor. They will be able to guide you in your budget planning and give you plenty of tips on maximizing your savings and your income. 

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