Lynn MacNeil Financial-PlannerManaging Your Money

During the past few months, I have had an unusual number of clients ask me about retiring.  Not in terms of retirement planning, but as in… retiring, now! ASAP! This is probably not too surprising. The pandemic has changed many of our lives and has provided the chance to rethink the way we are doing things.

I have spent my entire career working primarily with people who are retired or close to retirement. More often than not, over the years, planned retirement dates have gotten delayed, not because of financial reasons, but because people just weren’t ready to stop working. I had one client whose retirement date got bumped repeatedly for 18 years! He enjoyed what he was doing, was working from home, and being paid handsomely for it. By the time he finally called it quits, he was 83! Many of my clients have worked well into their 70’s.

“I had one client whose retirement date got bumped repeatedly for 18 years!  He enjoyed what he was doing. By the time he finally called it quits, he was 83!”

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But this pandemic has taken much of the joy out of working and heightened stress levels for many people.  The enjoyment of chatting with colleagues around the water cooler or meeting for lunch is gone. That seems to be pushing many people to consider ‘calling it quits’ earlier than planned.

“Do I have enough?”

The big question becomes “do I have enough to retire?” There’s no set amount that you need in order to retire. The answer to that question is, ‘it depends’.  It depends on how much income you need (…or want) to live on.  Whether or not you have other sources of income such as pensions or rental income.  How much risk you’re willing to take in your investments?  And…. how long you’re going to live!  As no one knows the answer to the last question, it is always safer to use a conservative estimate for life expectancy… 90? 95? 100?… it’s your choice.

It also depends on whether or not you want to leave money when you’re gone.  So ‘it depends’ simply means that there are various factors to consider when asking the question “do I have enough?

Get a financial physical

It has become increasingly popular for people to get a full physical exam at a private medical clinic. They do blood tests, check your heart, lungs, etc. and then often give you goals to improve your physical health. Lose 10 pounds, reduce cholesterol, increase cardio exercise, etc. A sophisticated financial planning software will achieve similar results, and it will answer the question, ‘can I retire?’ If the assumptions are conservative, and the answer is yes, then great! You’ve achieved financial independence!

If the answer is no, then it’s time to revisit the elements that you have control over. These include: when you want to retire, how much income do you want, and how much more can you save. Also, check how well your investments are set up and how they’ve been doing. Are they working to achieve your goals and is their performance up to par?

Typically, a financial projection will provide you with lots of information about your financial health, including how your assets will be used during retirement.

retirement graph

Identify any gaps in your plan

The sooner you can see the big picture and identify gaps that exist, the easier it is to close those gaps. I know for some, fear holds them back from looking at their financial future.  Maybe it’s concern about a particular scenario, for example; “What if my partner dies, will I be okay financially?” Or they’re simply afraid that they’re behind where they “should” be and won’t like the results. The same fear can hold some people back from visiting a doctor when they feel like something is wrong. However, knowing where you stand and coming up with a plan can really take a weight off your shoulders and get you moving in the right direction. The sooner you act, the higher the likelihood of success.

If COVID-19 has made you think about your retirement, working with your financial advisor to develop a comprehensive plan will let know where you stand, and what tweaks (if any) that you need to make. We have enough stress and anxiety these days. Getting clear about your financial future can reduce some of this worry.

BTW: Happy New Year! Hoping that 2021 brings us all closer to “normal!”

Lynn MacNeil, F.PL. Associate Investment Advisor, is a Financial Planner with Richardson Wealth Limited in Montreal, with over 25 years of experience working with retirees and pre-retirees. For a second opinion, private financial consultation, or more information on this topic or on any other investment or financial matter, please contact Lynn MacNeil at 514.981.5795 or [email protected]. Or visit our website at

The opinions expressed in this report are the opinions of the author and readers should not assume they reflect the opinions or recommendations of Richardson Wealth Limited or its affiliates. Assumptions, opinions and estimates constitute the author’s judgment as of the date of this material and are subject to change without notice. We do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of this material, and it should not be relied upon as such. Before acting on any recommendation, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
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