Retirement Savings

Not everyone wants to work right up until they're on their death bed, but surprisingly few people make any plans for retirement. Even those people who have managed their mortgage and car loan well can find their lifestyles sharply curtailed when they retire and transition to a fixed income from a government or company pension. To make sure your retirement years are some of the best in your life, follow our simple advice on retirement savings.

Start Early

The best thing you can do for yourself is to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Though it might seem silly to you to be putting away money for retirement when you're sixteen years old and working at your first job (especially where there are movies to see and beers to drink) but you'll thank yourself later. And don't worry that investing in an RRSP will make it harder to save for a downpayment on a home. There is a government program that allows a first-time buyer to use his or her RRSP funds. Talk to a real estate agent for more details. The later you start saving, the more you'll need to put away each month to make sure you have enough to live on.

Stick to a Schedule

In order to make sure your retirement savings grow at a rate that will allow them to support you when you're 65, make sure you make regular contributions. The best way to make sure you're keeping up with your payments is to make a schedule and stick to it. Set aside a certain amount of your paycheck for retirement like you do with rent and car payments. You can even set up your bank account to transfer a set amount of money to your retirement account each month if you have trouble remembering.

Don't Dip

It can be very tempting, when you're looking at trendy fashions or dreaming of going on vacation, to dip into your retirement savings in order to afford something better. Most people do so with the intention of paying it back, but that hardly ever happens. Unless it's an unavoidable crisis like the loss of a job or a life saving medical bill, never dip into your retirement savings. Treat is as untouchable or pretend it's not there, whatever helps you keep your hands off it.

Protect Your Savings

When you go to see brokers with visions of big savings dancing in your head, remember that markets go down as well as up, and although there's a chance you'll make a killing, you could also lose the money you invest. So never make risky investments with your retirement savings, or at least not all of it.

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