Don’t Get Surprised By OAS and CPP Survivor Benefits

Don’t Get Surprised By OAS and CPP Survivor Benefits

For many retirees, CPP and OAS make up a significant portion of their retirement income. A disruption to either of these income sources can be very stressful. Even more so because this disruption follows the unexpected death of a partner or spouse.

Many retirees may not realize, but OAS and CPP survivor benefits are significantly reduced, anywhere from a 40% reduction to a full 100% reduction!

For lower income households, pension benefits like CPP and OAS can provide 50%-75% of their retirement income. For very low income households, CPP and OAS, when combined with other low-income benefits like GIS, can easily make up 100% of retirement income for some couples. Losing these benefits can be a big change to their retirement plan.

Even for higher income households, who may have significant assets in either RRSPs or TFSAs, it’s not uncommon for CPP and OAS to make up 25%-30% of their retirement income.

A disruption to this income can be devastating for some retirement plans, and what many people may not realize is the extent to which some of these benefits can be reduced when a partner passes away.

Although difficult and unpleasant to even think about, the impact of a partner passing is an important consideration for many retirement plans. It’s important to understand what changes there might be to both retirement income and retirement spending if the unfortunate were to happen.

For some plans, those which have a large amount of investment assets, the risk is smaller. Investment assets inside RRSPs and TFSAs can be transferred through spousal rollovers with no tax consequences. So, the disruption to these plans may be smaller.

But for most plans, the risk and disruption of an unexpected death can be quite large, especially in certain circumstances. In the worst-case scenario, the loss of CPP and OAS combined can represent more than $20,000 per year in lost retirement income!

The Best Parts Of A Financial Plan

The Best Parts Of A Financial Plan

Financial planning is a fascinating process. When building a financial plan there are equal parts of finance (math, numbers, money etc), and personal (values, goals, risk aversion etc). This makes every financial plan unique. No two financial plans are the same. Even when two people start with the exact same income, assets, debt and expenses, the fact is their plan will differ because they have different goals and personal values.

Even though the plan may differ, there are certain parts in a financial plan that never change. There are net worth projections, income projections, cash flow planning, income and expenses etc etc.

In this post, I’m going to highlight some of my favorite parts of a financial plan. These are what I would consider to be the best parts of a financial plan, the most interesting, the best of the best. But it doesn’t represent everything. There are many great parts of a financial plan and the “best” part can differ from plan to plan.

For example, we won’t talk about government benefits below, but for many households, especially those with children under the age of 17, government benefits play a big role in their financial plan. We recently did a plan for a young family where a few small changes allowed this family to reduce their income tax and increase their government benefits by $100,000+ over the course of their plan! That would definitely be the best part of that plan!

What we will cover in this post are net worth projections, debt payoff plans, planning around different income sources, and how we understand the “success rate” of a plan.

Taking CPP Early Or Late? The Soft Benefits

Taking CPP Early Or Late? The Soft Benefits

In the last blog post we looked at the financial considerations when deciding to take CPP early or late. But personal finance is never just about the money. Half of personal finance is personal. The “best” path varies from person to person even when the numbers are exactly the same. When it comes to taking CPP early or late these personal considerations can make a big difference.

There are many “soft benefits” to taking CPP early or late. These benefits can make taking CPP early look more favorable…  or it can make taking CPP later look more favorable… it just depends on how much YOU value each benefit.

Before deciding to take CPP early or late it’s important to understand what your goals are for retirement. Not just financial goals but personal goals. What do you want to do in retirement? What does your retirement look like? This may inform some of your decisions around these “soft benefits”

It can also help to have a financial plan and see how taking CPP early or late helps you achieve your financial goals. Everyone is different, and the decision to take CPP wont be the same for everyone.

Taking CPP Early Or Late? How Long Until Breakeven?

Taking CPP Early Or Late? How Long Until Breakeven?

Should you take CPP early or late? Are you considering taking CPP early? Are you wondering if you should delay? Should you take it early at age 60? Should you wait until regular retirement age at 65? Should you delay until age 70, the last date possible?

When to start taking CPP is just one of the many difficult decisions soon-to-be retirees face as they approach their retirement date.

It’s a big decision, and like many financial decisions there are many aspects to consider when deciding when to take CPP.

When a soon-to-be retiree is deciding to take CPP early or late there are both financial considerations as well as non-financial considerations to weigh.

Taking CPP late can provide a financial benefit if you plan to live past a certain age. This is a number and it’s easier to evaluate but it’s based on longevity, which is a big unknown.

Taking CPP late also has non-financial considerations. There are “soft benefits” to delaying CPP. Depending on how much you value these soft benefits they can be worth quite a bit as well.

Even when two people have the exact same financial situation, they may choose different times to start CPP simply due to these longevity questions and soft benefits.

When deciding to take CPP or delay its first important to get basic understanding of how CPP works and how CPP payments change each year as you delay.

Should You Consider Paying Off The Mortgage Early or Investing Instead?

Should You Consider Paying Off The Mortgage Early or Investing Instead?

Paying off the mortgage early can be a fantastic financial goal. In the last post, we looked at the different ways to pay off a mortgage early, how to make a mortgage payoff plan, and talked a little bit about the benefit of paying off the mortgage early.

In this post, we’re going to look at some considerations when deciding to pay off the mortgage early vs investing. This is a common dilemma for many people in Canada. Where should they put extra cash? Against the mortgage? Or in non-registered investments?

Generally, it’s better to invest inside an TFSA or RRSP before choosing to pay off the mortgage early. There is no annual tax impact when investing inside either of these two accounts. Investments can grow tax free. This can make it more attractive to invest inside an tax advantaged account before paying off the mortgage early. But not always…

RRSPs can be counterproductive at certain income levels and in certain situations. Investing inside an RRSP for someone expecting a very low income in retirement might not be the best use of those extra funds. They may experience large GIS claw backs on RRSP withdrawals in retirement. In those cases, it may make sense to pay off the mortgage early before maximizing RRSP contribution room.

As always, when making a financial decision, like paying off the mortgage early vs investing, it’s important to look at the whole financial picture and not just one aspect. If you’re struggling with this decision then it might be helpful to get a custom financial plan from an advice-only planner.

Deciding to pay off the mortgage or invest isn’t just about taxes and investment returns… there are also a bunch of soft benefits to consider. These aren’t pure financial benefits but they can still be “worth” a lot depending on how much you value them. Make sure you consider the financial benefit of paying off the mortgage early but also the soft benefits as well.

To decide between paying off the mortgage or investing we absolutely need to look at the after-tax rates of return. We’re going to assume that we’ve maximized our RRSP and TFSA contribution room already and are deciding between paying off the mortgage or investing in a non-registered investment account.

How To Pay Off The Mortgage Early

How To Pay Off The Mortgage Early

One of the largest purchases we’ll ever make in our lifetime is when we buy a home. It’s an exciting time but also very stressful financially. Along with this massive purchase comes an equally massive mortgage. This debt typically takes between 25 and 30 years to pay off but many people choose to pay off their mortgage early.

Paying off the mortgage early is an important financial goal. It’s a goal that is typically (and hopefully) achievable before reaching retirement age.

Paying off the mortgage early is a great medium-term goal, something achievable within 10-20 years (or even earlier if you’re really aggressive). Because it’s a medium-term goal this makes it very interesting as a financial goal. It can be very motivating to see progress against your mortgage each year.

Getting rid of the mortgage is a great feeling! It’s incredibly freeing to see those mortgage payments disappear. It’s also nice to know that you have the security of owning your home outright.

Paying off the mortgage early also removes a huge burden from a family’s monthly cash flow. This creates a lot of flexibility to make lifestyle changes, switch careers, take more time off from work, or even retire early.

There are different ways to pay off a mortgage early. Which method you choose will depend on your personal and financial goals. The important thing is to make a plan.

Making a mortgage payoff plan can be exciting. It’s amazing to see how those future payments can quickly reduce your mortgage. Making a plan is easy and we’ll show you a couple of examples using our free debt payoff tool.

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