Retirement Transition - Why Your First Step should Be a Plan

Retirement Income Planning, Calgary

Let me save you a lot of grief and a lot of money. Don't retire and start making a bunch of financial decisions willy-nilly. Start with some planning first. There are several decisions in retirement that cannot be undone and can result in you losing thousands of dollars of potential income. You are planning out the next 30 + years of your life and it needs to be done properly.

It is possible to add an additional $56,000 of tax-free income from ages 65-70 if you delay CPP to age 70 and start only with GIS first.

By delaying CPP to age 70 you will also earn 42% more than you will at age 65 and 78% more than you will at age 60.

On the flip side, you can reduce or eliminate a potential OAS clawback by not delaying your RRIF conversion to age 71.

Confused yet?

The thing is - there are so many choices and every choice will have an impact on something else. It's called unintended consequences. Take the RRSP to RRIF conversion at age 71 for example. There are several potential downfalls. First, now you are forced to start taking the minimum annual payment of 5.28% and increasing each year. When you delay drawing down your RRSP you are now regulated to take a minimum amount of money on a higher balance. Secondly, if you are married and your spouse passes away prematurely, you now have two RRIFs to contend with and now you will have a higher minimum income to take and this could start reducing your OAS income and other government benefits. A third downside is the potential tax hit if the last surviving spouse dies and the entire RRIF is now income in one year. That could be a 48% tax bill in Alberta. 

Portfolio design 

How you grew your money is not the same as how you will withdraw your money. Maybe you had a genius strategy and are sitting on a large nest egg. What is the best order to get the most life-long income and pay the least amount of taxes? Should your TFSA and your RRSP/RRIF have the same strategy? 

Insurance. Medical benefits. Going to the dentist. Physio. Prescriptions. Travel insurance.

Estate and Will planning. Who will look after your affairs when you are too old to do it yourself? Who do you want to have what's left? What are the ways to avoid probate and simplify your estate?

Long-term care planning. Who's going to look after you when you get old? It will never happen to you. You will be the first person to grow old and just die in your sleep - painless - easy. Unlikely. Memory loss. Sickness. Bad knees. Downsizing your home. When? Before it's too late, I hope. How will you pay for it? Are you depending on government assistance? Well, I hope you have the time to wait because the list is growing faster than you may realize. Private facilities - be prepared to pay a lot of money.

Leaving your future to chance is not a plan!

What every soon-to-be retiree needs is a comprehensive plan that deals with the issues and questions outlined above. The proper order of taking income can ensure you have a sustainable level of income throughout life that can ensure you don't overspend and become a burden to others or underspend and die the richest person in the graveyard.

Check out our fee-only planning service here.

Retirement Income Planners,

Willis J Langford BA, MA, CFP

Nancy R Langford CRS


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I contacted Langford Financial to see if they could help me with specific questions on retirement & estate planning, efficient tax strategies, CPP and OAS benefits, and income drawdown strategies. I was very nervous at first about whether they would be a good fit for my needs, but my concerns were quickly put to rest and Willis and his team made me feel at ease right from the very first meeting.

They are very easy to work with, are very knowledgeable and resourceful, are able to break down complex matters into an easy-to-understand manner, and are always quick to respond to any questions. They reviewed my situation and were able to tailor a plan to fit my specific needs, to my complete satisfaction.

The plan included amongst other things, the best way to utilize efficient income tax strategies. helped me to understand the correct drawdown of assets which would result in larger savings, and provided guidance on insurance products and efficient estate planning.

As a result, I have a much clearer picture of my financial situation now and feel very confident and satisfied with the plan that they have proposed for me, going forward. What I appreciated the most about Willis and his team was that, in addition to their friendly, personable and professional approach, at no time was there ever any pressure to purchase any products.


I am very happy with the service I received from Willis and his team and would recommend Langford Financial to anyone looking for advice on their retirement planning needs. You will not be disappointed!

Naila Jinnah

Naila Jinnah
Fee-Only Planning Client

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