Is it possible to attain your retirement goal when the majority of your income producing years are behind you? It’s never too late to improve your financial situation.

Profile

Louise Gates (58) is the head of a marketing team for a small manufacturing company in Kelowna. After renting for most of her working life she purchased an older home five years ago using an inheritance from her father’s estate for the down payment.

Since then, Louise has become frustrated with the rising costs of her household expenses and she often spends her entire paycheque every month. Even though she doesn’t consider herself a big spender, she has accumulated a fair bit of debt mainly due to a vehicle purchase and some major repairs to her home.

Her only savings are through payroll deductions for a Group RRSP which are matched with a 50% contribution from her employer. The RRSP is currently invested in low- to medium-risk mutual funds. She will rely on this fund, CPP and OAS as income sources in retirement.

Louise likes her job so much she wants to continue working until she is at least 70.

Can this late starter get her retirement goal on track

Assets:              

  • Home – $485,000
  • Group RRSP – $172,000
  • TFSA – $1,300

Liabilities:

  • Mortgage – $190,000
  • Line of credit – $27,000
  • Credit Card – $4,600

Goals:

  1. Louise is contemplating selling her home and downsizing into a nearby retirement complex where housing is valued in the $265,000 – $315,000 range.
  2. Pay off her debts before retirement.
  3. She currently enjoys a couple of road trips a year with her lifelong friend, but she would like to take some time off in the winter to get away from the snow for a few weeks.

Here’s what she could do:

Louise is in a negative cash flow situation at times. She needs to get a handle on this right now.

Her home is rapidly becoming a money pit. Moving to a less expensive property would solve a lot of her issues. First, she needs to assess her cash flow to determine how much of a home she can comfortably afford.

Alternatively, she could consider selling her house and go back to renting. This will bolster her retirement savings and free up some cash for travel.

She needs to make paying off her debt her first priority.

Right now, she plans to work until age 70. If a person works past age 65 it should be because they want to not because they need to for financial reasons. She needs to consider that she may not be able to work in the future due to health reasons, company downsizing, or she just simply might not be inclined to any more.

If she doesn’t make some changes now, Louise could very well be forced to work for longer than she chooses to make ends meet.


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