retirement savings plan

Do you ever ‘do the math?’

I do the math. A lot. I’ve always done the math. I was born in 1970, a nice even number, so I’ve always done the math wondering what life would be like in future years, figuring out how old I’d be and just wondering. That kind of math is fun, the wondering math.

But ‘doing the math’ can be many different things.

Lately ‘doing the math’ has been about looking at the term left on mortgages and car loans and imagining what life will be like when those debts are gone (next summer for the car, 2032 for the house).

2032!? Will we have flying cars by then? Will my kids have careers? Will I be a grandfather? You see how ‘doing the math’ can become a long list of daydreaming – watch Back To The Future to appreciate how a few decades each way from present day can affect things.

But then I get back to the numbers.

stock market

There are those debts that will get erased, but I also have assets. I’m lucky, my dad helped me open an RRSP as soon as I started working. I didn’t put a lot in at first, but it was something. When I first started it, I was watching it daily, micromanaging the returns on my small investments.

Now, some 25+ years later, I put about 8% of my income into the RSP right now and I only think about how it’s doing when I get quarterly or annual updates. And wouldn’t you know it, the annual update I just got in the mail has me doing the math.

My latest RSP summary shows more money than I’d ever thought I’d have “in the bank,” but is it enough? My RSPs, while not maxed out, should be healthy enough to sustain me.  I think.

So let’s do the math for real.

I’ve got a meeting with Scotiabank next week to look at what I have, where I’m going, and what I need. I can ‘do the math’ in my head all I want, but I’m going to sit down with a professional and do the math for real and take a look at my unique situation and give me some expert retirement savings advice.

Some of the questions I have:

  • Is it smart to keep paying off debt before increasing my RSP contributions?
  • Is my 8% contribution enough? My income would allow an 18% contribution, but I can’t afford that – can I?
  • Let’s do the real math – I know how much I have, but how much do I really need?

I’ll also be participating in a Facebook Live Chat on January 31:

  • Date: January 31, 2017 at 1pm EST
  • Theme: Your Road to Retirement
  • Channel: Scotiabank Facebook
  • Hosts: Neil MacDonald, Managing Director, Scotia Asset Management and Lena Almeida, Founder, Listen to Lena

Apart from the money, I’ve never really wondered what retirement would look like for me. I like how my parents are living their life right now. They’re not living the retirement life you see of yachts and vineyards, but they still have been smart enough to have money to take big adventures every year (a month in Italy, cruises in Scandinavia, safari treks in Africa).

norway cruise

Will my wife and I have enough to retire back to Vancouver? Likely not – can you imagine the prices in 20 years!?! But will we have enough to keep on the same lifestyle path we have now? Well, let’s find out.

The RSP deadline is March 1, 2017. Do me a favour, and do the math on your own now. If you’re not doing monthly contributions, start now – it makes saving so much easier on your budget. Do the math now to give yourself some runway to figure things out so you’re not scrambling before the deadline. When it comes to an RSP time is your ally, and the more you give yourself, the better off you’ll be.

This post is sponsored by Scotiabank.

Everyone has different plans and goals for retirement. With expert advice, financial planning tools, and award-winning investment options, a Scotiabank advisor can help you craft a customized plan that will bring your dreams to life.


Scotiabank is committed to working with their customers to find the right financial plans, products, and services to make sound personal investment choices that set them on a path to help them become better off.

With the RSP deadline coming up March 1, talk to a Scotiabank advisor about a customized plan and learn more at


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