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Saving for Retirement is Redundant.

August 07, 2023

Stop saving for retirement and have a better life

When you think about saving for retirement as this ominous thing that equates with survival, it becomes
a burden – and a hassle. You feel like you’re hiding your hard-earned dollars under an inaccessible
mattress because you’re uncertain of what the future holds. But, what if we stopped thinking about
saving for retirement as a chore and remembered what retirement really holds is the opportunity to do
the things we didn’t have time for?

The Financial Post published a kind of tongue-in-cheek article 1 about the Canadian Pension Plan. The
author’s premise was that people are not spending their pensions at so rapid a rate as we’re bullied into
believing. He demonstrates that after 53 spending steadily decreases as we age, and at 75, on average,
Canadians are spending 60% of what they were at 53. What does this mean about the way we’re
thinking of retirement planning?

I believe it shows we’re all hoarders. Instead of making retirement about saving for our bucket lists,
we’re saving just to save more once we stop working. And, I believe, this is a mentality we should
change. The next time we meet, let’s talk about the things you want to save for beyond the bare
necessities – like a trip you have secretly mapped out or a hobby you never got around to pursuing.

This will help you in, at least, two ways: one, you’ll stop feeling like you’re peeking at retirement from
around the corner in the dark basement of a horror movie. Two, you’ll be able to create a flexible and
realistic financial plan that suits your unique goals – now, and in the not-so-faraway future.

So, stop saving for retirement and starting dreaming about that marlin you’re going to catch or the
famous Neapolitan pizza you’re going to try because retirement should be shaken – not stirred.

3 Ways to Get Excited About Saving

1. Set Goals You’re Excited About. Write your goals down on a piece of paper and get them in front of
your advisor. The more specific you can be, the better. That ensures your plan reflects all of your goals.
While recording your goals, make sure they are SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable,
Relevant, and Timely. A goal to save for that trip to Thailand can be made SMARTer with a detail-
oriented eye. For instance, you could write: "Save $2,000 total for the Thailand trip by putting $115
monthly into my travel savings account over the next 18 months."

2. Track Your Success. Take your list of goals and number them based on your true interests, as earlier
defined. Many financial advisors would advise their clients to start with three key measures of basic
financial health: Retirement funding, emergency fund savings, and debt repayment.

You don't have to approach these one at a time, but you can choose to work on goals simultaneously
and "stack" goals by creating a progression of one goal to another. For instance, once you pay off your
highest interest debt, you can start saving for a new car. Stacking can help motivate you through the
1 Vettese, Fred. Why you should save less for retirement, and spend your money now (seriously). The Financial Post.
seriously. January 29, 2018.

more tedious goals so you can get to the exciting ones! [p.s. The one thing I've found over the past 23
years is that nobody has leftover money at the end of the year – So take a certain percentage out of it
right up front and pay yourself first.]

3. Celebrate + Elevate. Every time you hit one of those Hallmark card moments in life, you should go
over your financial goals again. Going to college, receiving a promotion, getting married, or moving to a
new city are all examples of life events that affect finances. Each time you level up is an opportunity to
reposition your bottle rocket and future-proof your finances!


Jon D. Williams
CFP, CIM Senior Investment Advisor
Williams Financial Group | Manulife Securities Incorporated
(519) 646-1010 or (866) 977-1010