10 Critical Mistakes People Make When Planning for Retirement

10 Critical Mistakes People Make When Planning for Retirement.
  • After years of hard work, will I have enough money to live comfortably?
  • Will I outlive my money?
  • Will I be able to maintain my lifestyle?
  • What can I do to prepare for unexpected expenses?
  • How do I position myself for a confident retirement?

This guide highlights ten retirement planning mistakes people make when planning for retirement and how you can avoid them.

At TMFG, we believe you shouldn’t have to face retirement with worry and confusion instead, you should feel excited about life during retirement.

01 | Not knowing your desired lifestyle.


Not knowing your desired lifestyle.

Ensure you have enough income to continue living your retired life as you imagined. Not knowing/planning your retirement income.

  • What is the ideal retirement for you?
  • What do you want to achieve in retirement?
  • What kind of life do you want to live?

Understanding what you want first and then developing a plan for your retirement income to achieve that goal.

Did you know?
More than half (53 percent) of Canadians don’t know how much they will need to retire. Source.

02 | Taking government benefits too early or too late.


Taking government benefits (CPP & OAS) too early or too late.

Government pensions provide flexibility to Canadians in different retirement situations.
It also incentivizes pensions that are taken after the age of 65.

  • Are you willing and able to work past 65?
  • If so, you can get a boost to your government pensions if you elect to take them after 65.
  • If you retire before 65, can you supplement the decrease in CPP & OAS?

Did you know?
According to the National Institute on Aging, 95 percent of Canadians take CPP at the age of 65 or earlier, with only one percent deferring until the maximum age of 70. Source.

03 | Not knowing the Tax Implications of withdrawing your retirement income.


Tax Implications

Ensure you have enough income to continue living your retired life as you imagined.

  • What is the ideal retirement for you?
  • What do you want to achieve in retirement?
  • What kind of life do you want to live?

This is one of the main retirement mistakes that surprises people. Understanding what you want first and then developing a plan for your retirement income to achieve that goal.

74% of respondents said they worry about having enough income in retirement. Yet the majority of respondents didn’t know how retirement income is taxed. Source.

04 | Not setting up your registered accounts in the right way.


Not setting up your registered accounts in the right way.

Registered assets provide many tax benefits to Canadians, one benefit being taxation upon your estate.
Have you taken full advantage of these benefits and used them in collaboration with your will to minimize your estate tax implications and probate fees?

One-third (34%) of Canadians initiated a conversation about end-of-life plans in 2020, including making or updating their will, deciding on end-of-life wishes and estate planning. Source.

05 | Not having a grasp of your legacy. What do you want this to look like?



Do you want to leave your mark on future generations?

  • Will you do that through charitable donations?
  • Gifts to family members and friends?

Utilizing different tools like a Will, beneficiaries and life insurance policies can help make your legacy even more impactful for the people or organizations you choose.

Most Canadian adults (56%) do not have a signed will. Source.

06 | Not having a retirement budget.


Not having a retirement budget.

Another common retirement planning mistake is not having a retirement budget.

Unlike working, you will have a fixed income in retirement. Therefore, it will be even more important to review your budget.

If physically healthy, your retirement could last for decades, and spending in the first decade of retirement will be very different than spending in the last decade.

Are you prepared to budget for the retirement you want?

48% of retirees don’t have a monthly budget for their retirement spending. Source.

07 | Having too much wealth in cash.


Having too much wealth in cash.

It is good to have an emergency fund for any unforeseen expenses. However, too much of an emergency fund can mean falling behind.
Do you know how much you should keep in your bank account?

Among Canadians investing, 62 percent have cash in their TFSAs, representing over 40 percent of their account holdings. Similarly, RRSPs have 22 percent of assets in cash. Source.

08 | Having a portfolio not built to last.



When someone enters retirement, a common belief is that their portfolio should become conservative. However, it is important to develop a portfolio that invests responsibly to ensure that your portfolio can keep up with the increasingly rising cost of living. One effective method to safeguard your retirement savings is by diversifying with assets like a Gold IRA, which can provide a hedge against inflation and market volatility
Are you confident your portfolio can keep up with rising prices?

As Canada’s inflation rate soared to an 18-year high, increased living costs are a source of financial stress for two out of three (67%) Canadians — more than double that of any other financial stressor. Source.

09 | DIY investing.


DYI Investing

Thanks to technology, every investor can invest on their own, but should you? Investing on your own can be difficult, time-consuming and lead to bad results.

Can you afford to invest on your own without the help of a professional?

Advice Based Confidence: 79 percent of Canadians rely on a financial advisor, a nine percent increase from 2020. Those with a financial advisor are more likely to feel confident they will have the money they need to retire (53 percent). Source.

10 | Not having a plan or creating it too late.


Not having a plan

A goal without a plan is just a wish. Put yourself in a better position by creating a plan to follow.

If you’re not confident that you can retire without a plan, then speak with a financial planner now.

80% of Canadians who had sought advice from a financial professional expressed confidence, compared with 57% of Canadians who hadn’t. Source.

You Don’t Have to Face Retirement with Worry & Confusion.


Assante Wealth Management Firm


You deserve a custom-built plan by a trusted Financial Advisor to unite all of your assets and wealth into a solid strategy for steady retirement income.

Working with our Toronto financial advisors, you’ll know you’re on track.

  • Build a strategic plan for an exciting future that gets you to and through retirement with confidence.
  • We take the journey with you as a long-term, trusted partner who has your best interest in mind.
  • Stay informed through regular meetings, events, weekly podcasts and videos and monthly newsletters.

Related articles

Top 5 Tax-saving Tactics Every Gen-Xer Should Know

Tax-Saving Tactics for Gen-Xers   In this week’s article, we’re exploring five essential tax-saving strategies explicitly tailored for Gen Xers. Born between 1965 and 1980, ...
Read More →

Episode 263: Overcoming Resistance – Key to Successful Financial Planning

Welcome to another episode of "Think Smart with TMFG," your weekly dose of relevant financial insights for everyday Canadians. In this episode, Senior Financial Advisor ...
Read More →

CPP Contributions: Pros and Cons

Working past age 65? Consider the pros and cons of contributing to the CPP.     As the population ages and many Canadians choose to ...
Read More →

Financial Planning Advice from Canada's Top Financial Advisors

Sign Up To Receive Email Updates On The Financial Industry And Complimentary Workshops.

By providing your e-mail address you provide The McClelland Financial Group of Assante Capital Management Ltd. with your express consent to send you electronic communications. If you choose to discontinue receiving e-mails, you may withdraw consent by contacting tmfg@assante.com.


Get actionable financial insights from the Top financial planners in Toronto.

Toronto's Top Financial Advisors
Copyright Assante Wealth Management. © 2024

Disclaimer | Assante advisory services are offered through Assante Capital Management Ltd. Assante Capital Management Ltd. is a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. The services described may not be applicable or available with respect to all clients. Services and products may be provided by an Assante advisor or through affiliated or non-affiliated third parties. Some services and products may not be available through all Assante advisors. Services may change without notice. Insurance products and services are provided through Assante Estate and Insurance Services Inc.

We have a team of advisors each specializing in varying portfolio sizes. Please let us know the approx. amount of your investable assets to help us to direct you to the advisor that is best suited to you.