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How to start saving for retirement at 45 in Canada

Starting to save for retirement at 45 in Canada is still feasible, but it requires a proactive approach and potentially more aggressive saving and investing strategies compared to starting earlier. Here are steps you can take to begin saving for retirement at this stage:

  1. Assess Your Current Financial Situation: Take stock of your current financial situation, including income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Understanding where you stand financially will help you determine how much you can afford to save for retirement.
  2. Set Clear Retirement Goals: Determine your retirement goals, including the age at which you’d like to retire and the lifestyle you envision during retirement. Knowing your goals will help you calculate how much you need to save.
  3. Create a Budget: Develop a budget that prioritizes saving for retirement. Allocate a portion of your income specifically for retirement savings. Look for areas where you can cut expenses or increase income to boost your retirement contributions.
  4. Maximize Retirement Accounts: Take advantage of tax-advantaged retirement accounts such as Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). Both accounts offer tax benefits that can help your savings grow faster. Consider contributing the maximum allowable amount to these accounts each year.
  5. Catch-Up Contributions: In Canada, individuals aged 50 and over are eligible to make catch-up contributions to their RRSPs. These contributions allow you to contribute more than the regular annual limit, helping you accelerate your retirement savings.
  6. Invest Wisely: Choose investments that align with your risk tolerance, time horizon, and retirement goals. While you may have a shorter time horizon compared to someone starting to save for retirement in their 20s or 30s, you still have time to benefit from long-term investment growth. Consider a diversified portfolio that includes a mix of stocks, bonds, and other assets.
  7. Consider Additional Income Streams: Explore opportunities to increase your income, such as taking on a side job or freelancing. Additional income can provide extra funds that you can allocate towards retirement savings.
  8. Seek Professional Advice: Consider consulting with a financial advisor who can help you develop a personalized retirement savings plan based on your goals, risk tolerance, and financial situation. An advisor can also provide guidance on investment strategies and tax planning.
  9. Stay Flexible: Be prepared to adjust your retirement savings plan as needed. Life circumstances and financial markets can change, so periodically review your plan and make adjustments as necessary.

Starting to save for retirement at 45 may require more aggressive saving and investing strategies, but it’s still possible to build a comfortable retirement nest egg with careful planning and disciplined saving habits.

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