A couple we’ll call Sally, 54, and Mike, 52, live in Alberta. They both work as personnel specialists, but have only been in their current roles for six and eight years, respectively. Sally and Mike have two children, aged 18 and 20, but their financial assets are modest: A house worth $400,000 on a 40 acre plot, and additional assets worth $148,000, including 12 acres of raw land, a car, a truck, four horses and a trailer. They also have $341,524 in debt, leaving their net worth at just over $200,000 — not a lot for folks expecting to retire in 10 to 15 years.
“We have put everything into our house and land,” Mike explains. “We have no RRSPs, no TFSAs, and no savings apart from $10,000 in chequing. We will have benefits from our employer, but with just a few years on the job, it won’t be a whole lot. Our dilemma is how we can retire with a monthly income of $5,500 after tax?”
No RRSP! That's like a 401(k) plan for those in the US.
These people worked for thirty years and completely neglected their retirement accounts. They missed out on three decades of tax sheltered growth.
Unfortunately, this mindset is quite common. Numerous people in the past few years have told me how they've bought a new house with a giant mortgage. They'll definitely start saving for their retirement once that 25-years-long debt has been paid off. One guy who told me that was in his late 40s!