Wishful thinking

Carrie Russell, Senior Vice President of Retail Banking for TD Canada Trust. When I was eight years old, I believed if I closed my eyes and crossed my fingers, arms and toes, whatever I wished for would come true. I was reminded of this while reading about a study we did to better understand Canadians’ attitudes towards saving for retirement. An astonishing 20% of those surveyed said that instead of contributing to a Retirement Savings Plan (RSP), they are counting on winning the lottery, inheriting money or relying on the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Quebec Pension Plan (RRQ). About as reliable a plan as crossing your fingers and making a wish.

If you have retirement fears, the best way to quell those fears is to take charge of your future now. That is easily said and harder to accomplish. But, it can be done, even if you are finding it really tough to stretch your dollars until your next paycheque.

Ideally, you want to put at least 10% of your salary each month into savings, but if that number is too difficult for you to contemplate, don’t panic; do a little something rather than doing nothing. Start small by opening a RSP and setting aside just $2 a day. Start contributing at age 25 and you’ll have more than $125,000 by the time you are 65. The web site tdgetsaving.com has tips on how to get started.

Although it is essential to plan for the future, it’s also important to save for the here and now. Create an emergency fund that will pay your rent and daily expenses for a few months, just in case. An easy way to do this is with an automatic transfer from your chequing account into a savings account or Tax-Free Savings Account. Start with just $2 a day and you won’t even notice it’s gone.