Do you have enough for retirement? How much is enough? These are just a couple of questions that you should be asking yourself as the kids are going back to school. The statistics are startling as more and more boomers reach retirement age and the pressure builds on the public pension system.

According to Statistics Canada, only 18.4% of families with children have about $49,114 in private pension assets. This is pensions money other than RRSPs, RRIFs. This compares to the nearly 27.9% of couples with no children at home who have private pensions of $94,658. This is 2005 the latest year for statistics.

Most financial advisers suggest that you should have between 70-75% of your pre-retirement income in a pension plan. This sounds like a lot of money to put away however, all things being unequal, the price of food is going up, utilities and property taxes going up. That nest egg quickly evaporates quicker than water on a hot pan. Some financial planners say you can count on Canada Pension Plan being there for you when you retire. Some will even fight you tooth and nail to say that yes you can rely on the government. I say look at history and see if government has been wise in its spending. Think of several boondoggle projects that the government got scammed on. Enough said.

Generally speaking a retirement fund of at least $1 million is a nice start. If you rely on the government here is what you will receive annually:

Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension: $ 9,945
Old Age Security: $ 5,661
Total income: $15,606

That is all you get from the government and as you can see that is not a lot of money to live off of.

Here is what you should be doing today not tomorrow as age 65 will come faster than a tornado. Put money into investments that pay you dividends. Its great that company XYZ stock price is at an all time high, but where is the share in wealth? Where is the dividend that your supposed to get when you invest? No dividend means management is keeping the money all to themselves and don't want the shareholders to be compensated for investing. Isn't that the purpose of investing? Dump that stock quickly as that high flying stock price can come quickly crashing down to earth. Also dump that under performing mutual fund. Compare it to the bench mark index of the country your invested in or the broad index like S&P 500, Morgan Stanley Composite Index, or the East Asia and Far East index. Sit down with your adviser and see if your on track. Or if your a do it yourself person, look at that portfolio real carefully. What piece of information is missing? Become like a detective and search for answers. Become like the CSI person of the investing world.

If you put money into RRSPs you are putting money aside for retirement. I would recommend putting money aside of say 10% per month of your monthly income. Canada Revenue Agency says you can contribute upto a maximum of 18% of your total income per year. How much is 18% of your total income? This figure is found on Part B of your Notice of Assessment from CRA.

It's a good idea to look at what type of expenses your going to incur like health care costs for prescription drugs, traveling costs if you want to travel, membership fees at say the local golf club.

Let's say for the sake of argument you put away $500 per month into a no load mutual fund RRSP and your gross income is about $5,000 per month. CRA says you can contribute a maximum of 18% of your gross income to your RRSP. In this case the maximum contribution is $10,800 and this is the amount of RRSP room available to contribute.

A good rule of thumb for estimating the amount you need to retire is to double your current expenses and under estimate the amount of income you have. The idea here is to plan ahead and make contingency plans for that day. Put the time in to planning now as that retirement day will come very quickly. Use online financial calculators to give you a rough idea of how much you will need to retire. Always over estimate your expenses and under estimate your income and you will have enough to retire. Don't be like those seniors who have to live off eating dog food. Plan now and re-look at the plan monthly or even weekly to see if your on track. You can rely on the government to help you out in your golden years with: higher taxes, reduced benefits and higher user fees. The first to go in government deficit situation is social programs. Think Greece. Don't think it can't happen here, it can. When governments get desperate for revenue those social programs start to look pretty good as a target. Do be on your guard, do guard your nest egg, no one else will.

About Author / Additional Info:
Mathew Jazenko is the owner of MRJ Financial Solutions and is dedicated to improving YOUR bottom line. Questions/comments/further information or visit us at