IMG Financial

Retirement Planning

Nearing Your Golden Years

After years of navigating the corporate landscape, the anticipation of embracing a life according to your own clock is palpable. Excelling as an employee holds its significance, yet the day will inevitably dawn when you become the master of your own time. The question that looms: Do your assets align with the vision you have for your retirement lifestyle? When crafting a comprehensive retirement plan in Calgary, it’s crucial to contemplate the three distinctive phases of retirement planning.

Accumulation A robust retirement strategy commences on the very first day of your professional journey—this is the accumulation phase. The earlier you initiate your savings, the greater the potential for your money to compound over the years. Undoubtedly, most individuals starting out don’t boast substantial incomes, presenting a notable challenge.

Pre-Retirement Ironically, the phase just preceding retirement often witnesses the highest income levels. However, this surge leaves minimal time for substantial compounding. Despite this, resilience is key.

Retirement As you step into retirement, the focus shifts to income and wealth preservation. Growth takes a backseat as you channel your efforts into sustaining your lifestyle with the resources accumulated in your nest egg.

Crafting a plan that ensures your financial security throughout your retirement journey involves exploring diverse options. From RRSPs and TFSAs to CPP, annuities, investment funds, and more—these financial tools exist to nurture your assets, ensuring a prosperous future. But how do you navigate this sea of choices and determine the investments best suited to your needs? This is where the expertise of a seasoned financial advisor becomes invaluable. Much like a skilled tour guide in an unfamiliar land, a financial advisor in Calgary can steer you through the intricacies of finance, enabling you to make decisions aligned with your priorities, goals, and risk tolerance.

Seven Keys To Success

1. DETERMINE YOUR RETIREMENT INCOME NEEDS : Contact our office for a DETAILED ANALYSIS of your retirement income needs and opportunities.

2. REMEMBER THE THREE “S”S : Save now, Start now, and Stay invested. Begin with what you can, and increase regularly. Small amounts can accumulate over time. Stay invested for compound growth.

3. IMPORTANCE OF DIVERSIFICATION : Diversify investments to spread risk. Asset mix—safety, income, and growth—accounts for 80%+ of your portfolio’s return. Preparation starts at different stages. Effective strategy: begin in 20s/30s with RRSP/TFSA. While estimating retirement needs is hard, starting to save early is crucial. RRSP/TFSA contributions while young benefit from compound interest.

4. START EARLY : Make first contribution early in your career to benefit from compound interest.

5. CONTRIBUTE REGULARLY : Slow and steady contributions are key. Small, regular amounts ensure success.

6. CONTRIBUTE THE MAXIMUM : Contribute the maximum RRSP/TFSA amount whenever possible. Choose between RRSP, TFSA, or both.

7. CONSIDER YOUR RRSP/TFSA UNTOUCHABLE : Avoid tapping into RRSP/TFSA unless part of a planned strategy. Withdrawals impact funds available at retirement.

Know More

REGISTERED RETIREMENT SAVINGS PLAN A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) 1 is a retirement plan that is registered with the federal government and that you or your spouse or common-law partner can establish and contribute into until the end of the year when the plan holder turns 71. Deductible RRSP contributions can be used to reduce your tax. Any income you earn in the RRSP is exempt from tax for the time the funds remain in the plan. However, you generally have to pay tax when you cash in or receive payments from the plan. PRIMARY INVESTMENT OPTIONS FOR AN RRSP ACCOUNT: Mutual Funds Segregated Funds GICs & Term Deposits OTHER QUALIFIED RRSP INVESTMENT OPTIONS If you have questions about investment choices for an RRSP account – that is not listed above – contact our office for more information. SPOUSAL RRSPS With a spousal RRSP, you can direct part or all of your maximum allowable contribution to an RRSP in your spouse’s name. A spousal RRSP will help you save tax during retirement through income splitting, since the income eventually created from the funds will then be taxed at your spouse’s lower tax rate. WITHDRAWAL OPTIONS RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund) Home Buyers Plan Lifelong Learning Plan You can withdraw from RRSPs to buy or build a home for yourself or for someone who is related to you and is disabled. (Home Buyers’ Plan). Please note that restrictions apply. You can withdraw from RRSPs to finance training or education for you or your spouse or common-law partner. (Lifelong Learning Plan) Contact our office if you are looking for information about Registered Retirement Savings Plans.———- Also this one


A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a government-registered retirement account that allows you, your spouse, or common-law partner to contribute until the end of the year when the plan holder turns 71.

Deductible contributions to your RRSP can help reduce your taxable income. The income earned within the RRSP is tax-exempt as long as the funds remain in the plan. However, taxes are generally applicable when you cash in or receive payments from the plan.


  • Mutual Funds
  • Segregated Funds
  • GICs & Term Deposits

OTHER QUALIFIED RRSP INVESTMENT OPTIONS For additional information on investment choices not listed above, please reach out to our office.

SPOUSAL RRSPS Utilizing a spousal RRSP allows you to allocate part or all of your maximum allowable contribution to an RRSP in your spouse’s name. This strategy can provide tax advantages during retirement by enabling income splitting. The income generated from the funds will be taxed at your spouse’s potentially lower tax rate.


  • RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund)
  • Home Buyers Plan
  • Lifelong Learning Plan

Under the Home Buyers’ Plan, you can withdraw from RRSPs to buy or build a home for yourself or a related disabled individual, subject to certain restrictions.

The Lifelong Learning Plan allows you to withdraw from RRSPs to fund training or education for yourself, your spouse, or common-law partner.

For comprehensive information about Registered Retirement Savings Plans and assistance in making informed decisions, contact our office.



A Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) is an investment plan aligned with Government of Canada regulations. It allows you to transfer registered funds, typically from your RRSP, without tax liability, establishing a source of retirement income.

Some RRIFs operate similarly to extending an RRSP beyond age 71, with the distinction that you must withdraw taxable income. You can choose the payment level, ensuring it meets the minimum annual amount requirement, with no maximum limit.

With many RRIFs, you can adjust annual payments above the minimum to suit your needs. While higher payments deplete funds sooner, RRIFs can continue for the holder’s lifetime.

Minimum Annual Payments

You aren’t obligated to take any payment in the calendar year the RRIF is funded initially. In subsequent years, the minimum payment varies based on your age and RRIF’s total value at the year’s start.

Choosing your spouse’s birthdate for the minimum payment calculation can be strategic:

1. Opting for a younger spouse reduces the minimum payment significantly.
2. Selecting an older spouse increases the minimum payment without triggering withholding tax.
3. When spouses have RRIFs based on the same birthdates, combining them into one RRIF after one spouse’s passing is an option.

Minimum Payment, Age Less Than 71

If your age (or your spouse’s, if elected) is below 71 at the year’s start, the minimum payment is calculated by subtracting the age from 90 and dividing the result into the RRIF’s value. This formula results in increased payments yearly.

Minimum Payment, Age 71 to 77

For ages 71 to 77, minimum payments depend on whether the RRIF was funded before or after January 1, 1993. Different percentages apply to RRIFs funded before 1993 and those funded after.

Minimum Payment, Age More Than 77

From age 78 onwards, percentages are applied to the RRIF’s value based on the age at the year’s start.

Withholding Tax

Income tax may be deducted from RRIF payments, but only for the portion exceeding the annual minimum. Withholding tax applies to the full amount of payments taken in the RRIF’s opening year.

Estate Considerations

RRIFs simplify estate planning. In the event of death, the spouse/partner can continue receiving income, transfer the account tax-free to their RRIF/RRSP, or have the remaining balance paid to the estate or beneficiary.

Investment Choices

Just like RRSPs, RRIFs come in various forms. To tailor them to your retirement income needs, reach out to our office for detailed information.



A will is a legally binding written document that, when properly signed, outlines:

1. The appointed executor(s) responsible for administering the estate.
2. Instructions for handling assets, liabilities, and other matters related to the estate.
3. Additional wishes, such as guardianship of children and burial instructions.
4. It takes effect only upon the individual’s passing.

The primary function of a will is to provide court-approved authority (probate) to an executor or trustee (in the absence of a will) to manage the deceased’s estate and carry out their wishes.


Throughout life, different individuals may sign on behalf of a person. Initially, parents or guardians sign documents on behalf of a child until they reach legal age. If someone becomes physically or mentally incapable, a power of attorney or a legally designated person can sign on their behalf. After passing away, an executor or administrator is appointed to continue signing on behalf of the deceased.


A living will is a document similar to a power of attorney, granting authority to make medical decisions. For example, it might authorize the removal of life-sustaining support systems. Unlike a standard will, a living will does not deal with assets and liabilities.


Having a will is crucial because the laws governing intestacy (dying without a will) might not align with your preferences. A will allows you to:

1. Choose your executor(s).
2. Specify beneficiaries and their inheritance.
3. Designate a guardian for minor children.
4. Provide personal instructions.

A will simplifies procedures, ensures your wishes are honored, and can include instructions for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance at a specified age.


Without a will, a spouse, relative, or government-appointed Public Trustee may obtain court authority to handle the estate. This process may take longer and be more costly.


A comprehensive will should address all assets and liabilities. It can also have provisions for application in other provinces or jurisdictions, but caution is needed for international jurisdictions.


A will only becomes effective upon your death. It can be written years in advance but must be regularly reviewed and can be revoked or replaced by a new will at any time.

For more information on wills, contact our office.



Why Estate Planning Matters

Many believe estate planning is a concern only for the affluent. The reality, however, is evident in the numerous Canadians who pass away without a will each year, leading to the province taking control of the estate’s distribution. Even for smaller estates, the costs and delays of probate can have significant consequences. Estate planning aims to structure your financial matters, ensuring a swift and comprehensive transfer of assets to your heirs.

A positive aspect for Canadians is the absence of estate tax when assets are transferred to heirs after death. Nevertheless, depending on the estate’s asset types, a “deemed disposition tax” may apply, potentially disrupting the financial lives of surviving family members. Properly planned estates strategically organize and title assets to minimize taxes. Tools like trusts are often employed to reduce tax exposure. Estate planning is not solely about preparing for death; it’s also crucial for ensuring your wishes are honored while you’re alive. In instances of mental or physical incapacity, tools like a power of attorney become essential for life planning.


The complexity and cost associated with estate planning are often overstated, especially for most estates. Collaborating with an estate planning professional or attorney to execute legal documents is advisable, and considerable time and expense can be saved by organizing financial information and defining goals before such a meeting. At a minimum, having a simple will, considering its low cost relative to the distress and potential expenses it can prevent, is highly recommended. Larger estates may necessitate additional estate planning tools like trusts. Regardless of estate size, pre-planning significantly streamlines and reduces the cost of the process.


For many Canadians, retirement stands as a significant financial goal that demands careful consideration and planning. A whopping 49% of Canadians aspire to retire before the age of 60.* Whether you’ve already initiated a Retirement Savings Plan or are just embarking on the journey, the timing is opportune to commence or refine your saving strategy.

LEARN MORE: Government Benefits Canadian Retirement Income Calculator Canada Pension Plan – Overview


  1. DETERMINE YOUR RETIREMENT INCOME NEEDS Retirement planning is a pivotal financial goal. Whether you’re already on the savings path or starting anew, the initial step involves assessing the financial landscape of your retirement. For a thorough analysis of your retirement income needs and opportunities, reach out to our office.

  2. EMBRACE THE THREE “S”S Save now, Start now, and Stay invested. Kickstart your journey by investing what you can, with periodic increases over time. Utilizing a pre-authorized deposit plan facilitates consistent contributions to your retirement savings. Remember, even small contributions can amass into significant amounts with the magic of compound growth. The key is to remain invested for the long haul.

  3. PRIORITIZE DIVERSIFICATION Diversification is the bedrock of risk management. Spread your investments across various vehicles to mitigate the impact of a single underperformer in your portfolio. Experts affirm that over 80% of your portfolio’s return is attributed to the asset mix encompassing safety, income, and growth.

  4. EMBARK ON THE JOURNEY EARLY Initiate your retirement savings journey in your 20s or 30s with your first Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). This early start positions you for a robust strategy carrying you seamlessly into retirement.

  5. COMMIT TO REGULAR CONTRIBUTIONS Adopt a steady approach to your RRSP/TFSA by contributing small amounts regularly. Consistent contributions are the linchpin for ensuring long-term success.

  6. STRIVE FOR MAXIMUM CONTRIBUTIONS Endeavor to contribute the maximum to your RRSP/TFSA whenever feasible. Understanding whether an RRSP, TFSA, or a combination is optimal for building your nest egg is crucial.

  7. SAFEGUARD YOUR RRSP/TFSA Consider your RRSP/TFSA untouchable unless it aligns with a planned strategy. While these funds can serve as a safety net during financial crises, avoid tapping into them unless absolutely necessary. Funds withdrawn today diminish the resources available for your retirement needs.

As a trusted retirement planning advisor in Calgary, our mission is to guide you through the complexities of retirement planning, ensuring you embark on a journey that leads to a secure and fulfilling retirement. Contact our office for personalized assistance and expert guidance on your retirement path.



A Life Income Fund (LIF) is a retirement income plan that utilizes locked-in pension funds, providing the LIF owner with control over the investments within the fund. Similar to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), LIFs stipulate a mandatory minimum annual withdrawal, accompanied by a maximum withdrawal limit.

Legislation dictates that annual withdrawals from a LIF must fall within the prescribed minimum and maximum amounts. In many provinces, upon reaching the age of 80, the LIF must be converted into a life annuity.

Think of a LIF as a counterpart to a RRIF specifically tailored for locked-in pension funds, introducing additional constraints to ensure a reliable income stream throughout your lifetime.

While LIF regulations exhibit slight variations across provinces, it’s noteworthy that they are not available in P.E.I. and the Northwest Territories. Most provinces set a minimum age requirement of 55 for establishing a LIF, although there is no age restriction in New Brunswick, Quebec, and Alberta.

For further details, feel free to reach out to our office.



The Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA) and Locked-In Retirement Savings Plan (LRSP) empower employees to uphold the tax-deferred status of pension plan proceeds received upon leaving a company. While these accounts lock in your money, they don’t limit your investment choices, and their regulations fall under federal or provincial pension legislation.


1. The LIRA can receive pension proceeds if earned in a province other than B.C., Nova Scotia, or P.E.I.
2. P.E.I. hasn’t established its own pension legislation yet, so any locked-in plans from P.E.I. must be handled individually.
3. All funds in locked-in plans must originate from your Registered Pension Plan (RPP) or another locked-in plan. You can’t make additional contributions, but you have control over how your money is invested.


The LIRA or LRSP must be collapsed in the year you turn 71. At that point, you can:

1. Purchase an annuity, or
2. Transfer the assets to a LIF or LRIF, depending on the pension legislation governing the LIRA or LRSP.

For more detailed information about Locked-in Retirement Accounts, feel free to contact our office.



The TFSA is a registered savings account offering taxpayers the opportunity to earn investment income tax-free within the account. Unlike traditional savings options, contributions to the TFSA are not tax-deductible, but the key advantage lies in the fact that withdrawals of contributions and earnings are not taxable.


Any individual (excluding trusts) residing in Canada and aged 18 or older is eligible to establish a TFSA.


Each year, individuals can contribute an amount up to their annual contribution room, which is composed of three components:

1. Annual maximum contribution (e.g., $6,000 for 2020).
2. Any withdrawals from the previous year, which are added to the contribution room for the current year.
3. Unused contribution room from the previous year, which is carried forward.

This flexibility allows for strategic planning based on individual financial situations.


A TFSA can hold a variety of investments, mirroring those allowed in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). This includes mutual funds, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), fixed-income investments, and specific shares of small business corporations.


The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) calculates TFSA contribution room based on information provided by issuers. Individuals filing an annual T1 individual income tax return will have their TFSA contribution room determined accordingly.

For personalized guidance on how you can make the most of a Tax-Free Savings Account, feel free to contact our office.



Annuities simplify the world of investments. Essentially, when you secure an annuity, you’re acquiring a steady income stream. Common examples include Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, or the retirement pension from your former employer.

Non-Registered Annuities play a vital role in minimizing taxes and boosting retirement income. Imagine an annuity as a reverse mortgage—transfer a set sum to an insurance company, and in return, receive a specified amount regularly (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually) throughout your life. This payment consists of both a tax-free principal portion and a prescribed interest portion, maintaining consistency annually and forming part of your income.

Since the bulk of the payment is a return of principal, it reduces your taxable income. However, depending on the annuity type, payments may cease upon death, and no capital passes on to heirs. Life insurance often compensates for this, enhancing your after-tax income, securing it for life, and preserving capital for your heirs, despite the added expense of the premium.

For investors continually renewing 1-year GICs, anticipating rate increases, there’s a substantial potential annual income loss. For those untroubled by preserving capital for heirs, a simple annuity purchase can significantly elevate annual after-tax income for life.


1. Increased After-Tax Income: Compared to traditional interest-bearing investments like GICs or government bonds, insured annuities offer a significant boost in after-tax income.

2. Lower Taxable Income: Most annuity income is a tax-free return of principal, significantly lowering taxable income. Establishing the annuity on a prescribed taxation basis ensures consistent T4A amounts for the annuitant’s lifetime.

3. Potential Reduction in OAS Clawback: A tax-free return of principal from a non-registered Prescribed Annuity can reduce or eliminate Old Age Security (OAS) clawback if you’re experiencing it.

4. No Re-Investment Risk: Insured annuities eliminate concerns about locking in money with GICs or bonds for extended periods.

5. Fully Guaranteed Income: Annuity income is 100% guaranteed up to $2,000 per month, backed by Assuris, offering equivalent coverage to CDIC.

6. Lifetime Guarantee: Annuity income lasts for the annuitant’s lifetime, with the option to structure a minimum guarantee payment period to recoup some or all of the principal.

7. Creditor Proof: Financial products with insurance companies may be protected from creditors, adding a layer of security.

8. No Probate or Administration Costs: With named beneficiaries, annuity funds bypass probate, legal, and administration costs associated with estate settlement.

9. Prompt Payment to Named Beneficiary(s): Named beneficiaries receive payments promptly without waiting for estate settlement, unlike traditional bank-held GICs.

10. Pension Tax Credit: For those over 65, annuities qualify for the pension tax credit, offering tax-free income up to $2,000.

For more detailed information on how you can benefit from Insured Annuities, please contact our office.