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Smooth your journey to retirement savings

September 15, 2015

If you have been shopping for back-to-school supplies recently with children and teens, you know how important it is to stay focused and to avoid trying to go in all directions. The same principle applies to retirement planning, AMSC’s service provider, Sun Life Financial, advises.

When your retirement savings and other finances are scattered among numerous institutions, it can be difficult to stay on track and to achieve your goals. Add in numerous credit cards among various institutions, plus car loans and insurance policies, and the challenge of staying on top of things can seem overwhelming.

“There are advantages to bringing those accounts together, or consolidating them among fewer ‘vehicles,’ for easier administration, and a clearer picture of where you are headed,” Sun Life suggests.

Here are some tips to make it easier to smooth the way to retirement savings:

  • Review the number of credit cards in your household. If there are several, consider ways to par them down. A good way to do so is to look at the fees associated with each card, and to see if you can negotiate a better rate.
  • Review the number of financial institutions you deal with. If you have moved frequently, you may have neglected to close accounts you no longer need. Check out banking fees by carefully examining statements for the last year or two. Then pick one institution and close the other accounts.
  • When you consolidate your finances at one institution, you may also be able to negotiate better loan rates under a single borrowing plan. That may also apply to house, tenant and insurance needs, depending on the institution.
  • Pay yourself first. Your household budget should include regular contributions to long-term savings goals such as home- and car-buying funds, emergency expenses and retirement. Take advantage of your group RRSP and TFSA plans at work.
  • If you have difficulty saving for long-term goals, try tracking all your household spending for one month. Record every cup of coffee, pack of gum or other payment, whether by cash, debit or credit. Review at the end of the month and then figure how what can be trimmed to meet your savings goals.
  • Plan to review your investments every year, and rebalance if needed. Online tools such as those available through Sun Life can help you develop a savings strategy and to keep track of investments.

If you are an AUMA member, you are eligible to take advantage of the numerous cost efficiencies of an AMSC Group TFSA and RRSP. These plans offer a range of investment options at competitive rates—and a tax-free option to RRSP withdrawal.

- Adapted from Sun Life Financial

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