This fall, I had a chance to review a good number of pension documents. Some, were for clients that I’ve dealt with for many years. Some, were new to me and just needing some guidance or confirmation of their options given the dollars involved.
I can recall that when I entered the business their choices might number 3. The most recent one I reviewed spanned 2 pages containing 14 options. It was a little bit like being asked to pick up some toothpaste at the store. Where only Crest and Colgate were available decades ago today an aisle full of whitening, brightening, tartar controlling, gingivitis curing in your choice of flavours spans from floor to ceiling.
One of the couples had taken no less than a year to complete detailed excel spreadsheets on each option outlining cash flows. They were correct in every aspect but led them no closer to a final choice. Another, multiple pensions that all would need to be reviewed, evaluated and chosen in the next couple of years.
Choice is a good thing but it’s very easy to become overwhelmed. Do I take my CPP at 60 or wait as long as age 70. Old Age Security at 65 or delay? When do I convert my RRSPs to RRIFs? Start my employer pensions when? What guarantees? To bridge or not?
The decision of which choice to make is not difficult once your entire situation is clearly defined. The time and effort to examine this does take some work and is often simplified with a professional. Then again, so does everything in this life. Even choosing the right toothpaste.