Back in the day, I use to help advisors run retirement plans for their clients, I’d run multiple excel spreadsheets or use financial planning software and often part ways through… I realized, hey I don’t have enough info to provide them with a true projection. So, I started thinking- hmm… it’d be great to have a checklist (cause I don’t have enough of those haha….) This is a 2019 version of my checklist from the 2000s. (Okay so I’m aging myself…)

This piece was created for the advisor to help employees plan for retirement.

Income Needs


  • If your client has any debts, you should encourage them to pay off their debts as soon as they can and preferably before they retire.


  • As your clients age, their insurance needs change. Review your clients’ insurance needs, in particular their medical and dental insurance- a lot of employers do not provide health plans to retirees.
  • Review your clients life insurance, they may not necessarily need as much life insurance as when they had dependents and a mortgage, but their insurable needs have changed.
  • Help your client prepare for the unexpected such as a critical illness or long term care.

Government Benefits

  • Check what benefits are available for your client on retirement.
  • Canada Pension Plan- help them decide when would be the ideal time to apply and receive CPP payment. (Payment depends on individual’s contributions)
  • Old Age Security- check pension amounts and see if there’s a possibility of clawback.
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement- if your client has a low income, they could apply for GIS.


  • Review your client’s company pension plan. Check if it’s a defined benefits or contribution plan. Determine if it makes sense to take the pension or the commuted value.
  • Check if your clients are saving regularly towards retirement- in an RRSP, TFSA, LIRA or non-registered. Ensure the investment mix makes sense for their situation. (Again, you should check out our calculator to help you determine if they’re on track:
  • Don’t forget to check if there are any income sources.  (ex. rental income, side hustle income, etc.)


  • Are your clients planning to use the sale of their home or other assets to fund their retirement?
  • Will your clients be receiving an inheritance?

One other consideration that’s not included in the checklist is divorce. This can be an uncomfortable question, however divorce amongst adults ages 50 and over is on the rise and this can be financially devastating for both parties.

I understand there’s a lot more to retirement planning but these are what I feel are the most important points that need to be addressed in order to get on track for retirement.

If you’re a subscriber advisor of ours, please let us know if you’d like this infographic checklist to use with your retirement clients and prospects. Next week, we’ll be looking at retirement planning for business owners.

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