I often ask people in their 20s and 30s, do you save for retirement? And I usually get this look

followed by

“Ughh why are you asking me to do something that isn’t going to happen for another entire lifetime away?

Girl, I get it. I don’t even know what I’m going to do next week, let alone over 30 years from now.

That is not the point.  When I ask whether you are saving for retirement, I mean:

Do you have a portfolio of investments that is working for you, making you money while you sleep.  No, GICs and savings accounts DO NOT make you money. That’s not what I mean, and I’ll get to that another time.  I mean legit investments – stuff that will actually contribute to your long-term financial well-being, like low-cost indexed-funds or even mutual funds.

When you are saving and investing, you are giving yourself OPTIONS in the meantime, in the event LIFE HAPPENS.  This isn’t just about money for when you are 65 years old – it is for those times like:

  1. You lose your job and you are out of work LONGER THAN you anticipated, even after depleting your emergency fund.
  2. You get pregnant and go on maternity leave. Between you and your partner, you are down to one income, plus some maternity leave benefits (which is less than half of your income), with an added expenditure – your new little rugrat.  This is when your investments can come in handy if you need to tap into it.
  3. You can’t stand your job or you burn out and decide you want to just take off. I say, go for it, the world is your oyster. Take a breather, enjoy life. You deserve it!
  4. Or what if you decide to be an entrepreneur, like me, and you need funds to get your business going, even if it means tapping into your RRSPs. But don’t you get taxed if you take out money from your RRSPs? Of course you get taxed, it’s Canada! You get taxed even when you die! Since I wasn’t working, I wasn’t getting employment income, so that put me in the lowest tax bracket – so even if I withdraw from my RRSPs, and pay taxes on it, it’s okay because I’m in a substantially lower tax bracket compared to when I was working full time, where I was in a much higher tax-bracket.
  5. Need to peace out of your crappy relationship or marriage? It’s easier when you have the means to.  Everyone deserves to be happy.

THIS IS CALLED HAVING OPTIONS. It’s not just about when you are 65 years old. This is about giving yourself the ability to hit the re-start button when you need to. Think about all of the shit that has happened in your life, thus, far.  You have another lifetime and more to go.  Life will happen, again, and again. The question is, will you be financially prepared for it?