Getting Answers to Your Retirement Planning Questions

When it comes to asking questions about planning for your retirement…who do you ask?

If you have a corporate retirement savings plan, it is most likely offered through a record-keeper that provides a broad range of online support and information. The availability of this information is excellent to learn both broad concepts relating to savings and investments, in addition to what seems like a bottomless pit of details. The record-keeper for your program, which is typically an insurance company that provides access to funds and reporting for your plan, will also offer a phone number to a call centre of qualified individuals. These individuals are there to support a broad range of plan related questions and are an excellent resource for guidance in many areas. This service is there to augment or clarify knowledge gathered from other sources.

What’s the difference between guidance and advice?

The support you receive from your plan record-keeper is “guidance”, which is very useful as it will help you narrow down your choices and can likely prevent a financial planning blunder. Those providing the guidance are responsible for the accuracy and quality of the information, but will typically stop short of telling you what to do. All decisions regarding the actual fund choice or amount to save under your plan will be yours. The support from your record-keeper is distinctive from “advice”, which is a direct recommendation of what you should do and can also carry a responsibility for the outcome. One of the many reasons it’s hard for record-keepers to offer advice is because they do not have all of the information regarding your situation. Items such as pension from another employer; investments held outside of your employer’s plan; elements like inheritances or children with special needs; or a family home that may be sold when you retire to another area, all can have significant impact on your full financial plan.

So, who should I use for support?

Use the call centre support of your record-keeper for guidance – this is a free support tool that can address a very broad range of questions leading up to and including consideration of retirement income options. Building a financial plan is sound guidance as it goes well beyond the boundaries of your savings plan. Doing this takes some time and will likely require some cost as “advice” is typically provided on a fee for service basis from a qualified provider.