When to Talk to Parents About Retirement in Canada: A Guide

Wil Thomas
Wil Thomas
Editor at Seniors Bulletin

Retirement is an inevitable part of life, and it’s something that everyone needs to plan for. For many people, retirement planning is a sensitive topic, particularly when it comes to talking to their parents about it. It can be difficult to know when to bring up the subject, and many people worry that they will offend or upset their parents by discussing retirement.

However, it’s important to have these conversations sooner rather than later. Waiting until a crisis occurs can make it more difficult to make informed decisions about retirement and can lead to unnecessary stress and financial strain. By starting the conversation early, families can work together to create a plan that meets everyone’s needs and ensures a comfortable retirement for their loved ones.


  • It’s crucial to discuss retirement planning with parents early to ensure a secure future. Understanding Canada’s retirement system, including CPP, OAS, RRSPs, and TFSAs, is essential for personalized planning.
  • Key indicators it’s time to discuss retirement include approaching retirement age, health issues, financial challenges, or employment changes. Approach the topic respectfully, be well-informed, and consider professional advice for a productive conversation.
  • Common retirement concerns include the fear of outliving savings, timing for CPP and OAS benefits, determining necessary retirement funds, and pension safety in employer bankruptcy scenarios. Open communication and consulting with financial experts can address these concerns effectively.

Retirement In Canada

Retirement in Canada is a significant milestone for many people. It is a time when individuals can stop working and enjoy their years of hard work. However, before retiring, it is essential to understand the retirement system in Canada.

One of the most important components of the Canadian retirement system is the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The CPP is a government-run program that provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. Employees and employers contribute to the CPP throughout an individual’s working years. The amount of CPP benefits received depends on the individual’s contributions and the number of years they contributed.

Another significant component of the Canadian retirement system is the Old Age Security (OAS) pension. The OAS pension is a monthly payment that provides financial assistance to seniors who are 65 years of age or older and meet certain residency requirements. The amount of OAS pension received depends on an individual’s years of residency in Canada.

In addition to CPP and OAS, there are other retirement income sources available in Canada. For example, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) are two popular options for saving money for retirement. RRSPs are tax-deferred savings accounts that allow individuals to save for retirement while reducing their taxable income. TFSAs, on the other hand, are tax-free savings accounts that allow individuals to save money without paying taxes on the interest earned.

It is important to note that retirement planning is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The amount of money needed for retirement depends on many factors, including an individual’s lifestyle, health, and financial situation. However, a general rule of thumb is that retirees will need approximately 70% of their pre-retirement income to maintain their standard of living during retirement.

Overall, understanding the retirement system in Canada is crucial for individuals planning to retire. By knowing the available retirement income sources and planning accordingly, individuals can enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Why it’s Important to Talk to Parents About Retirement

When it comes to retirement, many Canadians have a tendency to avoid discussing it with their parents. However, it’s important to have these conversations early on to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no surprises down the road. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to talk to parents about retirement:

  • Financial Planning: Discussing retirement plans with parents can help everyone get a clearer understanding of their financial situation. This can help avoid any surprises and can help ensure that everyone is financially prepared for retirement.
  • Healthcare: As parents age, their healthcare needs may change. Discussing retirement plans can help ensure that parents have the necessary healthcare coverage and that everyone is aware of any potential healthcare costs.
  • Emotional Well-being: Retirement can be a stressful time for both parents and their adult children. Talking about retirement plans can help alleviate some of this stress and can help ensure that everyone is emotionally prepared for this new chapter in their lives.

It’s important to approach these conversations with sensitivity and respect. Parents may be hesitant to discuss their retirement plans, so it’s important to create a safe and non-judgmental environment for these conversations. By discussing retirement plans early on, you can help ensure that everyone is prepared for this new chapter in their lives.

Signs that Indicate it’s Time to Talk to Parents About Retirement

Retirement planning can be a sensitive topic, and many people avoid discussing it with their parents until it’s too late. However, there are certain signs that indicate it’s time to have a conversation about retirement planning. Here are a few signs to look out for:

  • Age: If your parents are nearing retirement age, it’s a good time to start talking about their plans for retirement. In Canada, the age of retirement is typically 65, but some people choose to retire earlier or later.
  • Health: If your parents are experiencing health issues or have a chronic illness, it’s important to discuss how their retirement plans may be affected. They may need to retire earlier than planned or make changes to their retirement savings plan.
  • Financial Situation: If your parents are struggling financially or have a limited retirement savings plan, it’s important to discuss their options for retirement. They may need to work longer or consider downsizing their home to free up some cash.
  • Changes in Employment: If your parents have recently lost their job or are planning to retire soon, it’s important to discuss their plans for retirement. They may need to adjust their retirement savings plan or consider part-time work to supplement their income.

It’s important to approach the conversation with sensitivity and empathy. Retirement planning can be a difficult topic for some people, so it’s important to be patient and understanding. Encourage your parents to seek professional advice from a financial planner or retirement specialist to help them make informed decisions about their retirement.

How to Approach the Conversation About Retirement

Approaching the conversation about retirement with parents can be difficult, but it is an essential discussion to have. The following are a few tips to help make the conversation easier:

  • Choose the right time: It is important to choose a time that is convenient for both parties and when there are no distractions. It is also important to approach the conversation in a calm and respectful manner.
  • Start with a positive note: Begin the conversation by expressing your love and concern for your parents. Let them know that you want to help them plan for their retirement so that they can enjoy their golden years.
  • Be prepared: Before having the conversation, do some research on retirement planning and options available in Canada. This will help you answer any questions your parents may have and provide them with valuable information.
  • Listen: It is important to listen to your parents’ concerns and wishes. Retirement planning is a personal decision, and your parents may have specific ideas about what they want to do.
  • Involve a professional: If you feel that the conversation is becoming too difficult, consider involving a professional such as a financial advisor or retirement planner. They can provide valuable insight and help guide the conversation.

Overall, the key to approaching the conversation about retirement is to be respectful, understanding, and prepared. By having an open and honest conversation, you can help your parents plan for their future and ensure that they have a comfortable retirement.

Common Concerns and Questions About Retirement

As children, it is important to have an open and honest conversation with parents about their retirement plans. However, it is common for both parties to have concerns and questions about the topic. Here are some common concerns and questions about retirement:

  • Will I outlive my savings? This is a common concern among retirees, especially as life expectancy continues to increase. It is important to have a solid retirement plan in place that takes into account potential healthcare costs and unexpected expenses.
  • When should I start taking my Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) benefits? This is a common question among those approaching retirement age. The answer depends on individual circumstances, such as current income, health status, and financial goals.
  • How much money do I need for retirement? This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on individual circumstances and lifestyle choices. However, a general rule of thumb is to aim for a retirement income that is 70-80% of pre-retirement income.
  • What happens to my pension if my employer goes bankrupt? This is a valid concern, as it is important to ensure that retirement savings are protected. In Canada, pension plans are regulated by provincial and federal legislation, and there are measures in place to protect pension benefits in the event of employer bankruptcy.

It is important to address these concerns and questions with parents and seek guidance from financial advisors, accountants, and lawyers when necessary. By having an open and honest conversation about retirement, children can help parents plan for a secure and comfortable future.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the providers being reviewed. The providers and SeniorsBulletin assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and without any warranties of any kind whatsoever, express or implied.

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