Five years and counting

Three to five years before retirement

Review investment portfolio – Revisit your investment strategy and consider shifting to more conservative or lower-risk investments.

Understand your plan – Learn how plan rules and government legislation affect withdrawals of your retirement savings.

Re-evaluate lifestyle needs – List possible lifestyle changes you’ll encounter at retirement. Consider things like travel, part-time work or downsizing to a new home.

Estimate living expenses – Track your current spending. Use this information to estimate retirement income needs and develop a realistic budget – don’t forget about inflation.

Estimate retirement income – Write down all your potential income sources. Remember that personal savings, company retirement plans and government benefits will determine retirement income.

One year to go

Verify pension eligibility – Contact your retirement savings plan provider or your HR department to ensure you fulfill age requirements for receiving company or government pensions.

Think about estate planning – Review your will, powers of attorney along with any succession and investment plans.

Six months to go

Update beneficiary information – Contact your benefits administrator to ensure your company pension plan and personal savings plans have updated beneficiaries. If you’re a member of a Great-West Life administered group retirement and savings plan, you can check your beneficiary by signing in to GRS Access.

Apply for government benefits – Call Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 to verify your eligibility for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) benefits or visit; for Quebec Pension Plan (QPP), call 1-800-463-5185 or visit

Apply for company pensions – Contact your benefits administrator to let him/her know when you’d like to start receiving pension payments.