How to save for retirement while you tackle debt

(NC) — Statistics show that Canadians are deeper in debt than ever before. And for many, saving for retirement while paying off debt may seem next to impossible. But according to personal finance experts, it can be done and it doesn't need to be as painful as you'd think. “Sure, you have to be proactive and take charge of your personal finances in order to save for your retirement while paying down your debt, but the short and long-term benefits are well worth the effort,” says Wade Stayzer, vice president of retail and investment services at Meridian. “The first step is to determine your financial goals and work with a trusted financial advisor to build a plan that will help you achieve them.” Meridian, Ontario's largest credit union, offers tips on how you can save for retirement while you tackle debt. Get a personalized financial plan - Working with a trusted financial advisor to create a personalized financial plan is like driving with a GPS system – you'll reach your end goal faster and with less stress. And very importantly, be honest with your advisor and give them the full picture. Let them help you meet your goals. Make sure to meet with them at least once a year to re-evaluate your plan and make any adjustments necessary to keep you on track to reaching your financial goals. Be strategic – Pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first, while paying the minimum on the rest of your debts. Once that first debt is paid off, concentrate your efforts and funds in paying the next debt with the highest interest rate. Invest automatically – Saving for the future today isn't difficult if you put your savings on auto pilot. Many financial institutions provide pre-authorized contribution (PAC) plans, which automatically transfer funds from your chequing account into your savings investments on regular intervals. PACs are a great tool for contributing to RSPs or TFSAs and if you coordinate the withdrawals to align with your payday the money won't even be missed.


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