Retirement Planning vs Retirement Designing

Retirement Planning: Calculating a sustainable after tax income that your savings and benefits (including CPP and OAS) could support in retirement.

Retirement Designing: The process of describing the way you envision the balance of your life unfolding; (what you want to do, when you want to do it, and the monetary cost) and then making an assessment how achievable it is. 


  • A mathematical equation that prescribes a pre-retirement savings plan that will deliver a future recurring income stream.
  • Time and energy are deployed in ensuring the accuracy of the data input into the retirement calculator.
  • An event that occurs infrequently and where value erodes as time passes.
  • Forces you to fit your life choices, into your money choices.


  • A puzzle with many interconnected pieces of choices to make, to deliver your desired life outcomes – which is defined within the process.
  • Time and energy are deployed in exploring your lifestyle choices to discover the outcomes of those choices before you commit to them.
  • A process that is always alive, enabling you to respond to new information
  • Aligns your money choices with your life choices.

The bottom line is that life is not a straight line. There are ups and down and many changes along the way. If you plan based on drawing a straight line between your starting point and end of life, you will create uncertainty, anxiety, and eventually – regret.

Designing your retirement, you will account for variability, the changes in your lifestyle and expenses. You will be able to evaluate the impact of choices BEFORE you have to make them. You will remove most of the uncertainty, eliminating anxiety and stress.

The Flaw in Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning can rob you of a better retirement lifestyle. The majority of retirement plans determine your average annual living expense, index it to inflation for the rest of your life, and determine if you have enough money or not.

Here is the problem: The plan says you get $70,000 to spend each year, but… this year you plan to take that dream vacation and you need to replace your furnace and air conditioner. You are going to need to spend $110,000 this year. How are you going to fit $110,000 in spending into your $70,000 spending limit? (See #1 in the illustration below)

This problem creates stress about today and anxiety and worries about whether you will have enough money in the future if you spend this money today.

Retirement Designing eliminates this problem by incorporating these lifestyle spending into the plan at the beginning and evaluates these choices BEFORE you have to make them. Designing your retirement will show you the variability of spending throughout your retirement to recognize that there will be years where your spending falls far below your $70,000 amount and you will be able to use some of that money to fund these higher spending years. (See #2 in the illustration below)

Retirement Designing gives you the ability to evaluate the outcomes of your choices – BEFORE having to make them. It eliminates the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty of the variability of retirement as it is accounted for within the plan. It empowers you with clarity and confidence to have the retirement you desire!

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