Questions to ask yourself before applying for your retirement pension

Should you apply for your retirement pension under the Québec Pension Plan (QPP) at age 65? You may be thinking of waiting until age 70 to apply, or you may be thinking of applying at age 60. Here are five questions to help you determine what is best for you.

Will my earnings be sufficient in retirement?

Verify whether your earnings will be sufficient to maintain your standard of living in retirement. The earnings will come from:

Will your pensions and savings be sufficient h to cover your financial needs for the rest of your life? It would be better to work longer and apply for your retirement pension under the QPP later. Think about it: you could be retired for 30 years!

What is my state of health?

Are you in good health? Do you have good life habits? You should probably wait until age 65 to apply for your retirement pension under the QPP, and even later. On the contrary, if you have health problems that reduce your life expectancy, you will benefit from applying for your pension earlier.

How will my retirement pension impact my income taxes?

The retirement pension under the Québec Pension Plan is taxable. This means that it is considered as income in the calculation of your taxes. It is therefore added to your other earnings, such as employment earnings. You can find out whether adding the retirement pension at the age at which you expect to retire benefits you. To do so, consult the Québec This link will open in a new window. and Canadian This link will open in a new window. tax rates, and the Calculator of work income kept at retirement This link will open in a new window. from the Ministère des Finances.

Will I be able to receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement? If so, when should I apply for my retirement pension under the QPP?

Do you think you will be entitled to the Guaranteed Income Supplement This link will open in a new window. (GIS) offered by the Government of Canada at age 65? It may be advantageous for you to apply for your retirement pension under the QPP earlier. Although your pension will be lower because you apply for it before age 65, the GIS will compensate for part of the reduction as of age 65. As a result, the sum of the income you earn each year could be higher for the rest of your life.

Family income

Your spouse's income is taken into account in the calculation of the GIS. Therefore, you may not be eligible for the GIS, even if your personal retirement income is low.

How should I use my personal retirement savings (RRSPVRSPTFSA, etc.)?

If you have personal retirement savings, it could be interesting for you to use them before applying for your retirement pension under the Québec Pension Plan. The savings could cover your financial needs at the beginning of your retirement, before you receive your pension. Are you a member of a workplace defined‑benefit pension plan? This strategy could also benefit you if the income provided under  this plan is sufficient.

The later you apply for your pension under the QPP, the higher its amount will be for life. For the rest of your retirement, you will increase the portion of your income that is guaranteed and adjusted to the cost of living each year (indexed).

Applying for your retirement pension: an important decision!

The retirement pension under the Québec Pension Plan (QPP) is one of the three sources of retirement income:

  • the Old Age Security pension from the federal government;
  • the Québec Pension Plan;
  • workplace pension plans and/or personal savings.

Choosing the age at which you will begin receiving your pension is an important decision. The pension amount you will receive for life depends on it.

You have several options to help you make the best decision:

  • Use the SimulR tool to quickly estimate your retirement income.
  • Use CompuPension to:
    • find out your income sources in retirement;
    • find out how much you need to save;
    • make informed decisions by comparing various scenarios.
  • Consult your Statement of Participation.
  • Contact an expert on financial planning.

When you believe it is the best time for you, you must apply for a retirement pension. You will not automatically receive your pension.

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