PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 20, 2013) - For many people in their 20's, retirement seems too far off to be a realistic concern, and terms like TFSA, OAS and CPP rarely register a blip on the radar. But now more than ever, 30-somethings are starting to give their financial futures some real attention, especially when they find out that an average unattached income earner* who wishes to retire at age 65 with 90 per cent of their pre-retirement income will require nearly $1.2 million dollars in savings.

"The reality is that few Canadians, and even fewer people in their 30's, are adequately prepared or preparing for retirement," says Bruce LeFranc, Financial Planner at Valley First. "When you take increased life expectancies into account, the amount Canadians will need to save goes up dramatically. Unfortunately, many will find financing retirement very difficult."

Statistics Canada reports that in 2010 less than six million tax filers contributed to an RRSP and only 5.1 per cent of the total room available to eligible tax filers was used up.**

"I have many clients in their 30's with questions about saving for retirement," says LeFranc. "They have competing financial priorities and are worried there won't be enough time to save or that their incomes don't leave enough room for a yearly retirement savings contribution. The good news is that saving isn't as challenging as they think and more importantly, they still have time on their side."

Make a Plan-it's never too late

"Any amount of preparation that you do now will make a difference in your retirement years," offers LeFranc. "Retirement planning is a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Sit down with a financial planner and start now. They'll work with you to make a comprehensive financial plan to help you reach your goals."

Start saving now

"While it's commonly suggested to save 10 per cent of your earnings, many people don't feel this is feasible," says LeFranc. "To make it easier, I recommend that people set up pre-authorized contributions to come out of their account each pay-day-as much as they can manage. At the end of the year they'll have a lump sum put away in RRSPs. It's a simple way to save money without thinking about it."

TFSAs also have great perks

"If you're early in your income earning years and anticipate earning a much higher income several years down the road, it may be more beneficial to invest in a TFSA for the time being. That way, you can save your RRSP room for a time when you are earning a higher income and need a bigger tax break."

Maximize every opportunity

LeFranc also suggests that any unexpected income or windfalls should be invested for the future rather than spent on purchases or vacations. "If money comes in from an estate, bursary, birthday or tax refund, use it as an opportunity to make up lost investing time. This type of income falls outside of the monthly budget, so you won't even miss it-just put it away and watch it grow."

Create your future today

"It's easy to put off retirement savings as something you'll get to down the road, but you don't always need to look 30 or 40 years out before you reap the benefits of saving," offers LeFranc. "Retirement funds can also be withdrawn for the purpose of a first home or to pay for an education, tax free. Later if you sell the home, the funds can be returned to your retirement fund, hopefully with a healthy increase in earnings."

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 38 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. First West has approximately $6.6 billion in assets under administration, 169,000 members and 1,300 employees.

* Based on $32,100 annual after-tax income. Data available at:

** Data available at:

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Jeff Taylor
Senior Manager, Communications and Public Relations