Planning for retirement is not hard, there are two main considerations, the first is time, the second is income. Lets look at time; in the 60's the life expectancy from birth for a Canadian was in the mid-70's for men and 80 for women. Today a woman who is 60 this year can now expect to live on average to 89, says the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, the group who sets the benchmark for pension calculations reports. A man who is 60 can expect to live on average to 87. So if you retire at 60 or 65 you still have a lot of years ahead of you.
Here is a great site for my friends in the States to help them plan The RealDealRetirement Toolbox.One of the first tools on this site is this one:
Will You Have Enough To Retire? This tool is designed to give you a quick estimate whether you’re on track toward a secure retirement. Enter your age, income, planned retirement age, the amount you've saved to date and the percentage of income you save each year, and the tool will estimate how a nest egg you’ll need and how much you’re projected to have.
In Canada we do not have such a tool, so we have to figure out how much of a nest egg we will have by doing some basic research and doing some basic math.
So if you are in your 30's you have 35 years to save.or if you are in your 40's you have 25 years to save. One suggestion is that you put away between 10 and 15% of your salary per year. That may be hard to do if you have a family. I suggest starting at 5% and then increasing this amount when you get a raise.