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CIBC offers expert tips to help Canadians plan for their future this RRSP season

TORONTO, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - While 2009 was not without economic uncertainty, current research shows that Canadians from all economic brackets continue to focus on saving for retirement as one of their top financial goals. However, many are simply not saving enough now to make the retirement lifestyle they want a reality.

"Retirement planning is complex and multifaceted and to achieve the retirement you want, you need to be proactive and start planning early," says Steve Geist, President, CIBC Asset Management. "Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes an ideal retirement, but successful retirement planning is all about being realistic about what you need to do today to reach those goals tomorrow."

Geist offers the following advice on how to take the first step and stay on track towards the retirement you want:

Talk to an advisor. A professional financial advisor is one of your greatest resources as you begin planning for retirement. A dedicated advisor can help take some of the mystery and pressure out of planning, make sense of the numerous savings and investment options available to you and steer you towards the solutions best aligned to meet your personal retirement goals. When choosing an advisor it's important to ask about professional accreditation and experience and to ensure you and your advisor will make a great team.

Get to know your retirement goals. Everyone is different so as you begin to plan, it's important to familiarize yourself with your own unique retirement goals. Review the following questions when determining the retirement lifestyle you aspire to lead:

    
    -   How soon do you plan on retiring or do you expect to continue working
        in some capacity throughout the early stages of your retirement?
    -   Can you afford the retirement you want given your current investments
        and future income stream?
    -   Have you considered how to protect yourself and your family for the
        longer term?
    

Have a plan. Assess where you now stand financially and determine a realistic plan and timeline to achieve your goals. Be sure to factor in important considerations such as inflation, how much income you will need to support your chosen retirement lifestyle and what sources that income will come from, which could include a pension, RRSP or non-registered investments. Review your retirement plan with your advisor, at least annually, to help maintain perspective and stay on track.

Make the most of your RRSP. An RRSP is often the most important savings vehicle of any overall retirement plan and it's vital to contribute regularly, not just during RRSP season. Ideally you should look to contribute the maximum amount to your RRSP each year and should avoid withdrawing from your plan for short term needs as your contribution room will be permanently eliminated.

Understand your risk tolerance and diversify. Always consider the long-term return potential, level of risk and suitability of any investment before adding it to your retirement portfolio. The key is to build a well-diversified plan adjusted to meet your own level of risk tolerance that will both help protect and grow your capital to enable you to retire on your terms.

"You may be decades away from retirement now, but the biggest mistake that people can make is to delay saving for and investing in their retirement today," adds Geist. "The more time your investments have to grow, the greater your returns will be, helping you achieve the lifestyle you want."

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada, in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Press Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.

SOURCE CIBC

For further information: For further information: Doug Maybee, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, CIBC, Tel: (416) 980-7458, doug.maybee@cibc.com


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