# 3 Reasons to delay taking CPP until age 70

It might seem counterintuitive to spend down your own retirement savings while at the same time deferring government benefits such as CPP and OAS past age 65. But that’s precisely the type of strategy that can increase your income, save on taxes, and protect against outliving your money.

Here are three reasons to take CPP at age 70:

### 1.)  Enhanced CPP Benefit – Get up to 42 per cent more!

The standard age to take your CPP benefits is at 65, but you can take your retirement pension as early as 60 or as late as age 70. It might sound like a good idea to take CPP as soon as you’re eligible but you should know that by doing so you’ll forfeit 7.2 per cent each year you receive it before age 65.

Indeed, you’ll get up to 36 per cent less CPP if you take it immediately at age 60 rather than waiting until age 65. That alone should give you pause before deciding to take CPP early. What about taking it later?

There’s a strong incentive for deferring your CPP benefits past age 65. You’ll receive 8.4 per cent more each year that you delay taking CPP (up to a maximum of 42 per cent more if you take CPP at age 70). Note there is no incentive to delay taking CPP after age 70.

Let’s show a quick example. The maximum monthly CPP payment one could receive at age 65 (in 2019) is \$1,154.58. Most people don’t receive the maximum, however, so we’ll use the average amount for new beneficiaries, which is \$664.41 per month. Now let’s convert that to an annual amount for this example = \$7,973.

Suppose our retiree decides to take her CPP benefits at the earliest possible time (age 60). That annual amount will get reduced by 36 per cent, from \$7,973 to \$5,862: a loss of \$2,111 per year.

Now suppose she waits until age 70 to take her CPP benefits. Her annual benefits will increase by 42 per cent, giving her a total of \$11,322. That’s an increase of \$3,349 per year for her lifetime (indexed to inflation).

### 2.) Save on taxes from mandatory RRSP withdrawals and OAS clawbacks

Mandatory minimum withdrawal schedules are a big bone of contention for retirees when they convert their RRSP to an RRIF. For larger RRIFs, the mandatory withdrawals can trigger OAS clawbacks and give the retiree more income than he or she needs in a given year.

The gradual increase in the percentage withdrawn also does not jive with our belief in the 4 per cent rule, which will help our money last a lifetime.

You can withdraw from an RRSP at anytime, however, and doing so may come in handy for those who retire early (say between age 55-64). That’s because you can begin modest drawdowns of your retirement savings to augment a workplace pension or other savings to tide you over until age 65 or older.

Tax problems and OAS clawbacks occur when all of your retirement income streams collide simultaneously. But with a delayed CPP approach your RRSP will be much smaller by the time you’re forced to convert it to a RRIF and make minimum mandatory withdrawals.

With careful planning (and appropriate savings) your retirement income streams by age 70 could consist of CPP and OAS benefits, small RRIF withdrawals, plus – the holy grail – TFSA withdrawals, which do not count as income and won’t affect means-tested benefits like OAS.

### 3.) Protect against longevity risk

Here’s where the counter-intuitiveness comes into play. Most default retirement projections will have you taking CPP at age 65 (or earlier) while delaying withdrawals from your RRSP and/or LIRA until age 71.

As I suggested above, the idea is to spend down some of your RRSP before age 70 to fill the gap left by deferring your CPP benefits. Good luck getting your commission-paid advisor to buy into this approach. I doubt many advisors would like the idea of spending down your savings early in order to maximize retirement benefits from CPP.

“Spend your risky dollars first because they may not be there for you in your 80s, depending on how your investments do. A bigger CPP cheque, however, will definitely be there for you.” – Fred Vettese

Spending down your RRSP in your 60s while deferring CPP until age 70 is like converting your risky assets (personal savings in the stock market) into a guaranteed income stream for life.

Related: 5 ways to save your retirement

Think about it. Will you still have the required mental faculties at age 80 or 90 to continue managing your own retirement assets? Or would you prefer to enjoy spending those assets in your 60s and 70s, knowing you still have an enhanced (and guaranteed) income stream to last a lifetime?

If your biggest fear in retirement is outliving your money then why not design your retirement income streams to protect against that very fear? Instead, most retirees take their CPP benefits the first chance they get:  leaving additional money on the table and giving up a portion of that longevity risk protection.

Let’s hear it: Retirees, when did you take CPP? Soon-to-be retirees, have I given you a compelling argument to take CPP at age 70?

In addition to running the Boomer & Echo website, Robb Engen is a fee-only financial planner. This article originally ran on his site on Feb. 18, 2019 and is republished here with his permission.

## 7 thoughts on “3 Reasons to delay taking CPP until age 70”

1. Dolores Smith says:

A few of my coworkers havhave died in their 50s and 60s. My financial planner told me to definitely take it at 60. Has changed my life!

2. Hi Robb, what about those of us who work from 65 to 70, are self- employed, so paying employer and employee contributions, who elect to take CPP, as you suggest at age 70, and end up paying an additional \$25,938.00 ( and even more over the next 5 years as the contribution percentage goes up), with NO extra benefit, compared to retiring at 65, but not taking CPP until age 70? That’ a LOT of money, and patently unfair. Any ideas?

1. I’m sure Robb will have his own view, but for what it’s worth I’m in that age range now but I try to pay myself only \$3500 in salary, building retaining earnings, living on other income sources, and that number doesn’t require paying CPP premiums.

3. David Piscopo says:

Well I’ve had 3 heart attacks and now 58, so maybe that changes it. I collect 70% of my salary until age 65 which then drops to 50%. So 65-70 would b lean years if I didn’t take it. Married, my wife collects a pension of about 45k. Mtg done in 4 years.

1. My rule of thumb is to delay CPP as long as you can, but take it if you need the money. For me, it may be some time between 66 and 70 but every situation is different.

4. dom cugliari says:

Hey Robb

What a compelling argument you make. I was intuitively thinking of drawing down my RRSP first as well. Makes perfect sense! Thx.

5. Jayne says:

So few articles like this mention, even in passing, the effect of death. That is, if one spouse passes before starting the pension. This is definitely going to be a consideration for me. Some is better than none.