What is your dream retirement? Picture yourself in 20 to 40 years: sitting under the sun in a chalet in Lake Como, train-hopping across Europe in the middle of autumn, or purchasing an RV and traveling across North America. This is retirement, not losing sleep at night about money.

Millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – are not comfortable about their financial future. Whether it is their personal pecuniary situation or the state of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) by the time they hit retirement, millennials do not think they’ll have a bright winter.

But is this defeatist attitude necessary? Or, can millennials take action now to ensure they have plenty of superb retirement years? With the best retirement investment strategies in place, you can opt for the ladder, guaranteeing that you will finish your life with the best of memories.

Here are the eight best retirement investment strategies for millennials:

1. Dividend-Paying Stocks

Dividend-paying stocks are one of the best retirement investment strategies for any age. The objective for many investors is having the ability to live on your dividends. If you keep purchasing stocks that offer a healthy dividend throughout your holding period, then you can certainly enjoy a comfortable life with these quarterly payouts. Of course, most of the sexy tech stocks don’t pay dividends, mainly because they’re so much in debt, but if you find some unsexy stocks, then you can earn a nice retirement income with these dividends.

2. To Bond or Not to Bond

Bonds used to be all the rage in the 1980s and 1990s. Your parents and grandparents put a lot of their money in the bond market, particularly government ones. And why not? They paid upwards of 20 percent interest.

Today, you’re lucky if your bond investments can keep up with inflation, since they average between one and two percent.

So, should you touch bonds? If you like low-risk and a guaranteed return, then bonds should be added to your portfolio. On the other hand, if you can get a higher interest rate on a savings account, then what would be the point of holding 10-year bonds?

3. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

A lot of people have gotten rich from real estate. Some of the country’s wealthiest individuals and families became millionaires and billionaires by parking their money in real estate. Can you do this? Sure, you can buy property, flip it, and hope that it gives you a 250 percent return. Or, you can invest in a commercial plot and make a nice income from there.

There is a way to invest in real estate without putting up too much capital and time and enduring a lot of risk: REITs.

A Real Estate Investment Trust is a company that owns and/or operates income-producing real estate, from commercial to residential to industrial. By investing in a REIT, you can tap into the potential of real estate investing without having to borrow from the bank and overleverage yourself.

4. GIC Laddering

Like bonds, guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) used to be all the rage – and for the same reason: interest rates. As the Bank of Canada (BOC) gradually raises interest rates from historic lows, you are beginning to get the best returns on your GICs. This is one of the best retirement investment strategies in Canada.

But do you know how to get even high returns? It’s simple: climb the ladder:

  • Purchase five separate GICs with terms ranging from one to five years.
  • When one of your GICs matures every year, reinvest those funds for another five-year term.

By doing this, you can capture higher interest rates and can achieve easier access to your capital.

5. Sell Your Home

For many millennials, homeownership is a distant dream that will never be realized. Nobody could blame you for feeling this way, since real estate prices are only getting higher – and don’t get started on the down payment! That said, if you are fortunate enough to own a home, then you should sell it to fund your retirement, and use the proceeds to finally enjoy life when you’re old and gray.

6. Life Insurance policy

If you’re single, then a life insurance policy is superfluous. However, if you have a family – a significant other and a couple of kids – then life insurance is important to have.

One of the chief benefits of having life insurance is that when your term expires, then you can cash out and get all of the premiums back. So, for instance, if you purchased a $250,000, 20-year life insurance policy, then at the end of those 20 years, you’ll get your $5,000 back. Or, if you have a $1 million, 20-year policy, then you can get $20,000 back in two decades.

That’s not too shabby.

7. Cut Your Tax Bill

The average Canadian pays about half of their income in taxes. You work at a job you hate, skimp and save, and live within your means just to pay your taxes. That’s not fair, is it?

Well, whatever the case, if you want to find some savings in your tax bill, then you should take full advantage of the myriad of advantages:

  • Tax-deferring Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).
  • Investing in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to get $500 back.
  • Parking all your savings and investments into a tax-free savings account (TFSA).

8. Buy Stocks You Know

Trying to find the next hot stock that will soar 300 percent is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Recently, Atossa Genetics saw its stock skyrocket 295 percent on news that it received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It went from a 52-week low of $0.88 to $4 in a matter of moments – you have to feel bad for those investors who got in at $9.

The moral of the story? Just purchase stocks you know.

For instance, in your neighbourhood, there is a Starbucks, a Tim Hortons, a Wal-Mart, a TD Canada Trust, and a Rogers store. Why not invest your cash into these companies? You not only know these businesses, they all pay dividends.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Indeed, only half of this timeless quote can apply to you in your retirement – can you guess which one? The surveys continually show that millennials think they’re going to work and be in debt until they dire. That isn’t much of an existence, is it? Well, by instituting the right investment measures, you can defy this cynicism and chase the sun in Barbados, sit under the stars in Paris, and get to know the cradle of civilization in Africa.

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