What the plan is – and what it isn’t
The Advantages Retirement Plan™ is a group retirement plan designed to help members of the physician community achieve a foundational level of retirement savings in a cost-effective manner. It is designed based on physician input and the general needs of the physician community. Part of the plan’s efficiency and low cost comes from its simplicity, and its focus on providing retirement income. Designing a cost-effective, easy-to-use plan meant saying no to many potential features. For example, the plan is not:
- A marketplace for investment options, with numerous choices of funds, other than target-date funds, and individual stocks to choose from
- An individual wealth management model, that also includes advice on estate planning, tax planning, and other individualized guidance
- An all-purpose savings program, to help you save for a house, your child’s education, or other non-retirement purposes
- A mechanism for saving within your corporation or for making non-registered investments – it is based on RRSPs/RRIFs and TFSAs
The Advantages Retirement Plan™ is just that – a retirement plan. It is designed for physicians or their spouses/common-law partners who want a simple, cost-effective vehicle for building retirement security.
 Donald B. Keim and Olivia S. Mitchell, “Simplifying Choices in Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Design”. Pension Research Council.
What you need to know before signing up
To be eligible to join the plan, you must:
- Be an OMA member or the spouse/common-law partner of an OMA member, AND
- Be a resident of Canada for tax purposes (visit the Government of Canada website for more information)
Note that all members age 18 or above, including retired members, are eligible to join the plan.
It is advised that you use a desktop or laptop computer to enroll in the plan, and the experience has been optimized for the following browsers: Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
Information you will need
- Your Social Insurance Number (required by the Canada Revenue Agency)
- Your or your spouse/common-law partner’s OMA number
- Your approximate annual pre-tax income after overhead
- The approximate amount of your existing savings for retirement
- Your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) contribution room (currently, the annual limits are $6,000 for a TFSA, and 18% of your salary in the previous year, up to a maximum of $29,210 for an RRSP. You may also have unused room from previous years.)
- The transit, institution, and account numbers for the personal bank account you would like linked to the plan for future contributions or withdrawals
What to expect during the enrollment process
The process takes 20-30 minutes on average to complete, but you can always save your progress and continue the enrollment process later. It is advised that you use a desktop or laptop computer to enroll in the plan, and the experience has been optimized for the following browsers: Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
During enrollment, you will make a few key decisions, which you can always change in the future.
- Set a target retirement age
- Set a target for how much income you want to receive in retirement
- Determine which of two options you want to use to contribute to the plan: monthly contributions or the transfer of an existing TFSA, RRSP, or Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF). After you’ve enrolled, you’ll be able to make lump sum contributions.
- Choose from one of nine investment options from the plan’s investment manager, BlackRock. Each option is a diversified target date fund based on its time horizon
- Choose how much of your monthly contributions, if you have selected this option, to allocate to your TFSA versus your RRSP account
- If you are age 50 or older, consider whether the purchase of guaranteed lifetime income should be part of your savings strategy. This program will be coming soon in 2021.
For each of these decisions, you will be provided with a default for your consideration, in case you are not sure which option to choose. These defaults are based on the general needs of the physician community. Ultimately, the choices are yours to make, and the defaults are entirely voluntary.
If you need help during the enrollment process
- You will be able to access education articles and links relevant to each of the decisions you’ll be asked to make.
- You can always contact OMA Insurance staff with questions about the plan or to help you access the resources useful in your decision-making. The role of OMA Insurance staff is to provide education on the plan. They are not licensed to provide investment advice or to tell you what you should or should not do.
What about guaranteed lifetime income?
If you are interested in participating in the plan’s group annuity, or guaranteed lifetime income program, it will be coming soon in 2021. As you consider it, we encourage you to speak to an OMA Insurance advisor by calling 1-800-758-1641 or emailing email@example.com.
You must be age 50 or older to purchase guaranteed lifetime income. If you are transferring in savings currently held in another RRSP or RRIF, then during enrollment you will be able to indicate the percentage of the transfer amount that you wish to use to make an annuity purchase once the transfer is received in your Advantages Retirement Plan™ RRSP. Remember that only RRSP and RRIF assets, not TFSA assets, can be used to purchase guaranteed lifetime income.
Impact of COVID-19 on the markets
A message was sent to Advantages Retirement Plan members on staying the course through market volatility due to COVID-19. You can read the full letter here.