Conservative investor strategy:

Peter's story

Story summary:

With three years to retirement and his cycling tour to Europe in view, Peter is focused on hanging on to what he currently has in retirement savings.

Planning strategies in this story:

Determining your risk tolerance


Choose the right funds

Speaking to a Retirement and Pension Advisor


Peter has been a member of the CSS Pension Plan for almost 36 years and has been logging into myCSSPEN regularly to check his account balance and use the pension projection calculator.

He does not want to manage his investments in retirement and feels more comfortable taking a CSS monthly pension, which provides a guaranteed income for life. This will eliminate his exposure to the ups and downs of the markets.

Peter's risk profile

Ability to Take Risks




Time Horizon

Investment knowledge

Other assets/income sources

Willingness to take risks




Willingness to accept short term losses

Panics over negative returns

My wife, Danielle, and I have already been planning our cycling tour of Europe,” says Peter, 57, smiling. “We’re planning an extended trip when I retire in about three years. Including what I’ll receive from the Canada Pension Plan, my funds in the CSS Pension Plan and our RRSPs, we’re pretty close to reaching our retirement savings goal. We’ll get by fine as long as we can hang on to what we’ve got.”

“I’m not interested in managing investments when I retire, and I would have to stay invested in the markets if I chose an option like Variable Benefit (VB) payments or a RIF at a financial institution,” Peter explains. “I also know that my monthly pension payment will be based on the amount of my accumulated pension funds when I retire. I’d hate to take a loss at this late date because I’d have little time for the markets to recover before I intend to start my monthly pension.”

Peter’s use of the online Risk Tolerance Estimator leads him to the conclusion that he is a conservative investor and is provided with the recommendation that he invest 45% in the Balanced Fund and 55% in the Bond Fund.


Suggested Asset Mix

The Risk Tolerance Estimator suggests a combination of CSS funds (45% Balanced Fund and 55% Bond Fund) that should suit Peter based on his investor profile.

Did you know that CSS offers

Complimentary retirement planning consultation to our members?

After attending a CSS Retirement Income Options (RIO) workshop, Peter booked an appointment with a CSS Retirement and Pension Advisor to talk about moving into the Plan’s lower-risk investment funds over the next three years. The Retirement and Pension Advisor suggested two different strategies that could meet Peter’s objective.

“First, she indicated that I could re-allocate my pension funds to the Money Market Fund if I wanted to minimize my risk of suffering a short-term loss, but this strategy may not help me achieve any more growth in my portfolio.

Second, she suggested that it might be better to allocate my pension funds to the Bond Fund, since I am specifically intending to take a monthly pension,” says Peter. “The advisor explained that although bond prices can go up and down, bond prices generally tend to go up when long-term interest rates fall. This could provide us with some protection against an increase in the cost of my pension over the next three years if long-term interest rates go down. I’m going to discuss these two risk reduction strategies with my better half and then make a decision. Right now, I’m thinking that a gradual shift to bonds might work best for us.”

Investment Funds

The CSS Pension Plan offers four investment funds - the Balanced Fund, Equity Fund, Bond Fund and Money Market Fund.