Photo Credit: Pixabay Canadians may be less prepared for retirement than they think. Yet, with making smart investments now, most will be able to retire earlier, and not give up their morning coffee. Tired of Penny Pinching Minimalism and coupon clipping may have made a big comeback in the wake of the 2008 financial crises, but a lot of people are getting tired of it. Yet, a new report by the Financial Post warns than buying a coffee every morning could delay your ability to retire by an additional four and a half months. We do need to be smart with our spending, and think long term. Yet, starving ourselves of every little pleasure and any enjoyment on the journey, just doesn't make life much fun. Plus, we never know how long we've got. At some point there is a limit to how low you can drop your expenses, and it comes down to a need to increase income. Reliability is Rare When it comes to retirement plans that Canadians can rely on to pay off, reliability is rare. Some companies have moved to offer defined benefit plans, versus those perilous old defined contribution plans. Unfortunately, even some of the biggest and best funded corporations are proving not to be able to manage their own core businesses well enough, nevermind being able to managed retirement investments for thousands of employees. Just look at Sears. Warren Buffett recently personally bought out a lot of Sears' real estate. Now in bankruptcy, Sears doesn't have much to back up the promised benefits to ex-employees. Some are being told they won't get those defined' benefits after all, nor the severance pay owed. Even the US government is in jeopardy of defaulting on Social Security benefits for workers who have paid in a lifetime of contributions. There are two even bigger threats to Canadians' retirement plans too. One is that most simply aren't shooting big enough. Between taxes and inflation, and other bills still lingering around, most will need far more in retirement than they are expecting. It may be more than 100% of their current income, not less. According to the latest data, only a little over half of Canadians are even saving. The second threat is that much of these savings are in highly risky and volatile stock market accounts, which could lose value right when they are needed. Many retirement accounts may not even be targeting what is most important for retirement – income. You don't need a big nest egg, but you must have steady income coming in. The Real Estate Factor Many Canadians are putting a lot of their earnings into their homes. More than savings. In some cases homes can be leveraged in retirement. Though it is also a risky bet, given the potential fluctuations in value, and the fact that you still need somewhere to live. It's not a true investment. Contrast the stock market and your home with commercial real estate investments. Commercial property investments can help build wealth and portfolio values, but more importantly, it offers tax advantages, and passive income productions. Those who invest in these types of assets earlier have the freedom to retire earlier, because they are already creating a stream of ongoing paychecks that will come in whether they get up and go to work or not. Summary Saving and investing for retirement isn't always fun. Some plans have proven to be a gamble. However, making smart investments early, which delivers result directly to your goal a steady stream of income can make retirement a reality. Commercial real estate investments in particular may allow you to retire earlier and have your morning latte too.