Archive for the ‘Pensions’ Category

That sound you hear?

- September 19th, 2012

Marc Garneau
It’s the space-time continuum rupturing. For here, ladies and gentlemen, we have the Liberals agreeing with the Conservatives that perhaps now would be a good time to overhaul the ridiculously generous pension system for MPs.

Egad. And yes, I do mean that in a good way.

Liberal House leader Marc Garneau says his party is ready to “bite the bullet” and massively overhaul MP pensions.

“I think we have been very fortunate in terms of the pensions and by some optics it is gold plated,” the Quebec MP told reporters Tuesday.

Garneau suggested he wants the government to move away from guaranteed indexed pensions for MPs — pensions that increase payouts with if the cost of living increases — because he is “ready to do what every other Canadian does.”

The Conservative caucus is deliberating MP pension reform before the government unveils its plan in the budget implementation bill. The legislation will be tabled in the coming weeks and will include changes to public service retirement plans.

Taxpayers currently pay $24 for every $1 MPs contribute to their pensions, but the government has signaled it will move towards a 50% contribution from elected officials.

There has also been mounting speculation about a move to increase the age of eligibility for MP pension collection. MPs can presently collect pensions at 55, after six years of service.

I’ll believe it when I see it. But hey, I do like the sound of it.

Pension crisis? What pension crisis?

- April 12th, 2012

A new IMF study getting lots of ink in Britain, Australia and elsewhere warns that governments and private firms have consistently underestimated increases in life expectancy that, while good for individuals, have potentially catastrophic implications for public and corporate pensions.

I wonder what the people who jeered at the Harper administration’s timid OAS changes think about it?


Not that we’ll have much of a choice, but still

- February 22nd, 2012

Apparently the majority of Canadians are planning to work past the age of 66. This will include me – I’m sort of loosely planning to croak on the job at the tender age of 95 or something (can’t imagine being idle – “retirement” is a thoroughly foreign concept to me).

Most Canadians expect to work beyond the age of 66, according to a new poll from Sun Life Financial released Wednesday.

Sun Life Financial’s fourth annual Unretirement Index found that only three in 10 Canadians plan to be fully retired at the age of 66, and nearly half of those surveyed (48%) plan to phase in their retirement by working part-time or freelance.

“Canadian retirement expectations are changing with many planning to work longer and almost half of Canadians looking to phase in their retirement,” said Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada. “These results are not surprising given the current economic volatility, increasing consumer debt loads, rising health care costs, longer life expectancy and lack of planning. We’re also finding that some Canadians believe they’ll have to work longer to be able to pay for basic living expenses.”

Of those who said they plan to phase in retirement, 43% said they expect to start the process between the ages of 60 and 65, 21% said they plan to start between the ages of 50 and 59 and 8% said they plan to start the process between the ages of 66 and 70.

Among the 70% of respondents who said they don’t expect to be fully retired at 66, 20% said they expect to be working full-time, and 34% said they expect to be working part-time. Fourteen per cent of respondents said they hadn’t thought that far ahead, and 2% said they thought they’d be dead.

An excellent point about retirement age

- February 1st, 2012

My friend Jason Clemens has an oped, here, about the current Old Age Security hoopla. The whole thing is worth reading, but here’s the point that really got my attention.

The rumoured change in OAS is that the age of eligibility will be increased to 67 over an extended time period, perhaps ten years. This is actually quite timid. Consider that when the Canada Pension Plan was introduced (1966), life expectancy was 72 years (combined male-female life expectancy), implying a benefit period of 7 years. Life expectancy now stands at 81, implying a benefit period of 16 years or more than double the original period. Put another way, the age of eligibility would be 74 years today if the original threshold had been indexed to life expectancy.

You know, the point of this whole pension thing was never to give people 20-odd years of carefree retirement living. It was to make sure vulnerable folks didn’t spend their last couple of years in abject poverty. If 20-odd years of golfing is what you want for your retirement, I suggest you start saving your own money, and lots of it.