Jan 17: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

January 17, 2022

Offering a retirement program benefits employers as well as workers: study

Research carried out by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and retirement benefits organization Common Wealth has found that offering a pension program for employees offers positive benefits for employers as well, reports Wealth Professional.

The study, titled The Business Case for Good Workplace Retirement Plans, notes that a good workplace pension plan should offer “value drivers” such as “regular automatic savings, lower fees and costs, investment discipline, fiduciary governance, and risk pooling,” the article, written by Leo Almazora, notes. As well, portability – the ability to keep the retirement program even if you change jobs – was seen as a positive feature, the article adds.

Common Wealth’s Alex Mazer states in the article that “having a plan that lets workers keep benefitting from the first five value drivers over the course of their career, even as they go from job to job and into retirement, can translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional wealth accumulated over their lifetime, compared with saving for retirement on one’s own.”

Alex Mazer spoke to Save with SPP a few years ago about ways to encourage more retirement saving, and to make it automatic.

What’s interesting, the article notes, is that employers offering such programs also benefit.

“From an employer’s perspective, being able to offer a good workplace retirement plan is also a powerful tool. According to the research, having a vehicle to help them progress toward retirement is highly prized by employees, as it consistently emerged among the top benefits for recruitment or retention. Beyond that, it can also contribute greatly to improving productivity on the job,” the article reports.

“There’s a real linkage between people’s financial stress and their productivity,” Steven McCormick, senior vice president for Plan Operations at HOOPP, tells Wealth Professional. “In the research we’ve done, three quarters of employers said that any financial stress on an employee has an impact on productivity overall. I think that really makes the case for business owners to see workplace plans as an investment in their business as well as their people.”

Some business owners may see offering a pension plan as just another big expense, but McCormick says there’s a different way to look at it.

“For business owners who may have preconceived notions about the impact of putting a retirement plan in place, we’d suggest they should perhaps take another look,” McCormick states in the article. “They might not have a plan that hits all our five value drivers right off the bat, but we think it’s something to consider building toward to help their staff, their business, and society as a whole.”

This is a great look at an important issue. Let’s not overlook the fact that without a workplace pension plan, the responsibility for retirement saving becomes an individual burden. As well, those without sufficient savings for retirement may find themselves living on the spartan monthly income provided by the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and – if applicable – the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Did you know that the Saskatchewan Pension Plan can be leveraged as a company pension plan? Contact us to find out how your company can offer SPP to its employees.

And, if you don’t have a pension program at work, perhaps the SPP can do the job for you. With SPP you get the benefit of low investment costs and pooling, and good governance. You can arrange to make regular, automatic contributions and SPP travels with you if you change jobs. Check out SPP today!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


Savings resolutions for 2022

January 13, 2022

The start of a new year often has us thinking of things we “resolve” to do – changes we want to make – in 2022.

Save with SPP had a look around the “information highway” to see what people are resolving to do on the all-important savings front.

From The Guardian , ideas include getting debt-free, starting a rainy day fund, and to “have a goal” for savings. The newspaper notes that debt is a real barrier to savings.

“There is no point trying to save if you are burdened by costly debts,” The Guardian reports. While savings accounts in the U.K. pay only about 0.2 per cent interest, the article continues, credit card, store card or overdraft debts may be “in excess of 20 per cent.”

Writing for the GoBankingRates blog via Yahoo!, John Csiszar suggests resolutions should include “bumping up your retirement plan contributions by one per cent,” reviewing your spending from 2021, and that you “don’t buy anything until you get rid of something else.”

Increasing your contributions to a retirement account (here in Canada, this might refer to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), or your Saskatchewan Pension Plan account) by one per cent is, Csiszar writes, an achievable goal. If you earn $50,000 a year, and are contributing five per cent to a retirement plan, he writes, bumping that up by one per cent will boost your retirement savings by $41.67 per month.

Back in the U.K., The Express recommends dropping costly habits, “start counting the pennies” (or nickels here in Canada), and following the 50/30/20 rule.

“Allocate 50 per cent for essentials, such as rent, mortgage and bills, 30 per cent for `wants’ such as hobbies, shopping or subscriptions, and 20 per cent for paying off debt or building up savings,” the article suggests.

Finally, MSN Money adds a few more – review your retirement plan contributions (to ensure you are contributing as much as you can), contribute to both “traditional” retirement savings accounts (here in Canada, an RRSP or SPP) as well as tax-free savings vehicles (for Canadians, the Tax-Free Savings Account) and increase any automatic savings you have going.

These are all great strategies. Another one to add is to live within your means. Don’t spend even a nickel more than you earn, because that overspending can snowball on you. Pay the bills, then pay yourself (and your future self), and spend what’s left over. As the bills go down, you’ll have more to save.

And the SPP allows you to make contributions the easy way – automatically. You can set up a pre-authorized payment plan with SPP and have your contributions withdrawn painlessly every payday. It’s easier to spread your contributions out throughout the year in bite-sized pieces than to try and come up with one big payment at the deadline. And the good folks at SPP will invest your contributions steadily and professionally, turning them into future retirement income. It’s win win!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


Jan 10: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

January 10, 2022

New year, new plan to fix your finances?

Writing for the GoBankingRates blog via Yahoo! Finance, Jennifer Taylor suggests that the start of 2022 is a great time to review your personal finances.

“The new year is here and you’re ready to make serious changes to your financial situation,” she writes. “Whether you’re buried in credit card debt, haven’t started saving for retirement or don’t currently have an emergency fund, you’re committed to turning things around in 2022,” the article continues.

She raises an interesting idea, courtesy of Ryan Klippel of Optas Capital – that your budget for this year should be focused on whether or not “you were cash flow positive or negative last year.”

If you were cash flow positive – meaning you had money left over after meeting all your obligations – “great, now set a savings goal for 2022” for the extra money, the article suggests.

If, on the other hand, you were cash flow negative – meaning you have more obligations than money – “spend the time to determine what expenses were luxuries versus necessities, and trim accordingly,” the article notes.

For those of us with debts to address, states Klippel in the article, “sometimes setting smaller goals to start is better than overly ambitious ones. For example, it is much more realistic and digestible to eliminate credit card debt for one card than five.”

The rest of the article offers tips on how to turn your personal financial ship of state around.

  • Save more money: Even if you could save just 10 per cent of your salary per month – leaving you 90 per cent to spend – you’d have a full year’s salary in the bank after 10 years, the article suggests.
  • Retirement savings: Pay your future self first, the article suggests, and make retirement savings a priority, even over saving for kids’ education. Often, people want to do more things in retirement than they have done in their working lives, so more retirement income is positive, the article adds.
  • Don’t let money control your life: It’s easy to get into the cycle of living paycheque to paycheque, but the article advises that “gratification comes when you take control of your life and the power you get when you wake up and realize you have money in the bank.”

Other great ideas suggested in the article include building up your emergency fund, changing your spending habits (via reflecting on how you spend and having a plan to change your ways), and paying your credit card in full each month.

This last one is particularly good advice. There are a lot of us who can’t pay off credit card balances. That basically means we are “buying” things that we won’t pay for in full for years, all while getting charged double digit interest. Often, one ends up in a “pay the bank first” scenario, due to rising minimum payments on credit card balances. Turning this around so that you pay the thing off in full will mean you can bid a fond farewell to all that compounding interest – and create a new pool of cash that you can put away for your future retirement years.

As we start a new year, your financial planning should for sure focus on retirement savings. The Saskatchewan Pension Plan equips you with a do-it-yourself, end to end retirement system that takes your contributions, invests them, and turns that nest egg into future retirement income. You can even get a lifetime pension through SPP’s family of annuity options. Find out how SPP can help you pre-build a secure retirement!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


The different between collateral and conventional mortgage

January 6, 2022

Are you in the market for a mortgage and you’re not sure which one to take out? In this article we’ll look at the difference between collateral and conventional mortgages, so you can decide which one is the right one for you.

Collateral Mortgages

A collateral mortgage lets you borrow more money than your property is worth. A mortgage lender is able to do that because a collateral mortgage re-advances. This allows you to borrow additional funds as needed without needing your break your existing mortgage contract.

This is accomplished by registering a lien against your property. Lenders will register a lien for up to 125% of your property’s value. For example, if your home is valued at $700,000, you could register a lien for a maximum of $875,000.

When the charge is registered, you can leverage the equity as needed. The simplest way to do that is by setting up a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). HELOCs are a lot like mortgages. HELOCs offer a way to borrow money cheaply, but with even more flexible repayment terms. With a HELOC you’re able to make interest-only payments on your mortgage to minimize your cash flow.

You could also set up a readvanceable mortgage whereby the credit limit on the HELOC increases as you pay down your mortgage. You could use the extra equity to finance home renovations or to buy your next investment property.

Conventional Mortgages

A conventional mortgage is the mortgage you probably already know. When you put down at least 20% on a property, you’re eligible for a conventional mortgage. This is different than an insured mortgage when you put down less than 20% on a property.

Since you are putting down at least 20% on the property, you’re able to borrow at least 80% of its value with a conventional mortgage. The value of your property is based on how much it’s appraised for.

If it’s appraised for more than you paid, you can borrow based on the purchase price. However, if it’s appraised for less, you can only borrow based on the appraised value and you have to make up the rest from your own pockets if you want to still put at least 20% down.

If cash flow matters most to you, the 30 year amortization makes the most sense. Otherwise, if rate matters the most, the 25 year amortization is usually the way to go.

This post was written by Sean Cooper, bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage. Sean is also a mortgage broker at mortgagepal.ca.

About the Author

Sean Cooper is the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage: The Simple, Powerful Path to Financial Freedom for Canadians. He bought his first house when he was only 27 in Toronto and paid off his mortgage in just 3 years by age 30. An in-demand Personal Finance Journalist, Money Coach and Speaker, his articles and blogs have been featured in publications such as the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Financial Post and MoneySense. Connect with Sean on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.


Jan 3: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

January 3, 2022

Are Brits drawing down their pension savings at too great a clip?

One of the tricky parts to living off a lump sum of retirement savings is figuring out how much to take out each year.

There are many theories on what the “right” percentage to draw down is, and many experts, such as Dr. John Por who spoke to Save with SPP last year say a perfectly correct number is “unknowable,” since no one knows what future interest rates and markets will be like.

But the general rule of thumb has been that taking out four per cent per year is a “sustainable” number.

That’s why it is surprising to read the news in Professional Pensions that across the pond, 43 per cent of Brits are withdrawing eight per cent of their retirement savings annually – double that rule of thumb.

The figure comes from new research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the U.K.

“While you may need to make occasional ad-hoc withdrawals to cover large expenses, making regular withdrawals at this level risks depleting your fund,” states senior pension analyst Helen Morrissey of Hargreaves Lansdown. “If you also experience a period of investment volatility this can further impact your fund as you have no… contributions going in to make up any losses,” she states.

The number of Brits withdrawing at an eight per cent clip jumped from 40 per cent in 2020 to 43 per cent this year.

The article suggests that the pandemic has played a part in people taking more out of their pension savings.

Meanwhile, data from the FCA shows there has been a 13 per cent drop in annuity purchases in the U.K.

This may be, reports The Telegraph because of “a deterioration in annuity rates” thanks to generally low interest rates, and the fact that drawdown “will always give you the highest income” versus an annuity.

The Telegraph article says only an annuity approach guarantees that you won’t “exhaust your pension early.” They suggest a blend of the two options – drawing down some of your money at a sustainable rate, and annuitizing the rest, to ensure that you will never run out.

Save with SPP knows of at least a couple of people who ran out of retirement savings while still relatively young. It’s likely that they didn’t understand the idea that the big pot of savings is supposed to last as long as you do. It’s tempting to be sitting on maybe a hundred thousand dollars of savings, and thinking that it’s time for new windows and doors, or (one day) a vacation, and burning through it. But you’ll miss that money when you’re 90.

The Saskatchewan Pension Plan (www.saskpension.com) allows you to annuitize some or all of your retirement savings when the day comes to put down the shovel and stop working. The SPP’s Retirement Guide outlines all the annuity options you can choose from. And if you have a spouse, the annuity option means that your spouse will receive a lifetime income from SPP should you pass away before they do. That’s the peace of mind that saving for retirement with SPP can bring. Check them out today.

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


Rich Girl, Broke Girl shows the steps women need to take to gain control of their finances

December 30, 2021

Financial author Kelley Keehn thinks women need to be in charge – not unwilling passengers – when it comes to steering their financial ships of state.

Her well-written (and entertaining) book, Rich Girl, Broke Girl provides step-by-step directions to help women gain control over debt, day to day expenses, investing and of course, retirement savings.

As the book opens, Keehn notes that while most women are told they can “financially achieve anything, dream as big as any man, accomplish anything,” they often get blamed if they fail, and are told to leave finances to “someone else in (their life),” or to “marry rich.”

The stats, she writes, show that many women don’t like others being in charge of their money. A full two-thirds of women “whose partners are the primary breadwinners feel trapped,” Keehn writes. “Seven in ten women wish they had more power in their financial futures,” she continues. “Sixty-four per cent of women wish they had their own money set aside just in case.”

She then tells the story of “Mack,” a young woman who tried to strike out on her own, but lacked financial knowledge, didn’t know the cost of things, tried to live an impossibly unaffordable life, blew her credit on a single trip, then got behind and didn’t ask for help, ultimately forcing her to move back home.

An “anti-budget,” Keehn writes, is the solution here. Track every dollar, categorize spending, multiply expenses by 12 to create an annual budget, and then “trim the excess… (and) reallocate.” Fictional Mack could save $3,255 a year, writes Keehn, by saving just 50 per cent on her discretionary expenses.

The book looks at the ins and outs of credit, and then, cohabitation.

“Have the money talk with your partner early,” Keehn advises. If your partner is a saver, and you are a “live for today” spender, that collision of views could harm the relationship, she notes.

There’s a great, detailed overview of investing, which looks at cash, fixed income and equities, as well as other investment vehicles. Keehn recommends a diverse approach to investing. Don’t invest in just one stock, but a diversified portfolio, she explains. Understand the risks of equity investing, but don’t fear them and put all your money in fixed-income, Keehn adds.

She explains the difference between buying stocks and bonds yourself versus buying units in mutual funds – the latter can have high fees, she warns.

Keehn points out how even the modest inflation we’ve experienced in the past five years can “erode your wealth.”

In the section on tax shelters, Keehn says it is best to think of registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) “as an empty garage. You have to put “cars” (investments) into them, and depending on the rules of the tax shelter, there are different perks and penalties.”

With both, you can invest in a “plethora” of different vehicles, from “guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) and savings accounts to stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and more.” Only the tax treatment of the “cars” is different – you get a tax deduction for funds placed in an RRSP, and they grow tax free, but are taxed when you take money out. There’s no tax deduction for putting funds in a TFSA, but no taxes on growth, and no taxes due on any income taken out of the TFSA.

She talks about the need to maximize your contribution to any company-sponsored retirement savings plan, because otherwise, “you are leaving money on the table.”

Keehn offers some thoughts on the idea of paying off mortgages quickly as a strategy – perhaps, she writes, it’s less of a good idea given the current low mortgage rates – if you have debts at a higher interest rate, perhaps they should be targeted first.

She’s a believer in getting financial advice when you run into problems.

“It’s natural to feel ashamed of our money mistakes. However, our problems compound when we can’t manage on our own and don’t seek help. Think of it this way: Would you formulate a health-improvement plan before going to your doctor to see what’s actually wrong with you? Probably not.”

This is a great, clear, easy-to-follow walk through about a topic that many people don’t like to deal with. If you’re living paycheque to paycheque, with no emergency savings, this book offers you a blueprint for getting out of trouble and building financial independence. It’s a great addition to your financial library.

Kelley Keehn spoke to Save with SPP last year and had great additional insights about the stress Canadians feel over money matters.

Did you know that in-year contributions you make to the Saskatchewan Pension Plan are tax-deductible? In 2022, you can contribute up to $7,000 per calendar year, subject to available RRSP room. As the book suggests, funds within a registered plan like SPP grow tax-free, and are taxed only when you convert your SPP savings to future retirement income. Check out SPP today.

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


Dec 27: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

December 27, 2021

What if there never is a retirement party?

A new study from the U.K. suggests – that for an estimated one million Brits – there will be no life after work.

The study, carried out by Canada Life, is covered in a recent article in Professional Advisor. The article notes that 17.1 million Brits plan to work beyond the normal state pension age.

Why the focus on working well into retirement age?

The article says 43 per cent of those planning to work longer “consider their pension to be inadequate to retire fully.” A further 22 per cent, Professional Advisor continues, are concerned “about how long their retirement savings will last,” and 10 per cent fear that unless they continue working, they won’t be able to afford their current lifestyle.

And it’s not like people are eager to work into their late 60s and beyond, the article reports.

Thirty-four per cent of those surveyed feared a longer career at work because they are “concerned about being unable to enjoy their older age,” the article notes. Thirty-three per cent worry that working longer will “take a toll on their health,” and 27 per cent said that even though they want to work longer, “deteriorating health” will make it harder to do so.

“Digging beneath the surface, there are a variety of reasons for working beyond state pension age, or not retiring at all,” states Andrew Tully of Canada Life in the Professional Advisor article. “For some people the social side of work would be missed, but for others, financial considerations are a key driver. As an industry, we need to find ways of encouraging better engagement in long-term financial planning as a way to ensure that people are confident that they are building sufficient savings for retirement,” he states in the article.

Tully also says that the pandemic is having a big impact on people nearing retirement age. Many are “re-evaluating how they want to live and what they want to in later life.”

This article raises some important questions. Clearly, those who – as the article suggests – feel they don’t have a good enough pension, or that they will outlive their savings, don’t have much of a choice about whether to keep working. But, as the article notes, age can catch up to you and can begin to limit how much work you can take on. This would seem to be particularly true for those of us in physically demanding lines of work.

If retirement is a long way off, you have time on your side, and can take steps to avoid funding yourself with inadequate retirement savings. Be sure to join any pension arrangement your workplace offers as soon as possible, and contribute at the maximum rate if you can afford it. If you don’t have a workplace pension plan, or want to augment the one you have, check out the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. The plan can be your personal retirement system – you can contribute up to $7,000 per year towards your future retirement, and SPP will grow that money for you with professional investing at a low price.

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


Be active, eat healthy, and enjoy your life, advises The Retirement Handbook

December 23, 2021

If you are about to leave work behind and start a new life as a retiree – and haven’t really thought about what your new life will look like, The Retirement Handbook by Ted Heybridge is the book for you.

This book is not about the money side of things. Instead, the focus is on you – ideas about how you can be active, eat well, and enjoy life.

Retirement, Heybridge begins, “is your time to spend as you choose, so it’s up to you to decide how much time you wish to devote to volunteering, meeting friends, exercising, gardening or minding grandchildren.”

Exercising and being active is a key consideration, he writes. “Only one in seven 65-74-year-olds and one in 14 over 75s meet World Health Organization guidelines for recommended physical activity,” he notes. That’s 2.5 hours of “moderate aerobic physical activity per week,” and he encouragingly notes that “any activity, no matter how light, is better than none.”

Cycling, he writes, “gets you out, relieves stress, and makes you feel great.” Sixty-three per cent of Copenhagen residents commute to work or school by bike, he notes, adding that “the health benefits of cycling outweigh the injury risks by 20:1.”

Other great activities listed in the book including dancing, running, yoga, swimming, and getting to the gym.

In the section of the book on healthy eating, Heybridge talks about the importance of hydration. Women should have 2.2 litres of water each day, for men it is 3 litres. “If we forget to keep our fluids up, we become dehydrated, which can lead to fatigue and poor concentration,” he warns.

Other advice in this section includes cutting back on sugar, the many advantages of “plant power” in your diet, and useful strategies for cutting back on alcohol.

While saving for retirement and pension plans aren’t expressly featured in this book, ideas on how to make your retirement dollars go farther are.

The “pain-free ways to save” section suggests growing your own food and flowers, becoming a chef at home to save on restaurant dining, using other means – footpower, a bike, or the bus – to cut back on driving (and the cost of gas), selling off your clutter and many more simple-to-do ideas.

Other ways to augment your retirement income include working part time, being a consultant, turning hobbies into money-makers, and many more.

There’s a section on new activities you can take on with the luxury of more time – furthering your education, learning a new language, taking up carpentry, and becoming a wine aficionado.

A nice section on relationships notes that working couples who both retire will find they are spending a lot more time with each other than they are used to. “Make sure you have separate interests and see your own friends. That way, you’ll have something to talk about when you get home.”

Our late mother used to say that when Dad retired, he spent the first year following her around and reading her items out of the paper. So she “assigned” him some new tasks – he took over doing the laundry, and loading and unloading the dishwasher, which he did with aplomb.

This fun, well-written and very helpful book concludes by offering some words of wisdom from famed comic actor George Burns – “you can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”

It’s always nice to have a few twenties in the wallet when you’re retired. If you don’t have a pension program through work, you’ll need to handle saving on your own. A fine partner in your saving efforts is the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. It’s a full-service personal retirement system – your contributions are invested in a professionally managed, pooled fund, at a low cost, and when it is time to turning savings into income, SPP has many options for you, including lifetime annuities. Check them out today!

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


Dec 20: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

December 20, 2021

TFSAs – a handy tool for retirement savers and those drawing down their nest eggs

Writing in Investment Executive, Jeff Buckstein takes a look at how the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) can play a key role not only in saving for retirement, but in the trickier “drawdown” stage.

For starters, he writes, “many people quickly identify the registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) as a key component of successful retirement planning,” overlooking the “complementary role” the TFSA can play “in planning for and enjoying retirement.”

One interesting TFSA characteristic is that money saved within them does not – like in an RRSP – have to come from earned income. Examples of income that doesn’t qualify for an RRSP contribution would be dividends from a private corporation or business, or “a windfall, such as an inheritance,” Buckstein writes.

If you are a regular RRSP contributor who maxes out each year, any extra cash can be saved in a TFSA (up to the annual TFSA limit), he writes. As well, if you are in a company pension plan where your contributions produce a pension adjustment – which reduces how much you can contribute to an RRSP – the TFSA is a safe savings alternative, the article notes.

Quoting Tina Di Vito of Toronto-based MNP LLP, the article notes that “lower income clients who anticipate relying on Old Age Security (OAS) or the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) may be better off investing in a TFSA.”

That’s because withdrawals from a TFSA are not considered taxable income, like withdrawals from an RRSP, a registered retirement income fund (RRIF) or an annuity purchased with registered funds are. So TFSA income doesn’t impact one’s ability to qualify for OAS or GIS.

So what’s a good idea, investment-wise, for a TFSA?

The article quotes Doug Carroll of Aviso Wealth Inc. in Toronto as saying that since TFSA investments are going in to the account tax free and coming out tax free, “you probably lean a little more toward equities in there than you would in your RRSP.”

A more complex idea explored in the article is – for those with substantial TFSA savings as well as an RRSP – to draw down the TFSA income first, and try to delay touching the registered money until you have to at age 71. This strategy can reduce your taxable income over the longer term, the article explains.

Our late father-in-law used to use his TFSA as part of his RRIF withdrawal program. He’d withdraw funds as required from his RRIF, pay tax on them, and then put the after-tax income back into his TFSA to invest. This generated a regular and growing supply of tax-free income, he used to tell us with a broad grin.

Many of us semi-retired boomers didn’t get in on the TFSA, launched in 2009, until the latter years of our careers. If you are younger, and decades away from retirement, think of all the tax-free growth and income your savings could produce in the run up to your Golden Years.

If you don’t have a retirement savings program at work – or want to supplement the one you have – a great place to look is the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. This made-in-Saskatchewan success story has been helping Canadians save for more than 35 years. Check them out today.

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.


Pension dollars are a boost for Canada’s economy, study says

December 16, 2021

A new study has found that every $10 of public sector pension that is paid out to a retired member returns $16.72 of activity in the Canadian economy.

The study was produced by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis on behalf of the Canadian Public Pension Leadership Council.

Save with SPP spoke with Derek Dobson, CEO and Plan Manager of the Colleges of Applied Arts & Technology Pension Plan (CAAT) and a Co-chair of the Council, to further explore the survey’s results, and to talk generally about the value of pension programs.

He notes that the study is “agnostic” about what type of pension plan is producing the $10 spent by its retired members.

“Any plan that uses experienced investment professionals, and pooling – I include the Saskatchewan Pension Plan as an example of that – is delivering pensions efficiently,” he explains. So whether the $10 is produced by an efficient defined benefit (DB) plan or an efficient defined contribution (DC) plan, the economic benefits are the same.

The study noted that – looking at public sector pension plans only — $82 billion of economic activity was generated in 2019, “supporting 877,100 jobs and $33 billion in wages for Canadians,” according to the study’s executive summary. Governments gain $21 billion in tax revenue, the study notes. Collectively, Canadian public sector DB plans have an eye-popping $1.27 trillion in assets.

While the study found pension spending generally benefited all Canadians, one interesting aspect was that rural businesses seemed to derive more positive gain from local public sector pensioners.

Dobson says part of the reason for this may be the current trend towards a migration from expensive city living to more affordable smaller centres. “The housing is more affordable in smaller cities and towns,” he says. “We also found that those living in smaller towns tend to spend more locally than those in cities – so that is part of the reason the economic benefits of pensioners had a 6.5 per cent bump” in rural areas when compared to urban centres.

Given the “win win” nature of having a good pension plan – the retired member gets the steady, predictable income, while the economy benefits from it being spent – we asked Derek Dobson if there should be wider availability of good pension plans for those who lack them.

CAAT’s own DBplus pension plan, a program that offers a strong, secure lifetime pension program, has grown in just two years to include 200 participating employers. “We are trying to remove barriers to access to good pensions,” Dobson explains.

A good pension, he explains, has the added benefit of helping employers attract and retain good employees. It delivers twice the retirement benefits per dollar saved than investing independently in Group RRSPs, and helps employees reach their retirement goals faster with employer-matched contributions. Dobson says it is a shame to see well-trained healthcare workers and engineers leave the country for jobs elsewhere – a good pension program can keep them here in Canada.

Another advantage for employers is that if a pension plan is offered by a third party rather than being administered and funded by the employer, it’s a time, risk and funding relief for the employer. “No Chief Financial Officer in the private sector wants to see pension liabilities on their balance sheet,” he explains. With DBplus, the employer’s pension cost is a fixed amount.

“Many studies have shown that year after year, more and more Canadian workers are willing to forego more pay in order to get a better pension,” he says.

The only three organizations he currently sees as trying to bring pension coverage to underserved sectors are CAAT, through its DBplus program, the OPSEU Pension Trust, through its similar OPTrust Select plan, and the Saskatchewan Pension Plan through its voluntary, open defined contribution program.

Dobson concludes by saying that Canada has become known around the world for the efficiency of its pension system, the “Maple Model” of pension plan that feature pooling, low administration costs, expert investing, and joint governance where members and employers have an equal say in how the systems are run.

“Public service pension plans are an amazing and unique asset for Canada. So the more people that can be brought in, the better – pensions really help workers, retirees, their families and the economy.”

We thank Derek Dobson for taking the time to speak with us.

Did you know that the Saskatchewan Pension Plan has, according to its 2020 Annual Report, has more than $528 million in assets and 32,613 members? This growing open defined contribution plan is designed specifically for those without a workplace pension – a made-in-Saskatchewan solution to the problem of retirement saving for individuals and businesses. Check them out today.

Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.