Mar 7: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE
March 7, 2022
Is inflation causing Canadians to fear they aren’t saving enough for retirement?
Writing for the Canadian Press, via Canoe, Christopher Reynolds notes that inflation is causing the price of almost everything to go up – including retirement.
Citing recent research from the Bank of Montreal, Reynolds notes that “Canadians are losing confidence they’ll have enough cash to retire as planned,” with fewer than half believing they can hit their savings target.
That’s because inflation is boosting the value of that theoretical retirement piggy bank, he writes. “The average sum (Canadians) anticipate needing has increased 12 per cent since 2020 to $1.6 million,” he writes.
Last year, he continues, 54 per cent of those surveyed felt they would reach their savings targets; the most recent research shows that number has dropped to 44 per cent.
“Inflation,” states Robert Armstrong of BMO Global Asset Management in the article, “is starting to impact their views on how much they need to save for retirement.”
The price of housing, the article continues, is “another source of angst,” with the average home price in Canada rising to a record $748,450 in January. That’s a year over year jump of 21 per cent, the article notes.
Those who don’t own their own homes not only face higher rents, but don’t have the “automatic nest egg” associated with being able to sell one’s principal residence without paying capital gains taxes, the article notes.
Another problem retirement savers face is the shortage of good workplace pension plans, Reynolds writes. Only about 25 per cent of Canadians are covered by defined benefit pension plans, which provide a guaranteed monthly lifetime income. Just seven per cent enjoy being members of defined contribution plans (like the Saskatchewan Pension Plan), where future payouts depend on how much is saved and invested.
Those numbers, the article continues, are “still far below those of the ‘70s, ‘80s and early ‘90s when the rates were consistently above 40 per cent.” That information, Reynold adds, comes from Statistics Canada.
Jules Boudreau of Mackenzie Investments tells the Canadian Press that these factors – inflation, high housing prices, and a general decline in workplace pension plan coverage – put a lot of pressure on younger retirement savers.
“The personal retirement portfolio of a young worker is much more critical, because their retirement hinges entirely on it — and that can create more anxiety, more uncertainty,” Boudreau states in the article. As well, the article concludes, many younger people are not focusing on long-term retirement savings, such as registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), but on “short term” things like getting a home, furnishing it, and starting a family.
While the average RRSP balance in Canada as of 2020 was $101,155 – a figure that is growing – the Motley Fool blog says that seemingly high amount will only generate about $3,500 of income per year. And it’s far short of the $1.6 million target mentioned by Reynolds in his article.
If you are part of the majority of working Canadians who lack a pension or retirement program at work, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan may be just what you’ve been looking for. The SPP is a do-it-yourself, end-to-end defined contribution pension plan. You can contribute up to $7,000 every year, and SPP will invest your contributions in a low-cost, professionally managed pooled fund. When it’s time to unshackle yourself from the rat race, SPP has a number of options for turning those savings into income. Make SPP part of your personal retirement program today!
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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.