Mar 14: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

March 14, 2022

Few Canadians “defer” their Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security to a later start date

Writing in the Globe and Mail, Patrick Brethour reports that “only a tiny fraction” of Canadians are deferring public retirement benefits like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), “a decision that could cost each of them tens of thousands of dollars in foregone payments.”

You can collect CPP as early as age 60, but can defer receiving it until age 70, he explains. While CPP benefits are reduced if you start collecting them while you are age 60 to 64, “CPP benefits increase by 0.7 per cent for each month of deferral past age 65, hitting a maximum increase of 42 per cent at age 70.”

You can also defer your Old Age Security (OAS) payments, he notes.

“Deferring the OAS is slightly less lucrative, with those payments rising by 0.6 per cent for each month of deferral, to a maximum of 36 per cent at age 70. A person who was eligible for the maximum regular payments under CPP and OAS and who opted for a full five years of deferral would receive an additional $10,168 a year excluding clawbacks, based on current rates,” he writes.

Citing data from Employment and Social Development Canada, the Globe report notes that 62 per cent of us start our CPP while age 60 to 64. Twenty-seven per cent start it at age 65. Seven per cent start it while age 66 to 69, and just four per cent start it at 70.

For OAS, “the picture is even more lopsided,” as almost no Canadians defer their payments – 93.6 per cent of us start it at 65.

So why aren’t more people deferring until age 70 (and getting up to $10K more per year), as experts like Dr. Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald have urged?

The article cites several reasons for not waiting – many “can’t afford the delay,” and start receiving benefits as soon as they can. For poorer Canadians who lack other retirement savings, the federal payments are “a lifeline,” the article notes, adding that senior poverty rates for Canadians “fall as they enter their 60s” due to receiving CPP and OAS.

Next, if you don’t expect a long life, deferring the benefits is a poor idea. Save with SPP has had relatives and friends who passed away before even reaching age 70.

Finally, those of us still working as we hit age 65 tend to opt to receive CPP, because if we don’t, we still have to pay into it without getting any additional benefit from it.

Save with SPP’s circle of friends and family is split on this issue. Those without workplace pensions took CPP as soon as it started. Some who did have a pension started it at 60, asking “why leave money on the table?” Others with workplace pensions that have a “bridge” benefit (which ends at 65) have long planned to start CPP and OAS when the bridge benefit ends. We have one friend who started CPP at 60 and is now about to turn 67 and is still working (and still paying into CPP). We have one relative who plans to take her CPP at 70 to max out the benefit, even though she is not working steadily at the moment.

It would seem it’s a personal choice for most people, based on their unique financial circumstances. The one important takeaway here is simply to know that you do have the option to get a bigger payment if you choose to start it later.

The Saskatchewan Pension Plan allows you to collect your benefits at any time you choose between age 55 and 71. The SPP’s Retirement Guide provides full details on your options for your SPP account when it comes time to retire, including SPP’s range of lifetime annuities. And you don’t have to stop working (as is the case with most company pension plans) to start collecting SPP! Be sure to check out SPP 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.

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1 thought on “Mar 14: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

  1. I am 68 and still working. Because I am self employed and was paying both the employer and the employee side of CPP contributions, I elected to begin receiving it at age 60. Since I am earning an income that would claw back my OAS, I have deferred it and will only elect to start receiving it when my income from work has ceased. These choices were based on advice from my accountant who crunched the numbers. Two lessons in this. One is that the two pensions may be best dealt with independently. The other is the importance of getting proper advice about which way to go. Getting decisions like this wrong can be expensive.

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