Jan 2: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE
January 2, 2023
CPP benefit seen as modest in an environment where many lack workplace pensions
Writing in The Globe and Mail, David Lawrence provides a reality check for those of us thinking federal retirement benefits will cover our retirement costs.
He notes that the maximum benefit available from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for a new recipient in 2022 is $1,253.59 per month. But worse, not everyone gets the maximum — Lawrence writes that the average CPP payment this year is a mere $727.61 per month.
The traditional “three pillars” of Canadian retirement, he writes, are changing. While government pensions like CPP and Old Age Security (OAS) provide one pillar, and personal savings another, the third is pensions, which Lawrence says are not generally accessible to those who are self-employed or working on contract.
In fact, many people just don’t have a workplace pension, the article notes.
“While it used to be that clients were maybe worried that their pension wasn’t going to be enough, over the past 15 years we’ve encountered more clients who simply don’t have a pension [through their employer],” Tom Gilman, senior wealth advisor and senior portfolio manager with Gilman Deters Private Wealth at Harbourfront Wealth Management Inc. in Vancouver, tells the Globe.
Those who do have a pension are “more confident” about their retirement cost of living than those without, Gilman states in the article.
He also tells the Globe that your personal “income tax profile” should help you decide whether a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) is a better retirement savings vehicle for you than the usual alternative, the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). Some people need the tax deductions associated with an RRSP more than others, the article explains.
Those who are going to live off their investments need to think about how best to structure their portfolio, states Laura Barclay of TD Wealth Private Investment Counsel in Markham, Ont., in the Globe article.
“For her, the holdings that best mimic a pension plan with stable, long-term payments are high-quality, blue-chip dividend-paying stocks,” the article notes.
Barclay tells the Globe she advises her clients to look for “high-quality companies… with growing earnings,” and that also pay dividends. Diversification is also important, she states in the article.
Harp Sandhu, financial advisor with the Sandhu Advisory Group at Raymond James Ltd. in Victoria, tells the Globe he takes a “tortoise” approach with his own retirement investments — “slow and steady wins the race,” the article notes.
If you are starting to save for retirement while older, don’t pick risky investments with high returns in the short term to try and catch up, Sandhu tells the Globe. Things can go wrong with such investment choices, he tells the newspaper.
If you ever have an opportunity to join a pension plan or retirement savings arrangement through work, be sure to join, and contribute as much as you can. When retirement savings is a deduction from your paycheque, you’ll quickly forget about it and will be happy, when you retire, that you’re getting more than just standard government retirement benefits.
If there isn’t any retirement program available for you, perhaps because you work on a casual or contract basis, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan may be of interest. Any Canadian with available RRSP room can join. If you have bits of pieces saved in multiple RRSPs, you are allowed to consolidate them within the SPP — you can transfer in up to $10,000 per year. Check out SPP today — it may be the retirement solution you’ve been searching for!
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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.