January 8, 2024

The strategy that almost no one tries – starting CPP later to get a higher payment

We frequently read that folks aren’t saving enough for retirement, for a variety of reasons. There aren’t as many workplace pension arrangements out there anymore, and inflation and debt, both at decades-high levels, make it difficult to save.

There is a way to dramatically increase your retirement income, writes Noella Ovid in the Financial Post, and it’s a strategy that very few of us try – starting our Canada Pension Plan (CPP) later, at age 70.

“You can start CPP as early as age 60 or as late as 70, but the longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be since it will cover fewer years,” states Jason Heath of Objective Financial Partners Inc. in the Post article.

“Generally speaking, if you live well into your 80s, you can come out ahead by deferring your CPP to age 70. The problem? Nobody does it,” Heath tells the Post.

Even though waiting gives you a significantly larger benefit, only five per cent of Canadians do, the article reports.

And there are other ways to boost retirement income, the article continues.

“The most successful retirees Heath has seen are those who have transitioned to retirement through part-time, consulting or volunteer work, avoiding the extreme change from a 40 to 50-hour work week,” the article notes.

“The earlier you start to plan retirement, not only from a financial perspective, but from a lifestyle perspective, can be really rewarding and improve the transition,” Heath states in the article. “In a perfect world, it’s planned, it’s slow, it’s steady.”

He does acknowledge that life can get in the way of a good retirement plan – corporate decisions, health setbacks and other unexpected events can derail the best of plans, the article notes.

Another idea for stretching your retirement dollars is to move somewhere that, ideally, has better weather and cheaper living costs.

“Expat destinations for retirement are an option for Canadians trying to save money on the cost of living. Heath tells the Post there’s opportunity in countries such as Panama, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Mexico which are trying to attract retirees from other countries. Some of the benefits include lower real estate prices, food costs and easier travel to exotic locations,” the article reports.

Now that we’re seniors in our mid-60s, the topic of start CPP comes up frequently. We do know of friends who waited until age 65 to start CPP, since their workplace pension plan had early retirement benefits that dropped off at that age. We know folks who started CPP at 60 while working full time, and are continuing to pay into it. Some of them banked the CPP, others needed it for day-to-day costs.

So, think carefully, look at your expected post-retirement income and expenses from all sources, and consider the pros and cons of taking CPP early or late. It wouldn’t hurt to get professional advice on the topic.

If you are an SPP member, you have a little more flexibility in age ranges. You can begin to collect your retirement benefits as early as age 55, and “no later than December of the year in which you turn age 71.” For full details, have a look at SPP’s Pension Guide.

Among your retirement income choices are one of several SPP annuities – all of which pay you a monthly income for life – and, new for all members, the Variable Benefit. Check out SPP today!

Join the Wealthcare Revolution – follow SPP on Facebook!

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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