Canada Pension Plan

What to do when the cost of everything is going up

June 16, 2022

By now, any of us who drive a gas-powered vehicle are experts in what inflation means. It’s when something that cost $60 in the winter costs $100 five months later.

Are there any tactics we can employ to help spending our hard-earned/hard-saved dollars more effectively during this crazy period of runaway prices? Save with SPP took a look around to see.

An article from Global News discusses the plight of mostly retired Mike and Marylou Cyr of Campbell River, B.C.

They are, the article notes, living on a fixed income consisting of workplace pensions and government benefits (the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security), Mike is still working a little. The couple looked first at reducing the costs of their insurance premiums, and switching to a cheaper telecom plan, the network reports.

With gas prices jumping $50 a tankful, the couple is now planning to sell off one of their vehicles and sharing the other, Global tells us. The other big jump for their spending is food, which has gone up more than $100 a month already, the article reports.  “I am very concerned with the inflation, the rising food costs, as well as the rising gas costs. I think those are two main things,” states Marylou Cyr in the article.

So to fight that, the Cyrs are growing their own veggies and have four laying hens to supply their own eggs, the article says.  “Maybe I’ll start canning again like our parents and grandparents did and store everything for the winter,” she tells Global. “If I could get a cow in the yard, I might do that, but I can’t.”

OK – trim insurance, telecom, go to one car, and grow your own food. Run some cattle if you can. What else can a person do?

According to CTV News, there are other ways to save on food. The network says folks are trying to buy grocery items that are on sale, buying items you use regularly in bulk, and targeting the groceries you use up rather than those you often throw out are good approaches.

Another way to save is through pooling costs, states University of Saskatchewan associate professor Stuart Smyth in the CTV report. “For example, (if) you’re buying 20 pounds of meat, but you’re splitting that up between three to four households, you’re saving some money that way,” he tells CTV. He underlines the importance of being a little more selective in shopping – target items that you tend to fully consume, rather than those you wind up throwing out. (An example in the Save with SPP home is yogurt; we always buy some because it is supposed to be good for us, and then almost never eat any before it expires.)

In addition to gas and food, other categories of consumer goods have been affected mightily by inflation, reports the Globe and Mail.

Meat is up 10.5 per cent versus 2021, and surprisingly, meat alternatives “like faux burger patties or plant-based ‘chicken’ nuggets” are 38 per cent more expensive than meat, the Globe notes.

Household appliances are up 23 per cent over the last two years, the article continues, and buying a typical soup and sandwich lunch “costs nearly $18 on average, up 24 per cent.” Other items that are particularly impacted by inflation include the cost of new homes and of housing in general.

We can’t fully protect ourselves from inflation. Following some of the steps outlined in these reports will at least help trim your spending.

Tips from Save with SPP’s own experience include shopping for clothes at consignment stores – you always pay less than at retail stores – and trying to brown bag lunch rather than having that $18 soup and sandwich. Friends like making fun of our $4 sand wedge from Value Village, but it gets us out of the bunkers right enough. All of these steps can help you save a few dollars, perhaps even enough to put away for retirement.

It’s interesting to read associate professor Smyth’s description of pooling purchases of meat. The same concept of “pooling” is a key way that the Saskatchewan Pension Plan reduces investment costs for its members. If you buy a stock on your own, there’s a fee for buying it and later, a fee for selling it. There might also have been annual fees to maintain your account. With SPP, you pool your savings with those of others in one big fund. That lowers the management costs to less than one per cent. It’s a great way to save on the cost of investment management, and SPP has an outstanding track record of steady investment returns. Check out SPP – available to all Canadians with RRSP room – 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.


May 16: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

May 16, 2022

End RRIF mandatory withdrawals, RRSP end dates, and create national RRSP: Pape

Well-known financial author Gordon Pape has been observing the Canadian investment and retirement savings system for many decades, and has come up with a four-point plan to make retirement more effective for Canada’s greying population.

Writing in the Globe and Mail, Pape observes that there are now seven million Canadians aged 65 and over.

“This has the makings of a massive demographic crisis,” he writes. “Where are the future workers going to come from? Who is going to support our rapidly aging population? What will happen to the tax base as people leave the work force and reduce their spending?”

He then suggests that one way to address the problem would be to encourage more Canadians to work past age 65, a plan that would “require a massive overhaul of our retirement system,” but that is “doable.”

As a starting point, he notes that the trend towards more working at home, born from our experiences with the pandemic, may be a good “carrot” for encouraging older Canadians to keep working. Working from home is preferable for most, he says.

But other carrots are needed as well, he writes.

Eliminate mandatory RRIF withdrawals: Currently, he writes, registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) must be “wound up by Dec. 31 of the year in which you turn 71,” and are then mostly converted into registered retirement income funds (RRIFs). With RRIFs, he explains, you are required to withdraw a minimum amount annually, an amount that grows until you are 94 and must withdraw 20 per cent of the RRIF.

“RRIF withdrawals are a huge disincentive to work after age 71. Added to regular income, the extra RRIF money can quickly push you into a high tax bracket,” Pape writes.

“The solution is legislation to end mandatory withdrawals entirely. Let the individual decide when it’s time to tap into retirement savings and how much is needed. The government will still get its tax revenue. It will just be delayed a few years,” he posits.

End RRSP wind up at 71: A second “carrot,” he writes, would be to change the age that RRSPs must be closed, currently age 71. Why, asks Pape?

“RRSP contributions are tax deductible. Making RRSPs open-ended would therefore create an incentive to continue saving in later years, when people may have more disposable income (no mortgage, kids moved out). That would result in more personal savings, which should result in fewer people requiring government support in later years,” he writes.

Create a national RRSP: Pape proposes that a national RRSP – to be run by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board – be created. “It would provide Canadians with first-rate management expertise, at minimal cost,” Pape writes.

This idea is needed, Pape says, because many people don’t know how to invest in their RRSPs and lack the advice they need to do so.

Allow CPP and OAS to be deferred longer: His final idea would be to allow people to start their Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security later than the current latest age, 70. Again, this is to accommodate folks who want to work longer and don’t need the money as “early” as 70.

These ideas all make a lot of sense if the goal is to help people working longer. The idea of being able to withdraw RRIF funds as needed rather than based on a government mandatory withdrawal table is sensible. After all, who wants to withdraw money – effectively selling low – when markets are down? And if one is working into one’s 70s, why take away the effective tax reduction lever of RRSP contributions?

Let’s hope policy makers listen to some of Pape’s ideas. Gordon Pape spoke to Save with SPP a while ago, and he knows his stuff. He also spoke with our friend Sheryl Smolkin in an earlier Save with SPP column.

If you don’t have a workplace pension plan, investing on your own for retirement can be quite daunting, especially in times like these where interest rates are rising and markets are falling. Fortunately, there is a way to have your money professionally invested at a low cost by money managers who know their way around topsy-turvy conditions – the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. You’ll get professional investing at a low cost, and over time, your precious retirement nest egg will grow and be converted to an income stream when the bonds of work are cut off for good. Check them out 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.


May 9: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

May 9, 2022

Canada’s workforce greys as boomers hit the road to retirement

The Canadian workforce is “older than it has ever been,” reports the CBC, citing information from the latest national census.

“More than one in five working adults is now nearing retirement, says Statistics Canada — a demographic shift that will create significant challenges for the Canadian workforce in the coming decade,” reports the network.

There are more people aged 55 to 64 in the workforce than those aged 15 to 24 entering it, the article notes.

And that’s a big change.

“In 1966, there were 200 people aged 15 to 24 for every 100 Canadians aged 55 to 64, but that has now been flipped on its head. In 2021, there were only 81 people aged 15 to 24 for every 100 Canadians in the 55 to 64 age group,” the CBC report continues.

Boomers, the report explains, began retiring around 2011. The fact that so many of us are boomers – retiring ones at that – is “the single most important driver of Canada’s aging population trend,” the CBC notes.

It’s expected that the number of folks aged 85 and over will triple by 2051, with one quarter of the population being over 65 by that date.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, Canada’s fertility rate hit an “an all-time low of 1.4 children per woman,” the CBC report adds, citing Statistics Canada data. There are six million young people under 15 in the country compared to seven million of us who are 65 and older.

This greying trend raises a number of concerns.

First, the article says, the traditional “transfer of knowledge” from older workers to younger ones won’t be easy to achieve if there is a shortfall of young folks entering the workforce.

Next – a question not posed in the article – we have to wonder if this grey wave of retirees will have sufficient retirement savings. The Canada Pension Plan, for example, uses CPP contributions from working Canadians to help pay the pensions of retirees, so a change in the ratio of working to retired Canadians could have consequences on that program. (The CPP Investment Board has set aside a massive contingency fund to deal with this exact problem, so that’s reassuring.)

Third, a point raised in the CBC video that links to the article, is the cost to society of looking after all those older folks, particularly as they hit their 80s and beyond. We may see a need for more long-term care spaces or a more determined effort to boost homecare – and both things will carry a future cost.

Younger folks may find that better jobs become more widely available, which is a silver lining to the issue.

Retirement can last many decades and carries a hefty price tag. If you have access to a workplace pension plan or retirement program, be sure you are signed up and contributing the most that you can. If you don’t have a workplace program, the saving responsibility is on your shoulders. Joining the Saskatchewan Pension Plan is a great option. Let the experts at SPP navigate the tricky waters of investment; they’ll grow your nest egg and when the day comes that work is an afterthought, SPP can turn your savings into steady retirement income. 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.


Your Retirement Income Blueprint – a “do it properly, do it better” resource

March 31, 2022

From the get-go, where author Daryl Diamond describes his book as being a “do it properly” or “do it better” book on retirement income planning, rather than a “do it yourself” volume, a wonderfully written tome filled with valuable insights begins.

Your Retirement Income Blueprint makes great strides in explaining that retirement is not really “the back nine” of life. Retirement, he explains, is “not simply a continuation of the same thing (pre-retirement)… the playing field changes because there are such substantial differences between the planning approaches, investment strategies, risk-management issues and sheer dynamics of these two phases in someone’s life.”

There’s a lot to cover in a short review, so let’s look at some of Diamond’s retirement income gems.

Early on, Diamond explains the importance of having “a formal income plan, or blueprint, to show what your assets can realistically be expected to provide in terms of sustainable cash flow.” In other words, do you have enough income, from all sources, for an adequate retirement? Retiring without sufficient income, he warns, “can be a very unfortunate decision.”

On debt in retirement, he notes “ideally, you want to be debt free at the time you actually retire,” because otherwise, “you will have to dedicate income toward servicing the debt. And that is cash flow that could be used to enhance your lifestyle in other ways.”

Another great point, and this was one that Save with SPP personally used when planning retirement, is the idea of making a “net to net” comparison of your pre-retirement income versus post-retirement.

“That difference between your gross employment income and gross retirement income may appear quite significant, however, some analysis of your earnings statement may narrow this disparity. Compare what you are bringing home on a net basis with what your net income will be in retirement. You may find the difference in net pay is not as significant as you thought.”

The book provides a chart showing gross employment income being 33 per cent greater than retirement income – but only about 12 per cent different on a net basis, because the retiree isn’t paying into Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), a company pension or company benefits.

Diamond points out that the investment principles for retirement saving differ from the retirement income, or “using your nest egg” years.

“When people begin to draw income from their portfolios, their focus changes from ‘rate of return’ to ‘risk management,’” he writes. “Capital preservation becomes the number one issue, because with capital preservation, you also have sustainable income,” he adds. The goal is longevity of your income – meaning, not running out of money.  

Diamond sees annuities as a way to ensure you don’t run out of retirement income. The book shows how your CPP, OAS and company pension – along with an annuity purchased with some of your retirement savings – can create a guaranteed lifetime monthly amount for your core, basic expenses. The rest of your income can be used for discretionary, fun expenses, he explains.

Diamond isn’t opposed to the idea of taking one’s Canada Pension Plan benefits early. He advises us all to “assess whether or not there is merit to do so in your own situation.” He makes the point that while many of us live long lives, some of us don’t, so deferring a pension carries a risk.

He sees the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) as becoming “one of the great tools at our disposal. I look for ways to help retirees fund their TFSA accounts to the maximum, whether that be through taking CPP early, withdrawing additional amounts out of registered accounts or even moving other non-registered holdings systematically into them.”

He suggests that using one’s registered retirement savings early in retirement may be preferable to deferring them until the bitter end at 71. “Deferring all of your registered assets can create real tax problems in the future and could eliminate main credits and entitlements that you would otherwise have been receiving,” he explains.

Near the end of this excellent book, Diamond alerts retirees to what he calls the “three headwinds” that can “be a drag on” any retirement income solution – taxation, inflation, and fees. Attention should be paid to all three factors when designing a retirement income solution, he writes.

When you retire, Diamond concludes, it’s when “your ticket gets punched… and baby, you had better enjoy the ride.” The three commodities that will support a great retirement are your state of health, your longevity and “your income-producing assets and benefits.” Only the last commodity is one that you can fully control, he says.

This is a great book and highly recommended for those thinking about retirement.

Do you have a handful of different registered savings vehicles? Consolidating them in one place can be more efficient than drawing income from several sources. The Saskatchewan Pension Plan allows you to transfer in up to $10,000 per year from other registered vehicles. Those funds will be invested, and when you retire, your income choices include SPP’s family of annuities. 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.


Mar 28: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

March 28, 2022

What the return of inflation will look like for wages, debt and savings

Writing in the Financial Post, noted financial writer Jason Heath takes a look at what the return of inflation will mean for us.

He reports that in February, the consumer price index (CPI) jumped by 5.7 per cent, which “is the biggest increase since August 1991, when inflation was six per cent.”

Since that long-ago peak, he writes, inflation has fallen to much lower levels. Over the last 30 years, it has averaged 1.9 per cent, Heath explains. And, he adds, the Bank of Canada over the intervening years has put policies in place, as required, to keep the brakes on inflation.

Managing inflation through central bank policy is a lot like turning around an ocean liner – you have to make small adjustments over a long time frame. For interest rates, corrective action takes place “typically within a horizon of six to eight quarters,” or a year and a half to two years, he writes.

Despite that effort, our old friend is back, and not just here in Canada. Inflation rates are at 7.9 per cent in the U.S., 6.1 per cent in India, and at 5.9 per cent in the “Eurozone,” he writes.

He then takes a look at its likely impacts.

Higher wages: First, he writes, employers need to look at wage increases. Hourly wages have increased by just 1.8 per cent since 2020. “If inflation remains persistently high, workers whose earnings cannot keep up with the rate of inflation are effectively getting a pay cut,” he notes. They’ll need more wages to pay for the higher price of goods and services, he explains.

Higher interest on debt: If you are carrying a lot of debt, higher interest rates will cut into your cash flow, he writes.

“That cash flow decrease may not be immediate but many mortgage borrowers will see their amortization period increase as more of their monthly payments go to interest and their debt-free date is delayed. This is an important consideration for young homebuyers if they are going to balance their home ownership goals with other priorities like retirement,” he writes.

Even an increase of two per cent in borrowing rates, Heath explains, could add 13 years to your mortgage if you don’t change your monthly payment amount.

Inflation protection for retirees: Heath points out that government pensions – the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security – are indexed, and are increased annually based on the rate of inflation. This, he says, is a “powerful” hedge against inflation.

Interest rates are a consideration for those living on savings. If interest rates on your investments don’t keep up with inflation, it will take less time for your portfolio to decline to zero. But if interest rates are higher than inflation, you may still have tens of thousands of dollars in savings 25 or 30 years after you start drawing down your savings.

“In the short run, higher inflation is concerning and can lead to uncertainty. The Bank of Canada is likely to continue to increase interest rates to counter the higher cost of living. There is a risk the rate increases have taken too long to start or may now happen more quickly than expected, and that may have implications for savers, retirees, the economy, and the stock market,” he concludes.

Save with SPP was a youngish reporter in 1991, and remembers that the guaranteed investment certificate (GIC) was still a big tool in one’s investment portfolio in those days, as was the Canada Savings Bond. While interest on such products had been double digit a decade earlier, it was still nice to get five or six per cent interest each year without having to invest in riskier stocks or equity mutual funds.

And while it is exciting to imagine our wages going up by five per cent or more, it is rendered less exciting when the cost of everything is also going up. It was strange, on our recent trip to Whitby to see our new grandbaby, to be “excited” to find gas at the pump for under $1.70 per litre.

What’s a retirement saver to do? If you are following a balanced approach, with exposure to multiple asset classes, you should fare pretty well in a challenging investment environment. An example of that is the Saskatchewan Pension Plan’s Balanced Fund. It has eight distinct and different investment categories in which to place your savings “eggs,” including Canadian, U.S. and Non-North American Equity, Bonds, Mortgages, Real Estate, Short-Term Investments and Infrastructure. If one category is having challenges, it is quite likely that others are performing well – that’s the advantage of a balanced approach. 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.


Mar 21: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

March 21, 2022

How much is “enough” when setting an early retirement savings target?

Writing for the GoBankingRates blog, John Csiszar takes a crack at a challenging topic – how much is “enough” when setting your retirement savings goals, particularly if you want to retire early?

“While the fantasy of early retirement sounds great, the reality can be difficult to achieve. If you retire early, you’ll need much more than a standard retirement nest egg to fund the extra years that you will be retired and not working,” he writes.

Drum roll, here – Csiszar next tells us that since a “standard” retirement nest egg should contain one million eggs (all eggs are U.S. denominated in his article), then an early retirement nest egg should cost “$2 million or more, to fund a long, early retirement.”

He then does the math. For those wanting to retire at age 40, they need to first understand that their retirement (according to Internal Revenue Service stats for the U.S.) could last around 45.7 years.

In order to have a “modest” $40,000 income for life starting at 40, you would need to save $1.84 million once you hang up the name tag for the last time.

To get that $1.84 million, he adds, you would need to start saving $92,000 a year beginning at age 20. And even if you could manage that feat, Csiszar adds, you would need to have average investment returns of seven to 10 per cent annually.

Well, OK. What about early retirement at 50?

Csiszar does the math on that idea, with the same goal of having $40,000 in income annually. Americans aged 50 at retirement can expect 36.2 more years of life, so you’ll “only” need $1.448 million in savings. And you’ll need to save $88,266 annually from age 30 to 50 to get the job done.

These are scary numbers, but let’s not overlook the fact that most Canadians will get a Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefit at retirement, and may also qualify for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (the latter is for lower-income retirees). These don’t start at age 40 or 50, of course, but you can get CPP at 60 and OAS at 65.

The average CPP payout in Canada, according to our friend Jim Yih at the Retire Happy blog, is $645 per month. That’s $7,740 per year. If you were to retire at age 65, and live for 20 years, the CPP (assuming you got the average rate cited here) would provide you $154,800, and that’s not including the inflation increases you would receive each year.

The Motley Fool blog tells us that the average OAS payment in Canada is $613.53, or $7,362.36 per year. If you were to start collecting OAS at 65, and received this average amount for 20 years, you would have received $147,247.20. Again, that figure doesn’t include inflation increases.

These are estimates based on average payouts; what you will actually get depends on your own earnings and employment history. But the point is, these two federal programs can provide a significant chunk of your nest egg – you are not completely on your own in your savings program.

We can save on our own in registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), and another The Motley Fool blog post shows that the average RRSP balance in the country is $101,555.

Saving a million bucks sounds impossible, but maybe, it’s not as big a mountain as it appears.

Those with company pensions as well as RRSPs, tax free savings accounts, and other savings, can get closer to the target. The value of your home can be a savings factor if you decide to sell and downsize for your golden years.

If you do have a company pension plan, be sure to contribute to the max.

With a committed approach to saving, and assuming you can get decent investment returns with low fees, we can all get a little closer to that “standard” savings level. For those without a company pension plan, consider the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, which currently allows you to save $7,000 annually toward retirement (you can also transfer in up to $10,000 a year from other RRSPs). The SPP has a stellar investing track record – the average rate of return has been eight per cent since the plan’s inception in 1986. And while past rates of return don’t guarantee future rates, the SPP has been helping people build their retirement security for 36 years. 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.


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.

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.


Feb 21: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

February 21, 2022

Retirement savings is just a key first step in the process: IG Wealth

No one applauds retirement savings of any sort more than Save with SPP, but new research from IG Wealth suggests most of us don’t think about the many other steps in the retirement process.

The research is covered in a recent article in Wealth Professional.

The article points out that two-thirds of Canadians over 18 have registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), and “57 per cent plan to invest in theirs” before the 2022 deadline.

As well, the average amount in our RRSP kitties is around $13,000, the article reports. All good, right?

But, the article asks, have many of us thought about the other issues retirement presents?

“Investing for retirement is just one piece of the overall retirement readiness puzzle,” IG Wealth’s Damon Murchison tells Wealth Professional. “It’s important to be thinking about retirement planning in a more holistic manner, and as a key component of an overall financial plan.”

So what are we not sure about, retirement-wise?

First, the article reports, the survey found that only 21 per cent “understand taxation of retirement income.” Those of us who are no longer working for the old company know all about this – the easy days of having the payroll department deduct enough from your pay so that you always got a tax refund are over. It’s trickier to figure things out when you are getting income from multiple sources.

Next, we are informed, only around 21 per cent have thought about their insurance needs. Once the office is far off in your rearview mirror, you may not have any drug, dental or vision coverage. Have you factored in the cost of getting this on your own, or checked out to see what your province or territory may be able to help you with?

Only 19 per cent have thought about estate planning, only 18 per cent have thought about their budgets, the article notes.

Save with SPP has had several friends who passed away suddenly, and without making a will. Without getting into this complex topic, let’s just say a will helps ensure your stuff goes to who you want it to go to. Without one, the process is slower, costly and complex, and at best is a guess by someone else of what you ought to have wanted.

A budget is highly recommended. And it doesn’t have to be a mega-detailed spreadsheet. As a former colleague of ours once explained in a masterful one-page financial planning document, it’s just knowing how much of your money needs to go to expenses, and how much is left to spend or save. When you’re retired, your expenses will probably be less, but so will your income, so the clearer the idea you have about your total retirement income, the better off you will be.

If you’re a member of the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, one way to be certain about your SPP income is to consider transferring some or all of your savings into an SPP annuity.

An annuity delivers you the same monthly payment for the rest of your life. The Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security also give you a predictable monthly income. That income certainty will make budgeting and tax planning a whole lot less painful.

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.


Nov 8: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

November 8, 2021

More than three quarters of older Canadians fretting about retirement finances: NIA

Is retirement a concern for Canadians – especially those aged 55 to 69 who are approaching or have begun their “golden years?”

New research from the National Institute on Ageing at Toronto’s Ryerson University, reported on by CTV News, suggests that a significant majority of older folks are indeed quite worried.

According to the CTV report, the research found that “77 per cent of Canadians within the 55-69 age demographic are worried about their financial health.” As well, CTV notes, “79 per cent of respondents aged 55 and older revealed that their retirement income – through RRSPs, pension plans and Old Age Security – will not be enough for a comfortable retirement.”

The NIA research found that people were worried about the cost of long-term care in the latter part of their retired life.

While 44 per cent say the plan is to “age at home,” the data suggests that many don’t realize how expensive long-term care at a facility would be.

“Nearly half of respondents aged 45 and older believe that in-home care for themselves or a loved one would cost about $1,100 per month, while 37 per cent think it would cost about $2,000 per month,” CTV reports.

“In reality, it actually costs about $3,000 per month to provide in-home care comparable to a long-term care facility, according to Ontario’s Ministry of Health,” the broadcaster explains.

It’s essential that Canadians know the true costs of long-term care as they plan for the future, says Dr. Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald of the NIA.

“Canadians retiring today are likely going to face longer and more expensive retirements than their parents – solving this disconnect will need better planning by people and innovation from industry and government,” she tells CTV.

Dr. MacDonald suggests one step we can take early in retirement to help us fund unexpected care costs later is deferring our Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan payments until age 70.

Dr. MacDonald spoke to Save with SPP on this topic in detail earlier this year.

“Someone receiving $1,000 per month at age 60 would receive $2,218.75 per month if they wait until age 70 to begin collecting,” the article notes. Another source of income for long-term care costs could be the equity in your home, the article concludes.

Save with SPP has gone through this, with both our parents having had to receive the help of a long-term care facility to battle health issues in their latter years. Fortunately our parents had always been savers, and their retirement income was sufficient to handle these unexpected costs. Will yours?

If there’s a retirement savings program available at your workplace, consider joining it and contributing at the maximum possible level. If your employer doesn’t offer a program, refer the boss to the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. They can help set up a retirement program at businesses large and small. Check out SPP, marking 35 years of delivering retirement security, 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.


Oct 18: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

October 18, 2021

Retirees and savers take note – inflation appears to be on the rise

An article in Castanet from Kelowna, B.C., warns us all that inflation appears to be making a comeback.

The article begins by noting that inflation is at its “highest level in 18 years,” and that continued high levels of spending by government could drive it even higher.

Inflation, the article explains, “is the general increase in prices and the fall of the purchasing power of a dollar. Put another way, it refers to the cost of putting gas in your car or buying groceries increasing.”

While no one can exactly predict how and when inflation will increase, your retirement plan should be prepared for action, Castanet reports.

Even modest-sounding inflation of three per cent “can cut the purchasing power of your money in half over a 20-year period,” the article notes. This is especially concerning if your income sources are not “indexed,” which means inflation-protected, or if your income sources are not growing, the article adds.

One good thing to be aware of, the article states, is that your government retirement income is inflation protected. So sources of income like the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security will be adjusted upwards if inflation is running higher.

If you have a pension plan at work, it may offer inflation protection – find out, and select this option if such a selection is required, Castanet advises.

If you are investing for retirement, the article advises a balanced approach. A portfolio that is completely risk-free – invested in Guaranteed Income Certificates (GICs) – can actually decrease in value in the inflation rate outpaces the GIC interest rate.

“Often, those that want no risk would be far better served by investing in a conservative portfolio that still holds some equity or other alternative investments that will offer a certain amount of inflation protection. These riskier assets can of course lose money as well, so it is imperative that the investor fully understands the plan they are putting in place,” the article explains.

“You may also want to consider investments in sectors that benefit from inflation like real estate and commodities,” Castanet adds.

The article also mentions real-return bonds as a sort of “hedge” against inflation.

Be prepared for inflation, the article concludes, or face “disastrous consequences.” Consider reviewing your plans with an advisor, the article suggests.

Did you know that the Saskatchewan Pension Plan’s Balanced Fund provides an easy way to ensure all your retirement eggs aren’t in one potentially inflation-sensitive basket? The fund is invested in Canadian, U.S. and Non-North American equity, but also bonds, mortgages, real-estate, short-term investments and infrastructure. That diversification has led to an average rate of return of eight per cent throughout the 35-year history of SPP. And while past results don’t guarantee future returns, it’s a pretty nice track record of helping build retirement futures! 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.