Forbes

Taking a look at some of the financial potholes we’ll face on the retirement highway

January 19, 2023

You’re enjoying your retirement party, your last paycheque is about to be deposited, and soon you’ll be cracking into your retirement savings.

All smooth sailing? Well, it can be if retirees are aware — in advance — of some of the bumps in the road ahead. Save with SPP took a look at the most common risks faced by those of us who are retired.

If your retirement savings are invested and you plan to live off the proceeds, investment risk and inflation should be near the top of your list, reports the Financial Post.

“Turbulent markets, soaring inflation and a higher cost of living are all impacting older workers that are transitioning to full or part-time retirement,” Mercer Canada’s F. Hubert Tremblay tells the Post.

The Kiplinger website adds a few more. Will you outlive your savings, the article asks? That’s known as “portfolio failure risk,” and can happen even if you have a set withdrawal rate, such as taking out no more than four per cent of your savings each year.

“Another withdrawal method is guessing how long you’ll live and dividing your savings by 20 to 30 years—but what happens if you live 31 years,” the article asks.

They also cite “unexpected financial responsibility risk” as being a possible challenge — this would involve having to help out adult children or ageing parents — or both.

The Wealth of Geeks blog offers up a few more risks, including a surprising one — frustration.

“Retirees are frustrated with their retirement,” the article notes. “On average, retirees rate their satisfaction in retirement as 7.0 out of 10 in 2022, compared to 7.4 in 2020. Similarly, retirees ranked their alignment of life in retirement with their prior expectations at an average of 6.4 in 2022, down from 6.8 in 2020,” the article continues.

A lot of the frustration is linked to inflation — the fact that everything costs more than it did even a year ago, the article continues. Having less to spend than expected while on a fixed income becomes a source of frustration, the article explains.

Forbes magazine sees three chief risks for retirees. The first two, inflation and investment risk, we’ve covered — but the third is possibly even more important — longevity risk.

“While there are a lot of benefits to living a long time, longevity increases financial risk. You need to pay the living expenses for all those extra years. Also, your annual expenses might increase, because people generally need more medical and long-term care as they age,” the Forbes article explains.

Save with SPP has been embedded in the camp of retirement for more than eight years now, and we can add another risk to the list — carrying debt into retirement.

According to the Canadian Press, via CP24, Canadians have $1.83 in debt for every dollar they earn.

While that’s bad, having debt when retired (and living on less income) is worse. Trying to reduce debt prior to retirement is, in many people’s opinion, almost as important as retirement savings.

It’s a daunting list of potential pitfalls. The best way to arm yourself against future risks is to have retirement savings and thus, future retirement income.

If you have a pension or retirement system through work, you are ahead of the curve. If you don’t, consider the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. SPP is a pension plan any Canadian with registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) room can join. SPP will take your contributions, as well as transfers from other RRSPs, and will grow them efficiently in a pooled fund offering low investment costs. When it’s time to turn savings into retirement income, SPP has several options for you, including lifetime annuities which guarantee you’ll never run out of 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.


Tough economy has adult kids moving back in with parents

December 1, 2022

If you take a look at the cost of real estate in most Canadian towns and cities – and then look as well at rental rates – it is not surprising that so-called “boomerang kids” are choosing or being forced to move back in with their parents.

Figures from 2016 – pre-pandemic – from Statistics Canada showed “34.7 per cent (of) young adults aged 20 to 34 were living with at least one parent,” states an article on the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada website.

The article, written in 2019, quotes Great West Life Realty Advisors’ Brigitte Lazarko as saying the high cost of housing is definitely a contributor factor in the boomerang equation.

“Everybody has that dream of owning a home, and they’re seeing [that] it’s going to take quite a bit more to get there than perhaps the previous generation,” she states in the article.

Since then, while housing prices have rolled back from their highs, interest rates have jumped to record high levels. That makes mortgages more expensive, and can increase rental rates as well, and no doubt the number of kids moving home has increased.

Interest rates, which recently were around 6.8 per cent, are having impacts on housing, confirms MoneyWise Canada via MSN.

“Higher mortgage rates have already affected house sales. With fewer buyers, homesellers have been forced to consider lower prices,” the article notes.

“But it’s not only buyers and sellers impacted. Renters are competing with those who can’t afford to buy, while investors are considering raising rent to keep up with increasing mortgage payments,” the article continues.

Those of us who remember paying under $200 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in the 1980s (when interest rates were also high) get sticker shock when they see what young people must pay now. The article notes that the average rent for one-bedroom apartments in Vancouver hit $2,590 recently, with Toronto ($2,474) and Burnaby ($2,292) close behind.

The pandemic has added some twists in the boomerang story, reports the BBC. “Though the ‘boomerang’ stage has been on the rise for at least the last decade, the pandemic has added a few new contributing factors: many who planned to go away for college could not – university campuses closed across the world – and others who might have otherwise moved for a job after college delayed leaving home because in-office work has not been available,” the broadcaster reports.

Other factors that hinder kids from leaving the nest include student debt, time needed to save a much larger down payment or just the need to “establish themselves in their career,” the BBC reports.

The Street reports that having to look after adult kids can impact retirement savings.

“Parents in their 40s and 50s should be saving aggressively for retirement, and extended child support can do a lot of damage. Suppose an assortment of parenting costs come to $500 a month for five years, starting when the parents were 45. If that money was invested instead at an eight per cent annual return it would grow to $36,707 in five years,” the article notes. “Over the next 20 years that sum could grow to $171,000. How many 70-year-olds wouldn’t like to have that?,” the publication reports.

Forbes magazine offers five ideas on how to help boomerang kids become more financially self-sufficient, including a detailed cost analysis on what extra you’ll pay to help the kids with accommodation, their bills, etc., to helping them set up a budget, to considering charging them rent, to getting them saving for retirement while at home, and to making sure they get financial advice.

The overall message here is to work things out beforehand, so that your kids aren’t “guests,” but contributing family members with various chores and responsibilities. As well, an effort needs to be made to ensure that they benefit from living at home for less by paying off debt and saving for the future, including retirement.

For anyone without a retirement program at work, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan (SPP) is a great do-it-yourself option. You can contribute up to $7,000 a year towards SPP, plus you can consolidate savings stuck in various registered retirement savings plans by transferring up to $10,000 annually into SPP. Be sure to check out this made-in-Saskatchewan solution to Canadian retirement saving 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.


Bartering – an ancient money-saving idea expands through 21st century technology

November 24, 2022

Let’s face it. The cost of a lot of things, particularly groceries and gas, has gone way up of late, leaving us all with a little less in the wallet to buy other things. That’s prompted a number of us to take a look at an old idea – bartering. Save with SPP took a look around to see what people are saying about this ancient take on trading goods and services for other goods and services, without the need for money.

“Bartering is a simple and cheap exchange of goods and services between people,” reports the Moneyless blog. “Bartering is also recommended if you want to live without money or if you want to save money. Bartering is also a fantastic way to get new stuff and it can be a good alternative to the monetary economy,” the blog suggests.

The chief idea of bartering is trading, the blog explains. It’s like “can you fix my computer? Then I’ll fix your curtains,” the article adds. However, thanks to 21st Century technology, the process has moved online.

The blog notes that there are online bartering sites where people offer to exchange “games… audio equipment, TVs or furniture” for other goods or services they specifically need. Some of these sites work with a credit system, and others “one to one,” meaning you trade your chair for someone’s table.

Save with SPP looked for a few Canadian barter sites, and found Swapsity, Barter Pay and First Canadian Barter.

The Budget And Invest blog looks at some of the advantages of bartering.  Bartering, the article says, “generates more business” by bringing your items to “a larger pool” of barterers. It also “reduces the cost of doing business” by virtue of it being a moneyless system – unsold items that remain on a store’s shelf, for instance, equate to lost money, the blog suggests.

Bartering helps “conserve cash” since you are trading items and services for the same, and not paying for them, and is “easy” since it has grown from individual dealmaking to online networking.

Forbes cites the example of Melissa Barker, who has launched a bartering business called WE Barker that has “5,000 people involved in 44 industries across 25 cities.”

“At the crux of WE is the bartering system, both small trades like writing a review to big trades like developing a website in exchange for public speaking coaching,” Forbes reports.

Another practical example comes from the Blogging Away Debt blog, which provides the testimonial of a woman named Hope, who has bartered for things like “Tae Kwan Do lessons, homeschool co-op tuition, competitive gymnastics training, and so much more over the years.”  She recently bartered for two full weeks of boarding for her seven dogs in exchange for redoing the kennel’s website.

Save with SPP has one fond memory of bartering. Back in the 1980s, we were driving an ancient 1975 Impala around Wainwright, Alta. One day, the engine blew. The mechanic across the street from work said it would cost $2,000 for a new one. Told a friend, he said a national chain might have rebuilt engines for $1,000. Told another friend (happily) about this saving, and he said try a wrecker, could only be $250. Finally, told my friend Don, and he said he and his brother had a car like mine in the barn and could switch out the engines for a case of beer. Now that’s the value of bartering!

The money you save by bartering might allow you to put more dollars in your retirement piggy bank. If you are daunted by saving money in today’s challenging markets, take a look at the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. As a member of SPP, you get the experience of their expert money managers at a very low fee – less than one per cent. They’ll grow your money over your working career, and when it’s time to give back the security badge, SPP can help you turn those savings into a stream of retirement income. Check them out today!


How to tweak your investment strategy during times of inflation

September 29, 2022

While inflation rates may have peaked, we have seen it hit levels not seen in four decades, impacting the price of food, fuel, and other staples.

While higher interest rates are great news for savers, it’s not as clear what (if anything) investors should be doing about it. Save with SPP had a look around to see what people are saying about investment strategies in inflationary times.

According to Forbes magazine, there are “moves an investor can make right now that might alleviate their stress over inflation.”  The first idea, the magazine notes, is “to stay invested in equities.” Why? Because “a company facing rising costs, can simply offset them by raising prices, which raises revenue and earnings,” the article explains.

Any fixed income in your portfolio should be in the form of “high credit quality bonds,” but adding to this sector as rates climb is risky, Forbes warns. Consider investing in commodities via an exchange traded fund, the article suggests. Commodities include things like sugar, oil and gas, corn, pork bellies and other key goods.

Investopedia agrees that inflation “is generally a punch in the jaw for bonds,” and suggests increasing your exposure to equities by 10 per cent in inflationary times.  Other ideas from Investopedia include investing in international securities, from countries like Italy, Australia and South Korea. These are “major economies… that do not rise and fall in tandem with (North American) indices,” the article explains.

Real estate, the article continues, “often acts as a good inflation hedge since there will always be a demand for homes, regardless of the economic climate.” If actually buying real estate as an investment is beyond your means, you can still take part in the market via real estate investment trusts (REITs), the article explains.

“REITs are companies that own and operate portfolios of commercial, residential, and industrial properties. Providing income through rents and leases, they often pay higher yields than bonds,” the article notes.

Another idea from the Daily Mail is to consider being a bit of a saver within your portfolio to take advantage of high interest payouts.

“Britons are moving more of their cash into fixed-rate savings deals, with interest rates across the market rising on a daily basis,” the newspaper reports.

“A net £2.8 billion flowed into fixed-term cash deposits in July 2022, according to the latest figures from the Bank of England – the strongest flow seen since November 2010,” the magazine adds.

A second Forbes article talks about avoiding volatility in your portfolio.

“You want to buy stocks in companies that are likely—and I use that word ‘likely’ very carefully—to perform better than other companies in a rising rate environment,” BMO Nesbitt Burns’ John Sacke tells Forbes.

The article reminds us to keep an eye on our household budget and living costs in periods of inflation. In addition to thinking about your investments, the article suggests you “track your spending closely” and look for bargains.

Pay off any debt quickly in an environment when rates are going up, the article advises.

“StatsCan estimates the average consumer owes $1.73 in consumer credit and mortgage liabilities for every dollar of their income. This high debt-to-income ratio isn’t new, but the Bank of Canada’s current overnight rate of 2.5 per cent (which is 10 times higher than it was at the end of 2021) is making interest rates on loans higher, meaning those debts are even more expensive to pay off,” the article warns.

Other inflation-fighting tips include the use of cash-back credit cards and coupon clipping, as well as shopping apps.

Summing up what we found, there seems to be a belief that stocks are more likely to grow in value than bonds in a high-interest rate environment, and that real estate and international investments may be alternatives worth considering.

Now may be a good time to pick up a fixed-income investment with a guaranteed payout, like a guaranteed investment certificate. And at the same time, you have to watch your spending, and budget, to get through the choppy inflationary waters.

Save with SPP does not specifically endorse any of these strategies, and we recommend that you consider getting professional advice before making changes to your portfolio.

If all this is a little daunting, consider letting the Saskatchewan Pension Plan navigate the choppy investment seas for you. SPP’s Balanced Fund has exposure to Canadian and global equities and fixed income, as well as real estate, infrastructure, mortgages and other quality investments. 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.


A look at retirement-related “rules of thumb”

May 6, 2021

We’re forever hearing about “rules of thumb” when it comes to retirement, so today, Save with SPP will attempt to bring a bunch of these thumbs of wisdom together in one place.

A great starting point is the Retire Happy blog, where Ed Rempel rhymes off some of the most popular rules.

He speaks of the “70 per cent replacement rule,” where it is said that the “right” level of retirement income (this rule is widely disputed) is 70 per cent of what you were making before you retired. As Rempel notes, under this rule, a couple making $100,000 would thus need $70,000 in retirement.

(Another possible origin of this rule is the defined benefit pension world, where pensions normally provide two per cent of what you made at work per year you are a plan member. In the old days, membership was capped at 35 years – the math adds up to 70 per cent.)

Next, Rempel speaks of the four per cent rule of thumb. This rule suggests that the right amount to withdraw each year from retirement savings is four per cent of the total; a safe withdrawal rate to help you avoid running out of money later.

The “Age Rule,” writes Rempel, is the idea that 100 minus your current age is the percentage of your overall portfolio that you should invest in stocks. The thinking here is that the older you are, the less exposure you should have to risky investments – you should be gradually shifting over to fixed income.

Rempel also talks about the “cash buffer” rule – keeping enough cash to tide you over for two years, so you can “draw on it when investments are down,” and the idea of delaying Canada Pension Plan payments until 65 (some say 70) to get more than you would at 60.

A final rule from Rempel is the “sequence of returns” rule, the idea of investing conservatively to avoid losses during the drawdown stage.

A great list from a great blog!

We found a few others.

At Forbes magazine there is talk of the “25 times” rule. Basically, if you know what level of income you want to have in retirement – let’s say $50,000 – this rule tells you you need to save 25 times that amount before you retire. That’s a daunting $1.25 million.

We remember hearing this one decades ago as the “20 times” rule. Perhaps inflation has made the thumb bigger?

Over at Investopedia, “a good rule of thumb for the percentage of your income you should save is 15 per cent,” we are told. Other thumb guidelines include choosing “low-cost investments,” where management expense fees are as low as possible, and a Warren Buffett rule, “don’t put money in something you don’t understand.”

The article talks about exchange-traded funds as being examples of low-cost investments. Save with SPP likes to note that while ETFs have lower fees than most mutual funds, buying stocks and bonds directly is a way to not have any management fees.

Putting it all together, there are an awful lot of thumbs here, more than the two we usually depend on. That’s because there are a lot of moving parts to saving for retirement and then living off the savings. From figuring out how much you’ll put aside, on to growing that amount via investing, and on to finally “decumulating” your savings and enjoying the income, it can be quite an effort.

If you’re not a retirement geek who happily plots and schemes over spreadsheets on a daily basis (guilty glance in mirror), there is another way to manage all this in a one-stop, set it and forget it way. Why not consider joining the Saskatchewan Pension Plan? They’ll take your retirement savings and grow them under the watchful eyes of investment professionals (for a very low fee). When it’s time to retire, they can turn those saved, invested dollars into a lifetime income stream. And they’ve been doing it for an impressive 35 years. 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.


Debt – a problem that takes the shine off your golden years.

March 18, 2021

There’s an old saying that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. You could almost add a third category – debt – to that list, and Canadian seniors are dealing with more late-age debt than ever before.

Statistics Canada figures show that in 2019, “Canadian household debt represented 177 per cent of disposable income, up from 168 per cent in 2018. That means the average Canadian household owed $1.77 for every dollar they earned.

The same report found that while seniors are doing better with debt than those under age 65, a surprising 22 per cent say they are “struggling to meet their financial commitments.”

Similarly, reports the Financial Post, research from debt agency Equifax “found the average debt, not including mortgages, of Canadians 65 and over was $15,651 in the second quarter of 2017, still low compared to the Canadian average of $22,595. But senior debt grew by 4.3 per cent over the past year, outpacing every other segment of the population over 18.”

South of the border, the problems are similar. According to Forbes magazine, “the percentage of elderly households—those led by people aged 65 and older—with any type of debt increased from 38 per cent in 1989 to 61 per cent in 2016.”

“People who carry debt into retirement, especially credit card debt, confront more stress and report a lower quality of life than those who do not,” the Forbes article notes.

Debt relief expert Doug Hoyes of Hoyes & Michalos notes that carrying debt into your senior years will almost certainly be a struggle.

He writes that there are “many reasons why people carry debt beyond their 50s, and into their 60s and even 70s,” and he adds that it is “unrealistic to think it’s as simple as seniors living beyond their means.” Contributing factors to senior debt can include layoffs and benefit cuts, the challenge of supporting adult children, and caring for aging parents, he writes.

“Once retired, a fixed income takes its toll, unable to keep up with both debt payments and living costs,” writes Hoyes.

Hoyes says there are some debt warning signs you shouldn’t ignore:

  • Your monthly credit card and other debt balances are rising
  • You can only make minimum payments
  • You use a line of credit to pay the mortgage, rent or other bills
  • You think about cashing in your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to pay off debt

He suggests several courses of action for seniors struggling with debt, such as consulting with a credit counsellor and working out a payment plan, or looking into a government debt relief program for seniors.

Don’t, he warns, tap your RRSP to pay off debt.

“Most registered retirement plans are protected in a bankruptcy or consumer proposal in Canada,” he writes. “We caution people against draining their retirement nest egg if this only partially solves your debt problem.”

Summing it up, while debt is easy to rack up – and we’re all used to dealing with it – it is far less manageable when you’ve left the workforce and are living on less. If you can’t pay off all your debts before you retire, at least pay off as much as possible – your retired you will thank you. Did you know that the Saskatchewan Pension Plan offers you a way to turn your retirement savings into a future income stream? By choosing from the many different SPP annuity options, you are assured of that income in retirement, no matter how long you live. That can be very helpful if you have debts to pay off along the way.

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.


What are people going to do once the pandemic is over?

January 21, 2021

We all know what we’re not doing thanks to the pandemic – but what sorts of things will we all be doing once that first blessed day of COVID-free living begins?

According to the New York Times, the very first thing for many will be getting back in touch with family and friends.

“Oh, to be able to shake hands again. We have lost the simple way we show respect for one another, to say thank you, to signal agreement. Our elbows will never be up to the job,” Audrey Jessen of Florida tells the Times. In the same vein, the newspaper reports, hugging grandma, hugging your brother, going out on date and kissing, and the joy of hanging out in groups are all atop people’s post-COVID to-do lists.

Ditto for “getting out of the house,” the Times adds.

At The Conversation blog, there’s optimism that the pre-COVID decline in cooking at home will continue to be reversed after the pandemic.

“Our survey showed a rise in home cooking from scratch during lockdown. Both home cooking and confidence in cooking have been linked to better diet quality, and practising cooking increases confidence,” the blog says. The folks at The Conversation believe this COVID-induced trend won’t fade away when the pandemic does.

Neither, reports Forbes , will “virtual collaboration” in the workplace, a.k.a. teamwork via the Interweb. It should also continue to be a way to stay in touch with people post-pandemic, the magazine contends.

“Millions of Americans stayed home for Thanksgiving, and their virtual parties weren’t terrible,” says online collaboration expert Adam Riggs in the Forbes piece. “With millions of remote workers connecting virtually, Americans have seen how video conferencing technology has improved over time, which has also impacted how we virtually network,” he states in the article.

Riggs predicts that since the pandemic will continue for quite a while, the use of videoconferencing and networking apps will continue and will ultimately remain a tool in the communications arsenal when the COVID all-clear signal is finally given.

Many are counting the days until outdoor events, like musical festivals or sporting events, will again be able to be held in front of massive crowds.

The Independent quotes U.K. festival organizer Sacha Lord as saying “if we have another year like 2020, we’ve got serious problems.” The music festival industry had its worst year ever last year, the article notes.

Let’s see if we can hear the common theme in all of this. Yes, we want to go back to how things were, but also, some of the new ways we were forced to do things may survive into the When It’s Over era. For instance, it’s said that thanks to more handwashing, sanitizer use, and mask-wearing than ever before, our flu season was one of the mildest on record.

So let’s conclude that the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel will be a brighter, different one than the dark days of the current winter. Better days ahead, as they say.

Many of us have little bits of retirement savings here and there, scattered in different pockets from our time at different jobs. If you’re a member of the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, did you know that you can often transfer your benefits from other registered or unlocked plans to SPP? Up to $10,000 a year can currently be moved into your SPP account from other plans – that way, you can have all your retirement income coming from one source! Check out this and other SPP features in the SPP Membership Guide.

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.


Jan 4: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

January 4, 2021

Seniors – many lacking pensions and facing depleted savings – struggle to find work

Many of us of a certain vintage – say boomers in their late 50s and early 60s – plan to work as long as we can before entering retirement.

But a report by the Globe and Mail suggests that these days, as we recover from the pandemic, jobs for older workers aren’t as easy to come by as they may once have been.

“As we survey the damage from the COVID-wrecked economy, we may find that the employment prospects for older workers are getting thin just as the supply of mature job-seekers starts to climb,” writes the Globe’s Linda Nazareth.

First, she explains, things have changed for older workers.

“The old model of work, with the notion of leaving with a gold watch and a pension for life, is over. According to Statistics Canada, 52 per cent of the employed population was covered by a pension plan in 1977, a figure that had fallen to 37 per cent by 2018. Making up the difference with private savings does not always work out, and 2020 has offered a stark reminder that volatile markets, recessions, job losses and illness can wreak havoc on the best-laid plans,” she writes.

So, she notes, without pension income or savings, the other option is to keep working.

“No surprise, then, that the labour force participation rate (the percentage of the population either working or looking for work) of those aged from 55 to 64 has been trending higher for years, climbing from 63.6 per cent in November, 2010, to 66.6 per cent in November of this year,” Nazareth writes.

The rub, unfortunately, is that the kinds of jobs older workers are now holding down may not be there once the “K-shaped recovery” is fully underway, Nazareth explains.

“Many will be caught in the sectors and occupations that find themselves in the downslide of the K, including occupations in the struggling hospitality sector, but also those in a wide swath of manufacturing and services. Automation and a competitive global economy were already taking things in that direction but picking up the pieces after the pandemic will only make things worse and increase the potential for a spate of very-much involuntary unemployment,” she warns.

She concludes the article by hoping that a full economic recovery will lead to new types of jobs to aid the older workers in their job search.

In the U.S., reports Forbes magazine, it’s a similar situation.

The unemployment rate among workers 65 and older was an alarming 10.8 per cent, the article reports. Worse, it’s lower-income workers who are most affected, the article explains.

Writer Christian Weller concludes that there are basically two camps in the U.S. “Some could glide towards a comfortable retirement after working at good wages and saving enough during the preceding years. Others were left to fend for themselves as jobs became scarce and health risks became widespread since they had too little in wealth to weather the multitude of emergencies and start retiring earlier than planned. The pandemic starkly illustrates the massive retirement gulf that epitomizes the U.S.’s aging society.”

So let’s sift through this. Basically both authors are saying that older citizens with a pension or retirement savings to fall back on are doing better than those without, and that finding and keeping a job when you’re older may not be a slam dunk.

What can we do about it if we aren’t older? Saving for retirement seems a good way to cushion your future self against shifts in the job market. If you are fortunate enough to have a pension at work, be sure you are maximizing your contributions to it. If not, you’ll need to be self-reliant, and build your own retirement nest egg. A good place to start the savings journey could be the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, celebrating its 35th year in 2021. 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.


Sep 21: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

September 21, 2020

Is having a life coach for retirement the next new thing?

For nearly all of us, retirement is something we imagine as a wonderful life after work is done – and as well, something we should be saving money to pay for.

An article in Forbes magazine suggests that “the transitions surrounding retirement can lead to a time of anxiety and questioning.”

The article cites a 2019 study from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. as noting “much of this angst may stem from a loss of identity, family tensions and a sense of loneliness. Financial factors often play a role too. Living on a fixed income can be rough and the cost of living may exceed expectations.”

These factors, coupled with the general uncertainty due to the pandemic, can make “a retirement date that’s nearing seem daunting,” the article notes.

But, Forbes reports, there’s a solution to retirement anxiety – getting a life coach.

“You may be familiar with life coaches, who help people evaluate themselves, grow and implement lifestyle changes. Often, a life coach will provide a working plan to help improve a specific area of your life,” the magazine tells us.

“Retirement coaches frequently act as life coaches, with a specific focus on the retirement years. Like other life coaches, retirement coaches may specialize in certain things, such as finances or behavior,” the Forbes article explains.

New retirees can face obstacles that they don’t expect, states Monte Drenner, a Florida-based life coach interviewed by Forbes for the article.

The social networks built through work have to be rebuilt, he says. Travel plans may not be financially achievable – the dream is more expensive than savings permit, Drenner tells Forbes.

It’s important for them to realize that retirement is a phase of life and not a break from work, Drenner says in the article. ““Many people bring a vacation mindset to retirement,” he explains – but that thinking can lead to dull days if nothing much is planned in the time between travel dates.

Another life coach quoted in the article, Kay Goshtabi of San Diego, says self-awareness is something many new retirees need to attain.

“The majority of my clients who are reinventing in retirement tell me that this is the hardest challenge they have faced to date,” she tells Forbes, adding that before retiring. “people have not stopped to figure out who they are.”

It’s important, she says, to set realistic expectations about retirement. “I look at it as a marathon and not a sprint,” she says.

The article gives some examples of how you might reinvent yourself in retirement by working part-time at something you like, or developing projects to help your family such as a family-focused cookbook. Write down your “dreams, wishes and interests” prior to retirement to help keep you on track when you’re there, the article concludes.

It’s true that retirement is what you make of it, but some dreams are more expensive than others. That’s where the Saskatchewan Pension Plan can be of assistance. It’s like a personal pension plan you can leverage as your main retirement savings tool, or to augment benefits you’re getting from work. The SPP grows your savings and offers you many income options when it’s time to start chasing dreams, such as the ability to get a lifetime pension. Be sure to check them out 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.


Aug 27: Best from the blogosphere

August 27, 2018

A look at the best of the Internet, from an SPP point of view

Asking the question “what is retirement really like”
Everyone who is working, or frankly, just getting older, eventually wonders what it would be like to be retired. It is very difficult to imagine what “there” looks like.

Save with SPP had a look around to see how people describe the so-called “golden years.” What are they really like?

Forbes magazine recently covered a survey on this topic, and their top three results were quite interesting. Retirees said that “boredom is not a problem.” One retiree said “I have to remember (repeatedly!) that I can’t do everything I want, even in retirement.”

Second on their list was the revelation that retirees “often downsize and cut their living costs – by choice.” The typical survey respondent “is living quite comfortably on about half of his or her pre-retirement income,” the article notes.

Rounding out the top three is the fact that retirement “requires some big adjustments for married couples.” In order to avoid one spouse supervising the other, “me time” is essential, the article notes.

US News and World Report also covered the “what is retirement like” question, and their findings were similar. They found most new retirees want to continue to be active. Citing examples of doing part-time work or managing their own savings, the article says most retirees “would rather continue to be active after they retire from their career than relaxing around the pool all day.”

Retirement, the magazine notes, can be “a difficult transition if you are not prepared for it.” Those who were forced into retirement during the economic downturn of 10 years ago found they had less savings and “a lot of heartburn,” the article adds. Some looked to part time work until more stable economic times returned.

On balance, the article says, having fun in retirement is very important. You can “volunteer, freelance coach, or (do) many other activities,” the article notes. It’s a way to help avoid missing the “structured routine of work,” the article states.

What will your retirement be like? The conclusion is that it’s up to you. Having a plan for retirement savings and for turning those dollars into future income is also a good underpinning for your future life after work. The Saskatchewan Pension Plan can help you on both fronts.

Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. After a 35-year career as a reporter, editor and pension communicator, Martin is enjoying life as a freelance writer. He’s a mediocre golfer, hopeful darts player and beginner line dancer who enjoys classic rock and sports, especially football. He and his wife Laura live with their Sheltie, Duncan, and their cat, Toobins. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22