Wealth Professional

JUL 25: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

July 25, 2022

Research shows “soon-to-retire” have different plans for life after work

New research from Edward Jones, reported on by Steve Randall in Wealth Professional, finds that many near-retirees don’t plan on a lot of rest and relaxation in retirement.

“Instead of taking it easy, more than half of Canadian retirees and those who are within 10 years of retirement see their post-work years as a ‘new chapter’ in their lives,” Randall writes.

As well, the Edward Jones/Age Wave survey found that 56 per cent of Canadians (aged 45 and over) surveyed see retirement “as a chance to reinvent themselves,” the publication reports. Some of that non-rest and relaxation includes work, the article continues, with 60 per cent of those asked saying they plan “to do some work as part of their ideal scenario.”

They are also expecting a long retirement – Wealth Professional reports the study found those polled expected around 27 years of retirement, and that they may live to age 100.

The article contrasts these retirement dreams with some less dreamy retirement realities. On average, the survey found, folks started saving for retirement at age 37 on average, with most wishing “they had started nine years earlier,” the article tells us.

“For those within 10 years of retirement, 58 per cent are contributing to an account but only 30 per cent have a thorough financial plan,” the piece continues.

“Those who retired in the last two years fear outliving their savings and among those three-14 years into retirement, 55 per cent have taken action to shore up their finances such as starting a part-time job or downsizing their home,” reports Wealth Professional.

Interestingly, only nine per cent of those surveyed think retirement should start at a certain age, the article notes. For 21 per cent of those asked, retirement should coincide with “financial independence,” the article adds.

The article concludes by identifying “the four pillars of retirement” as health, family, purpose and finances.

This is interesting research, for sure. The takeaway seems to be that while most of us are aware of what we want to do when we aren’t working as much, fewer have focused on the “finance” pillar, which plays a critical “enabler” role for the other pillars.

Way back when this writer was a newly-minted pension plan communications guy, we were taught that the three pillars of retirement where government retirement benefits, personal savings, and your workplace pension plan.

That three-legged stool isn’t as common a concept as it used to be. These days, the majority of Canadians don’t have a workplace pension plan. If you’re in that boat, don’t fret – you have the ability to create a do-it-yourself retirement program via the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. SPP can be your personal pension plan, or can be offered to your employees. You provide the contributions, and SPP grows them until it’s time to take up deep sea fishing, ballroom dancing, or what-have-you. 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.


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.


Feb 7: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

February 7, 2022

One-third of Canadians more worried about retirement now versus last year

New research from Scotia Global Asset Management (GAM) Canada, reported on by Wealth Professional, shows 32 per cent of Canadians are today “more worried about their ability to fund their retirement” than they were a year ago.

A further 45 per cent say “the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their retirement plans,” the magazine reports. Another poll from Scotiabank, its annual Worry Poll, recently found that a whopping 75 per cent of us are “worrying about their finances,” Wealth Professional explains.

The article says getting professional assistance may be a way to chase away the retirement saving blues.

“Confidence levels are boosted when working with a financial article,” the report notes, adding that “87 per cent of Canadians who met with an advisor in the past six months… (say) their advisor makes them feel confident that their investments will be OK.” That confidence level drops to 67 per cent among those “who did not meet with an advisor.”

“These results indicate that while investors are concerned about meeting their retirement goals, regular meetings with financial advisors significantly alleviate those concerns. In a continually changing environment, the value of advice prevails,” Neal Kerr, Head, Scotia GAM Canada, states in the article.

Further findings from the survey suggest that 86 per cent of respondents feel “their advisor keeps them on track to meet their goals, regardless of market changes,” and that 76 per cent feel “they are better off financially than if they managed their money on their own.”

The article concludes by urging advisors to seek out new clients, in an effort to show them “the future is brighter than they may think.”

Save with SPP has long been a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to advice, but now – in our senior years – we are seeing the benefits of getting legal, financial and other advice when warranted. We recently had to get the services of an immigration lawyer to clear up the citizenship status of a late relative. We employed a disability benefits specialist to help another relative who is recovering from a bad accident. Efforts to try and solve these problems on our own had been going nowhere; now both are either resolved or on the road there.

Another place where we tend to hate getting advice is on the golf course. Yet the three other players in our foursome are consistently improving while we flail away the same old way. They are equipped with fancy GPS watches that tell them the distance to the green, suggest what club to use, all while keeping track of their scores. Our watch tells us the time. They take lessons and practice. We warm up on the first tee only. They are getting ahead, we are staying behind. Hmmm.

One place where we enjoy the benefits of professional advice is in our Saskatchewan Pension Plan accounts. Do you know that SPP, whose Balanced Fund returned an impressive 11.53 per cent last year, features professional investing at a very low fee? While last year’s returns are no guarantee of what lies ahead for investments, it’s nice to know that someone other than oneself is at the rudder to pilot us through these turbulent economic times.

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 17: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

January 17, 2022

Offering a retirement program benefits employers as well as workers: study

Research carried out by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and retirement benefits organization Common Wealth has found that offering a pension program for employees offers positive benefits for employers as well, reports Wealth Professional.

The study, titled The Business Case for Good Workplace Retirement Plans, notes that a good workplace pension plan should offer “value drivers” such as “regular automatic savings, lower fees and costs, investment discipline, fiduciary governance, and risk pooling,” the article, written by Leo Almazora, notes. As well, portability – the ability to keep the retirement program even if you change jobs – was seen as a positive feature, the article adds.

Common Wealth’s Alex Mazer states in the article that “having a plan that lets workers keep benefitting from the first five value drivers over the course of their career, even as they go from job to job and into retirement, can translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional wealth accumulated over their lifetime, compared with saving for retirement on one’s own.”

Alex Mazer spoke to Save with SPP a few years ago about ways to encourage more retirement saving, and to make it automatic.

What’s interesting, the article notes, is that employers offering such programs also benefit.

“From an employer’s perspective, being able to offer a good workplace retirement plan is also a powerful tool. According to the research, having a vehicle to help them progress toward retirement is highly prized by employees, as it consistently emerged among the top benefits for recruitment or retention. Beyond that, it can also contribute greatly to improving productivity on the job,” the article reports.

“There’s a real linkage between people’s financial stress and their productivity,” Steven McCormick, senior vice president for Plan Operations at HOOPP, tells Wealth Professional. “In the research we’ve done, three quarters of employers said that any financial stress on an employee has an impact on productivity overall. I think that really makes the case for business owners to see workplace plans as an investment in their business as well as their people.”

Some business owners may see offering a pension plan as just another big expense, but McCormick says there’s a different way to look at it.

“For business owners who may have preconceived notions about the impact of putting a retirement plan in place, we’d suggest they should perhaps take another look,” McCormick states in the article. “They might not have a plan that hits all our five value drivers right off the bat, but we think it’s something to consider building toward to help their staff, their business, and society as a whole.”

This is a great look at an important issue. Let’s not overlook the fact that without a workplace pension plan, the responsibility for retirement saving becomes an individual burden. As well, those without sufficient savings for retirement may find themselves living on the spartan monthly income provided by the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and – if applicable – the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Did you know that the Saskatchewan Pension Plan can be leveraged as a company pension plan? Contact us to find out how your company can offer SPP to its employees.

And, if you don’t have a pension program at work, perhaps the SPP can do the job for you. With SPP you get the benefit of low investment costs and pooling, and good governance. You can arrange to make regular, automatic contributions and SPP travels with you if you change jobs. 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.


Nov 15: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

November 15, 2021

Canadian pension system earns a “B” rating

Canada’s pension system stacks up reasonably well against those of other developed countries, reports Wealth Professional.

The magazine cites new research from the Mercer CFA Global Pension Index, research that covered pension systems that served “65 per cent of the world’s population,” and notes that Canada retained its prior “B” rating.

“Ranked for adequacy, sustainability, and integrity, Iceland came top … with an overall score of 84.2, followed by the Netherlands (83.5) and Denmark (82.0),” Wealth Professional reports.

Canada, the magazine reports, came in at 69.8, putting it “ahead of countries including the U.S. (61.4), Germany (67.9) and New Zealand (67.4).”

So while “B” is not bad, there is still work to be done, the magazine article continues. A higher overall savings rate (thanks to COVID) and economic growth help, but there are still issues that need to be addressed, the magazine adds.

“While COVID-19 had a disproportionate impact on the retirement savings of certain groups, such as women, gender gaps in retirement savings have long existed,” Scott Clausen, a Mercer Canada partner, tells Wealth Professional. “Employers are encouraged to review the design of their pension plans, as well as other compensation programs, to ensure that they are not unconsciously disadvantaging women in their workforce,” he states in the article.

The article points out that “most of the Canadian workforce are left to save for their pension themselves rather than through workplace schemes.”

Clausen tells Wealth Professional that this shortfall in coverage represents an opportunity for the country.

“Employers can provide a pension to their employees, while delegating the governance and administration responsibilities to a third party, by joining a collective defined benefit pension plan or by providing an outsourced defined contribution pension plan,” he states in the article.

Making it easier for women to save is something that pension systems in Canada and worldwide need to improve on, says Mercer’s Dr. David Knox. He tells Wealth Professional “the world cannot sit idle as data shows that poverty among older people is more prevalent for women.”

He suggests making it easier for individuals to join pension plans generally, as well as adding some sort of pension credit system that factors in time spent caring “for the young and the old.” Decades ago, it was quite common for most employers to offer some sort of pension plan for their employees. Over the years, the level of coverage has slipped.

The bottom line is this – if there’s any sort of pension arrangement at your place of work, be sure to join and contribute to the maximum. After a while, like any benefit deducted from your paycheque, you won’t notice money being put away for your future.

If there isn’t a plan to join at work, the responsibility for retirement saving has been shifted onto your shoulders. If you’re not sure how to go about the job of saving, the Saskatchewan Pension Plan may be an answer. SPP will invest the money you contribute – professionally, and at a low rate – and then can convert your nest egg to retirement income down the road. This do-it-yourself pension plan has been getting it done 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.


Sep 20: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

September 20, 2021

One in five over 50 will delay retirement plans: RBC

The pandemic has made many Canadians rethink their retirement agenda, according to new research from RBC, covered in a recent article in Wealth Professional.

According to the article, the study – called the 2021 RBC Myths & Realities Poll – indicated that nearly 20 per cent of Canadians 50 and older have decided to change their retirement date.

There are a number of concerns outlined in the research.

A total of 21 per cent of those with assets of $100,000 or more fear they will outlive their retirement savings. Most of this group, the article continues, “believe they will need $1 million saved for their retirement but more than three quarters are at least $300K short of this.”

It’s worse for those with less savings, the article notes. Those with $50,000 in assets think they will need $533,000 in their savings pots, but are “an eye-watering $473,000 short of this goal,” Wealth Professional reports.

So what are people considering in what the article calls a Retirement Rethink?

  • 22 per cent are “thinking more about where they will live in retirement,” with 20 per cent “deciding where they don’t want to live,” typically meaning not in a retirement home, the article states.
  • Fifteen per cent are said to be reviewing or updating their wills; 17 per cent are “taking stock of their financial affairs,” and 16 per cent “realizing life is short” and are taking up new activities and hobbies, Wealth Professional notes.

Other actions they are thinking of taking, the article concludes, are to “stay in their own home and live more frugally,” to return to work, to downsize or move home, or ask family members for help.

What do we make of all this?

For starters, the cost of a dream retirement condo, cottage or timeshare has gone up significantly lately. It’s not so easy to sell your city house and pick up a cheaper one somewhere else, as prices are up everywhere. This and the massive cost of long-term care, in the thousands per month in most places, makes one’s existing home have new appeal. After all, it is either paid for or in the process of being paid for, you don’t have to pay moving expenses, realtors and lawyers to stay put, and your costs of living are known and predictable.

The article makes the point that having a financial planner makes sense in terms of establishing your financial goals for retirement. For instance, if you plan to stay home and live frugally, will you really need $1 million? It’s important to try and estimate, in advance, exactly what you will need to live on when you live the workforce.

If you are among those Canadians who worry about running out of money in retirement, be aware that the Saskatchewan Pension Plan offers annuities as an option for SPP retirees. With an annuity (they come in various forms with different options) you forego the risk of running out of money in retirement, as annuities provide you with a lifetime income stream. And you won’t have to put your sand wedge down in mid-swing to worry about investment decisions; with an annuity, there are none. Check out SPP, celebrating its 35th year 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.


July 19: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

July 19, 2021

Could our passion for savings defuse the expected end-of-COVID spending boom?

In an interesting and perhaps “contrarian” article, Leo Almazora of Wealth Professional asks if Canada’s return to being a nation of savers could actually have a downside.

“For many pundits and analysts, the light at the end of the tunnel that is the COVID-19 crisis has been the prospect of a surge in spending as vaccinations allow the unleashing of pent-up demand. But based on certain interpretations of savings data, that may not be the scenario that plays out,” he writes.

He notes that during COVID – with so many spending options removed from play – savings rates jumped to almost 20 per cent in many industrialized countries, including Canada.

It was expected, Almazora notes, that once economies began reopening, the urge to spend would overcome the tendency to save. But research cited from Barron’s magazine in the article shows that “even as economies have reopened, savings rates have stayed unusually high.”

Almazora’s article contends that there were two types of COVID savers – a “forced savers” group that, while keeping their employment, had very few options to spend their money on, and “precautionary savers,” who – worried by the pandemic – save for the “next downturn or economic calamity.”

There’s a third group, he writes, who have sort of got out of the habit of spending on hotels and restaurants, and won’t be spending as much on those things going forward.

This is a very insightful piece. Three groups are described, those who can’t spend their money, those who worry about a fourth wave or some other nasty financial surprise, and those who have been converted to a new obsession – frugality.

One would assume that the “can’t spend” group will be among the first to book vacation flights and resume travel. Those who Almazora describes as “preppers” for a possible further wave of problems presumably won’t join in the fun, nor will those who have decided cooking at home and cutting back on expenses was not only fun, but has led to a piling up of cash in their savings accounts.

It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out; it may take as long to return to a “fully normal” economy as it took COVID to derail “normal” and move us to a stay-at-home/no spend reality.

This writer recalls doing research on pension plan funding – where people sock away money for retirement via workplace plans – and hearing economists suggest the act of saving money was, in effect, negative for the economy in the now. Money saved today cannot be spent today, the argument went.

While this is factually correct, that viewpoint – savings can be bad – ignores the fact that the saved money is invested, often in job-creating Canadian companies and services, and then withdrawn and spent years later by the retirees. It’s deferred spending, in a way.

As a soon-to-be double grandparent, this aging scribe has reached the opinion that any savings is always a good thing. Emergency savings when the roof leaks or the fence falls down; long-term savings for retirement income and to help the grandbabies.

If you have a workplace pension plan, be sure to not only join it, but to contribute to it to the fullest extent possible. If you don’t have a plan – or if you are a small business thinking of offering one to your team – check out the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. This scaleable retirement product works as well for one person as it does for a larger group – and they’ve been delivering retirement security for 35 years.

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 1: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

February 1, 2021

Canadians have socked away nearly $300 billion in Tax Free Savings Accounts

It’s often said that high levels of household debt, compounded by the financial strains of the pandemic, make it difficult for Canadians to save.

However, a report in Wealth Professional magazine suggests that Canadians – once again – are indeed a nation of savers. According to the article, which quotes noted financial commentator Jamie Golombek, as of the end of 2018, we Canucks had stashed more than $298 billion in our Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs).

“[A]s of Dec. 31, 2018, there were 20,779,510 TFSAs in Canada, held by 14,691,280 unique TFSA holders with a total fair market value of $298 billion,” Golombek states in the article.

Again looking at 2018, the article says Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) data shows 8.5 million Canadians made TFSA contributions in ’18, with “1.4 million maxing out their contributions.” In fact, in 2018, the average contribution to a TFSA was about $7,811 – more than that year’s limit of $5,500 – because of the “room” provisions of a TFSA, the article explains.

The reason that people were contributing more than the maximum is because they were “making use of unused contribution room that was carried forward from previous years,” Wealth Professional tells us.

Another interesting stat that turns up in the article is the fact that TFSA owners tend to be younger. “Around one-third of TFSA holders were under the age of 40; two-fifths were between 40 and 65, and those over 65 made up about 25 per cent,” the article explains.

“This is not overly surprising since the TFSA, while often used for retirement savings, is truly an all-purpose investment account that can be used for anything,” Golombek states in the article.

However, there is a reason older Canadians should start thinking about TFSAs, writes Jonathan Chevreau in MoneySense.

“Unlike your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), which must start winding down the end of the year you turn 71, you can keep contributing to your TFSA for as long as you live,” he writes – even if you live past 100.

He also notes that a TFSA is a logical place to put any money you withdraw from a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) that you don’t need to spend right away.

While tax and withdrawal rules for RRIFs must be followed, “there’s no rule that once having withdrawn the money and paid tax on it, you are obliged to spend it. If you can get by on pensions and other income sources, you are free to take the after-tax RRIF income and add it to your TFSA, ideally to the full extent of the annual $6,000 contribution limit,” Chevreau writes.

This is a strategy that our late father-in-law used – he took money out of his RRIF, paid taxes on it, and put what was left into his TFSA, where he could invest it and collect dividends and interest free of taxes. He always looked very pleased when he said the words “tax-free income.”

2021 marks the 35th year of operations for the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. The SPP is your one-stop shop for retirement security. Through SPP, you can set up a personal defined contribution pension plan, where the money you contribute is professionally invested, at a low fee, until the day you’re ready retire. At that point, SPP provides you with the option of a lifetime pension. Be sure to check out the 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.


Looking back, 2020 was a real roller coaster for investors and savers

December 10, 2020

If there’s one thing almost everyone can agree on, it was great to celebrate – in a limited, socially distanced way – the end of the brutal year 2020, when the pandemic slammed the world.

It’s been a particularly frightening year for those of us struggling to save a few bucks for our retirement.

Back in February, when the COVID-19 crisis was beginning to take effect, stock markets dropped sharply, erasing “four years of gains,” reports Maclean’s . The market’s crash was based on fear – “not knowing how severe COVID was going to be in terms of morbidity,” the magazine explains.

In addition to the shocking numbers of deaths and sickness COVID-19 delivered, it also walloped our economy. According to Wealth Professional, quoting Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, Canada’s economy “is expected to shrink by 5.5 per cent for the whole of 2020, with the initial rebound following the First Wave of the pandemic having eased.”

We all know what he’s talking about here – the First Wave led to lockdowns and business closures, and high unemployment. There was a break in the summer as much of the shuttered economy reopened, but now the Second Wave is causing lockdowns and job losses once again.

The usual safe harbour for savers when the economy (and stock markets) are volatile is in fixed income, investments that pay us interest. However, in order to reboot the economy, the Bank of Canada is planning to keep interest rates low “until 2023,” Macklem states in the Wealth Professional article.

Those “low for long” interest rates mean it is not the best time to buy bonds or guaranteed investment certificates (GICs). Some savers looked to the real estate investment trust (REIT) market to replace the income their fixed income was providing, notes The Motley Fool. While some REITs, notably industrial ones, and those involved with warehousing and data centres did well, “retail and hospitality REITs… had lost 80 per cent of their value at the market’s bottom.” The Motley Fool article wonders how investments in commercial office and retail space will fare in a world where most people are working from home.

Now that 2020 is behind us, there are signs of better days ahead.

The markets in Canada and around the world are now recovering due to late-year news that effective vaccines are nearly ready for distribution.

Dave Randall of Reuters, writing in the Chronicle-Herald, notes that November was “a record-breaking month as the prospect of a vaccine-driven economic recovery next year and further central bank stimulus measures eclipsed immediate concerns about the spiking coronavirus pandemic.”

Let’s review all this. The pandemic hit us hard, sending markets down, throwing people out of work, shrinking the economy. Central banks had to cut interest rates to reduce borrowing costs. That’s great for borrowing but less great for saving. Those looking to replace the interest they weren’t getting had to navigate a market that dropped by 40-50 per cent in the late winter and is recovering, and they had to face the reality that some sectors were doing far better than others.

2021, however, looks like a better year. Market optimism is returning, and once the vaccines start to get distributed around the country, we will (hopefully) start to see a return to more normal times, with no lockdowns and business restrictions.

The point of retirement saving is putting money away for the future, which may be quite soon or decades away. If you’re worried about saving on your own for retirement during these volatile days, you might consider teaming up with the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. With SPP, experts run the money at an extremely low cost. We all have enough to worry about these days – let SPP take the worry of pandemic-era retirement saving off of your plate!

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 16: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

November 16, 2020

Pandemic’s a worry for Canadians, and impacting their ability to save: survey

New research from CIBC and Maru/Blue finds that 40 per cent of Canucks are worried about how the pandemic will affect “their retirement and savings plans,” reports Wealth Professional.

Also alarming – 23 per cent of those surveyed have “been unable to contribute to their retirement plans since the pandemic began,” the magazine reports.

There are also subtle additional ways the pandemic may impact future retirements, Wealth Professional notes, again citing the survey’s findings. Thirty per cent of Canadians surveyed believe they will have to work longer than they originally had planned, and 32 per cent don’t think they’ll do as much travelling in retirement as they had hoped, the magazine reports.

This level of pessimism around retirement has not been seen since 2014, the article adds.

Other learnings from the pandemic include:

  • 20 per cent say they are paying more attention to their personal finances
  • 21 per cent say they “won’t panic when markets become volatile”
  • 19 per cent agree it is “important to save for retirement/their future”
  • 26 per cent feel the pandemic has “significantly increased the cost of retiring”
  • 24 per cent now feel they can live with less and will reduce discretionary spending

The amount needed for a comfortable retirement is, according to Wealth Professional, “10.9 times their final pay to maintain the same spendable income after retirement.” The magazine cites findings from actuarial firm Aon for this figure.

These figures are certainly not surprising. Many Canadians have had their income slashed, are receiving benefits, and have deferred repayment of mortgages as we all try to tough out the pandemic.

It’s encouraging that nearly 20 per cent of us – despite being downtrodden by the pandemic – still see the value of setting aside whatever they can today to benefit themselves in the future.

Another part of the equation, of course, is living on the retirement savings – the so-called decumulation side, where all the money you’ve piled up is turned into what you live on in retirement.

According to Benefits Canada, Canadians need to think about how to make their retirement income last.

“We’ve had a number of tax rules and pension rules based on the age of 65 and that made a lot of sense years ago, but the issue is now, once you hit 65, you can live to 87 or even longer,” states economist Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary in the article.

“I think we need to allow people to put more money in tax-sheltered savings. I would like to see an increase in pension limits and [tax-free savings account] limits in order to help people save more for the future. I’d also like to see more rules around [registered retirement income funds], when you have to withdraw money out of your retirement accounts… to provide more flexibility,” Mintz states in the article.

These are solid ideas for making retirement savings last longer, and for helping Canadians accumulate even more savings than they have at present. If you are looking for a place to stash cash for your retirement future – a place where your savings will be professionally invested at a very low rate – look no further than the Saskatchewan Pension Plan (SPP). The SPP has an impressive rate of return of nearly eight per cent since its launch nearly 35 years ago. And if money is tight today, you can start small and gear up when better times return. Take the time to click over and check them out.

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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.