Saturday, April 20, 2013
Canadians struggle with retirement planning
Another study by Investors Group found that 30 per cent of Canadians are not aware of how long their savings, pensions and investments will support their desired level of retirement income.
"The connection between how much you need and the lifestyle you live is a pretty obvious one for most Canadians," says Aureles Courcelles, director of tax and estate planning with Investors Group. "Those who have no idea of how long their savings, pensions and investments will sustain their desired retirement lifestyle could be in for some unpleasant surprises. They should get to work on developing a clearer idea of how they plan to live in retirement and if the lifestyle they have in mind is financially feasible."
Another survey from the tax people, H&R Block, suggests Canadians who are not yet retired may be relying too much on government support programs such as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) and are not putting enough away in other retirement savings vehicles and plans.
Half of non-retired Canadians plan to retire by 65 and expect the CPP to fund part of their retirement but less than a third actually know how much they can expect from CPP every month. Payments depend on your contributions to CPP while you were working. The maximum monthly CPP benefit for 2013 is just over $1,000.
As well, the age at which Canadians receive the OAS and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is going up to 67 from 65 between the years 2023 and 2029. The OAS pays $540 a month and is indexed annually with the cost of living. The GIS pays a maximum of $732.36 a month to lower income Canadians, depending on their level of income.
The same group of Canadians listed the CPP, Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and OAS as the top three ways they plan to fund their retirement, but "Canadians who are not retired yet may be relying too much on CPP or OAS as part of their retirement plans," warns Cleo Hamel, senior tax analyst with H&R Block Canada another quote
The government of course is trying to do something and introduced the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) a few years ago and now is proposing the Pooled Retirement Pension Plan (PRPP) as further vehicles to help Canadians save for their retirement.
While RRSPs are still the preferred retirement savings vehicle by 65 per cent of non-retired Canadians, younger Canadians under the age of 35 are tending to invest in the TFSA over the RRSP.
"Before 2009, the RRSP account was really the only way to save for retirement," says Hamel. "But the TFSA also offers excellent tax sheltering benefits with more flexibility than an RRSP. If you are just starting your career or a family, there are reasons to be considering a TFSA where withdrawals are not taxable in case you need to access emergency funds."
So debate and study of the retirement landscape in Canada goes on but if ever there was a need for a retirement solution in this country, surely it is now.
Talbot Boggs is a Toronto-based business communications professional who has worked with national news organizations, magazines and corporations in the finance, retail, manufacturing and other industrial sectors.