The median amount owing for retirees with debt was $19,000. At the high end of the debt scale, 17% owed $100,000 or more. The likelihood of holding debt decreased with age but increased with household income and financial knowledge. Individuals with some postsecondary education were more likely to hold debt than those with less schooling, while households with a high net worth were less likely to have debt. Being divorced was a strong correlate of holding debt among retirees.
The majority of retirees report that their finances are what they had expected them to be prior to retirement, that their income is sufficient to cover expenses, and that they are able to stay on top of bills and keep up with their financial commitments. After controls for personal and financial factors were applied, those with any level of debt were found to be more likely to
As (seniors') poverty rates were falling in many OECD countries between 2007 and 2010, in Canada they rose about two percentage points.
As well, the report notes that public (government) transfers to seniors in Canada account for less than 39 per cent of the gross income of Canadian seniors, compared with the OECD average of 59 per cent, meaning more Canadians depend on workplace pensions to bridge the gap.
Meanwhile, public spending on pensions in Canada represents 4.5 per cent of the country's economic output, compared with and OECD average of 7.8 per cent.
Canadian seniors depend on income from private pensions and other capital for about 42 per cent of their total.
"As private pensions are mainly concentrated among workers with higher earnings, the growing importance of private provision in the next decades may lead to higher income inequality among the elderly," the report warns.
"Those facing job insecurity and interrupted careers are also more exposed to the risk of poverty because of the lower amounts they can devote to retirement savings."