October 27, 2021

The ever-evolving definition of 'retirement'

Remember those Freedom 55 commercials from the ‘90s?

Stock-photo-16283874-golden-nest-eggMan, what a crock of (removed)!

Indeed, what every Canadian knew, deep down, about the financial afterlife was confirmed earlier this week, when Statistics Canada revealed that early retirement was a nineties myth along with “Nobody’s stopping Sinbad” and “Put all your cash in Bre-X.”

The cruel reality, as per StatsCan’s numbers: a 50-year-old worker in 2008 could expect to stay in the labour force 3.5 years longer than they would have more than a decade ago.

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October 12, 2021

Is your pension fund likely to come up short?

Just like everbody else, Canada’s biggest pension plans are struggling to cope after they took another beating over the past few months. And, when you look at future payouts, they continue to come up short, according to a recent Mercer study.

2011-Q3_img-1_eng The Mercer Pension Health Index now stands at 60% down from 71% at the end of the second quarter -- not to say that's anything unusual. The index, showing the ratio of assets to liabilities, has been on a steady downward trend for several years.

And things don't seem to improving.

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October 10, 2021

Do you expect to be debt free by the time you retire?

Coming off a spectacular long weekend, it's tempting to think about what life might be like if you didn't have to head back to work tomorrow.

But, for some boomers at least, taking more than a few days off is a very scary thought.

On average, Canadians plan to retire at about the age of 63, according to recent CIBC research. But only 21% of those who're getting close feel they'll have saved enough money to be able to retire on the date of their choosing.

What's worse, the older they get, the less certain they are that their savings can carry them through the retirement of their dreams. In fact, after the recent market gyrations, 31% are sure they're still going to be carrying some debt once they get there.

Does that surprise you? 

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September 28, 2021

Psst: Want to earn a sure 50% on your money?

While "Earn 50% On Your Money!" may be a tag line you'd expect to see in the back pages of magazines your mother told you not to read, it actually has a ring of truth.

Ad At least it does for those who take part in pension or RRSP contribution matching programs set up by their employers.

Many employers offer a subsidized RRSP program, meaning they will match employee contributions up to a certain dollar or percentage limit, ranging anywhere from 25% to 100%, depending on how long you've worked there.

Talk about free money. Not signing up is akin to simply leaving some of your salary on the table every month. Nonetheless, industry figures suggest that roughly 40% of eligible employees simply never get around to participating.

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September 21, 2021

More older and educated people declaring bankruptcy

Times sure are tough across the border.

B The number of Americans with advanced degrees filing for bankruptcy jumped 20 per cent over the last five years, the Institute for Financial Literacy reports. And the Canadian numbers show a strikingly similar trend.

More and more people over age 55 are finding themselves having to file for bankruptcy as a way to get out of financial holes and to help rebuild their lives. 

Older debtors, particularly those on a fixed income, run into financial problems, largely because their cost of living keeps increasing.

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August 15, 2021

Motor homes shrink in size but sales continue to climb

Hoping to get another weekend or two at the cottage before school starts? You may soon see some relief from the convoys of motor homes lined up ahead of you.

Rv The sluggish economy and high gas prices are forcing many monster RVs to the side of the road. And, it seems, the newer models that are taking their place are that much smaller.

"Fuel prices are driving it, but this is a cultural shift," says Bob Wheeler, CEO of Airstream, which converts delivery-van-style Mercedes-Benz Sprinters into low-key motor homes. "There's a shift away from conspicuous consumption," he told US Today.

Though these units are still priced upwards of $125,000, they typically don't have the panache of larger units. But they do get triple the gas mileage of some big gasoline-powered motor homes.

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August 11, 2021

Time to think outside the hammock, author says.

Just think: every eight seconds, one more boomer turns sixty.

Ad And, while that may signal trouble for some, most believe they’re just getting started at this age. So instead of retiring, it's more like graduating. And that means moving away from home.

Moving touches every part of your life, however, and not all aspects are necessarily for the better.

That’s why, if you're thinking about picking up the stakes and relocating in your retirement years, it's never too early to start planning, says author Barbara Corcoran in her book NEXTVILLE: Amazing Places to Live the Rest of Your Life.

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August 08, 2021

Are health costs in retirement different for men and women?

When you or your partner retires, does it affect your health?

Pill That depends on whether you're the husband or the wife, says Angela Curl, a professor of social work at the University of Missouri.

According to her research, husbands report that while they feel their health declined after retirement it improved once when their wives retired. And that may mean less spending on health care, a major expense in retirement.

Wives, on the other hand, didn't share that sentiment. They maintained that their health remained pretty much the same after their husbands left work.

And when these women retired themselves and were asked about their own health, they generally rated it as worse during the first few years after they left their jobs, but then said it improved as time went on.

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July 12, 2021

The changing shape of retirement around the world

A new era in retirement is dawning as the West’s golden age of pensions comes to an end and the first generation of ‘prosperous pensioners’ appears in the world’s emerging economies, according to a new report from HSBC.

Re In both Europe and North America, people have enjoyed generous state and company pensions, job stability and rising stock and property markets for many years.

But with people living longer and governments and companies unable to support the costs of expensive pension schemes, individuals are being forced to take much greater personal responsibility for their retirement planning.

And while Canadians as a group seem a bit better prepared for all this than those across the border, they’re still worried. 39% of us associate retirement with financial hardship, and this concern is highest amongst 50-59 year olds (45%), women (42%) and divorcees (53%).

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May 31, 2021

Two important keys to retirement security

Are you worried what retirement is going to look like? Wondering if you'll be better off than your parents?

Ratio If you’re over age 50 and concerned about the future, consider making two changes that could significantly improve your odds of retiring, says Charles Farrell, author of Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security.

If you combine working a little longer with some modest reductions in your retirement lifestyle, you can vastly improve your retirement picture, he suggests. 

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...