Recently, Canada's military has come under deliberate, sustained attack. In fact, our Forces may already have been vanquished. Not by an enemy, but by the nation it defends. Faith in Canada's support is the one thing our Forces absolutely, positively must have to be effective. But that was taken away last year, bringing the days of selflessly charging into danger to a crashing halt.
I might be betraying my demographic but I think it's time we seniors started asking for less. For years now, those in the over-60 age group have been making out like bandits while the younger generations struggle to make ends meet. Unlike in years past, there are now relatively few seniors in developed nations suffering in poverty. The iconic image of an aging widow living on cat food is today largely a myth. Older folks, for the most part, live comfortable lives.
Let's face it: many people work better on a deadline. This is the same mindset that leads perfectly reasonable adults to the conclusion that saving for retirement can wait until tomorrow, until they get a raise or have taken the next vacation, or until they turn 30, 35 or 40. If you are approaching 40 and have procrastinated, it's time for a gut check.
The experts say that the average career in one company is less than seven years. Essentially that means you could be at four or five companies throughout your career. And like you've just discovered, that could mean you may have several RSPs, pensions, employee stock plans or other savings accounts associated with those old jobs.
Reduce the length of time pensioners collect. The Auditor General noted that one of the biggest problems with the pension plans is that pensioners are living longer and collecting more and more benefits. It's not likely they will be willing to voluntarily give up their entitlements but steps can be taken to lower their life expectancy.
It's that time of year again, when local governments across B.C. grit their teeth and post their annual statements of financial information for all and sundry. Depending upon your perspective, they're either a veritable treasure trove of news stories or a minefield of PR disasters waiting to happen.
In a speech in Toronto a couple of weeks ago, Kevin Sorensen, Minister of State for Finance, introduced details of a new "hybrid" pension plan proposed for all federal workers and other corporations under federal pension regulation. He referred to these proposed plans as Target Benefit Pension Plans.
Now, in Australia, you get a lump sum pay-out (hardly any Aussies annuitize their lump sum). Once again, you have to manage your retirement on your own. Now, even if you knew exactly when you were going to die, this would be difficult, but when you have no idea of your personal life expectancy, this is a problem beyond the capabilities of the average Canadian.
Canadians are certainly living longer, healthier lives but not everyone. Twenty four percent of seniors have multiple chronic conditions and take on average 5 different prescription meds. Older workers who lost their jobs in the late 1990s had three times as much difficulty getting new ones as their younger counterparts and they either got jobs within the first two years or not at all.
The employer groups that vehemently oppose CPP hikes mostly don't offer any pension support for their employees. And their arguments are increasingly hysterical. They are still calling any CPP increase a "job killer" and managed to convince the junior minister of Finance to parrot their talking points.
Faced with the level of debt many seniors are currently carrying and the significantly underfunded retirement savings of many Canadians, the "fraying" of the CPP is a matter that needs addressing. If left unchecked, its impact could be on the national economy and not just the individual families affected.
The solutions are to either improve government transfers or to improve access to viable retirement savings vehicles. So what has Canada done? The opposite. In the name of more sustainable government budgets, the eligibility age for OAS has been raised from 65 to 67 leaving those who cannot hang on for the extra two years without a safety net.
Just months ago, the Minister for Veterans Affairs stood in a Legion in London, Ontario and promised members that soldiers would no longer be cut loose. Clearly, that practice continues. I am calling upon the government to stop giving weak excuses and apologise to these Canadian heroes who have been dismissed because of the Conservative government's efforts to balance the budget.
"Peer groups" is a basket of similar or larger companies compared to one company, and "benchmarking" is a decision to pay a CEO at the 50th, 75th or 90th percentile of other CEOs. average. This one issue -- benchmarking against peer groups -- has been responsible for CEO pay increases more than any other.
Recently, Treasury Board President Tony Clement reportedly floated a trial balloon which would see federal government retirees' annual health insurance premiums double. For my family, that would mean an extra $500 expense -- an amount which will add up to thousands of dollars over my lifetime. I deliberately chose to leave the private sector and join the government based on what was on offer.
I am writing an open letter to urge you to show leadership and honour your commitment to meet and work with the provinces to provide Canadians with the opportunity to increase their retirement investments in the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). You have the opportunity to do the right thing and improve the pension savings of all working Canadians in this country.
Last night Obama needed to win. There really was no other option. Obama was so on (and then some) that you could feel Bill Maher's elation when he tweeted about the return of the "Black Ninja." Then it got seriously real when the issue of energy and drilling companies motivated both to pretty much get into each other's grills creating one of many unexpected and unforgettable moments. Moments such as a woman named Lorraine. Or was it Lorianne? In fact, there was a binder full of women. Romney attempting to spike the ball by asking Obama repeatedly if he has in fact checked his (much smaller) pension. And Michelle and Ann's fashion blunder.