With real estate prices soaring in the lower mainland of Vancouver, many Baby Boomers are now considering the opportunity to pocket the extra cash value in their homes, allowing them to move to a dream lifestyle-community, like Kelowna, Penticton or Vernon, years sooner than they had expected. The question is, "How much do I need for this plan to work?"
Canada is experiencing a demographic shift. Baby boomers, currently the largest generation, are rapidly reaching retirement age. By 2021, 17.8 per cent of the total Canadian population will be over 65 - that's nearly seven million people. By 2041, that number is expected to jump to 9.7 million, or 22.6 per cent.
The fact Firecracker and Wanderer have eschewed real estate in favour of an early idleness, and are actually of Asian (!) heritage, has turned a lot of newsroom cranks. After saving madly, living on air and investing their 500 grand (with me), these guys ended up claiming to be the nation's youngest retired millionaires. My callers? Not so much. The liquid assets among 35-year-olds who have been working for seven or eight years is breathtaking. There aren't any. Instead, all the cash has gone into lifestyle, a soul-sucking condo or repaying student debt. The kids basically have no idea what an RRSP is, or an ETF, and equate a TFSA with a high-interest savings account at the bank.
Technological innovations may be reducing our reliance on old-fashioned mailing services, but the European experience shows that postal operators can adapt without forcing consumers to shoulder greater burdens. However, this is contingent on a process of liberalization, privatization and increased competition.
Savour the moment: This is the first public pension reform in a generation and will go a long way to improving retirement security for today's workforce, 11 million of whom have no workplace pension plan to help them save. Younger voters, given credit for the Trudeau election win, might not have known it at the time but this is for them!
I did not get to usher my parents into old age, or really even into retirement living. My grandparents had all passed away by the time I was 19 years old. I have no direct experience caring for elderly people. As a result, I'm not sure what I can expect my own day-to-day life to look like when I am "old."
The Uber economy and related growth in income precariousness is a pressing social and cultural issue and one that needs more innovative thinking and action. But there's another side to the labor disruption underway: for highly skilled professionals, consultants, knowledge workers and accomplished executives -- the gig economy offers the opportunity for an unprecedented level of career control and satisfaction.
The Trudeau government's first budget offered hope but little change on increasing the CPP in our lifetime. After extolling the virtues of the Canada Pension Plan, we're told that the finance ministers talked about enhancing the CPP last December and set a goal of making a collective decision before the end of 2016.
We've seen this story before in the mid-1990s, when out-of-control deficits and an impending sovereign debt crisis led to painful spending cuts and tax increases. The government is wrong to make the return to budget balance conditional on strong economic growth. Population aging is already taking its toll on long-term projections, and too many unforeseen events can derail the fiscal path. Only tight fiscal discipline can balance the budget within a reasonable timeframe, protecting Canadians' standards of living from future large tax increases and cuts to government services.