Canadians have many reasons to celebrate as their nation turns 148 years old tomorrow. They can even feel a bit of pride in an area that normally provides a healthy dose of shame in the headlines: personal finance. Let's take a look at a list of Canadian financial accomplishments along with lessons we can use to help us become the True North, Strong and Debt-Free.
A new report came out this week that reiterates what we've heard from other sources a few times now: Canadians aren't saving nearly enough for retirement. The Deputy Chief Economist of the CIBC warns that without pension reform now, younger workers today will see a steep decline in living standards as they retire. The Conservative government has recently announced it would like to have a dialogue with Canadians about a potential expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). While this, in itself, is a purely political action -- since it commits the government to nothing -- it is worth looking at what the possible outcomes might be.
Millennials are a cautious bunch when it comes to their money. It's not surprising given the economic downturn of 2008 is still fresh. For many young Canadians, this market chaos was their first experience with investing. But it's important to let cooler minds prevail: avoiding the markets altogether is not wise, especially with so much time on your side.
Canadians are worried about their retirement. Recent polls show that among working aged people there is a growing concern that they simply won't be financially secure in retirement. This concern is validated by statistical data showing that a significant segment of society is having trouble saving enough. Instead of turning a blind eye to a known problem, the Government of Canada should be trying to help Canadians retire with dignity. Clearly, the time is right. All that is missing is federal leadership. Unfortunately, Canadians just won't get it from Stephen Harper, who has always disliked the CPP.
Think about how you feel about money vs. how wealthy people feel and if your belief system is serving you. If you currently have a positive belief system on money, ah-mazing. Keep it up! If you have a negative association with money, wouldn't it serve you better if your habits were one of a money maverick?
There is a kind of loneliness that cuts even deeper than feeling alone. Social isolation -- the lack of meaningful relationships and human contact and connections -- is a devastating affliction, with impacts ranging from depression to accelerated aging and the risk of early death. Older persons are especially vulnerable.Older people face multiple risk factors: a partner's death, disability, chronic illness, reduced or unstable income, loss of vision or hearing, frailty, fear of falling and fear of forgetting.
With another RRSP season squarely behind us, now is as good a time as any for reflection. The last-minute mad dash to make a contribution is generally at odds with proper savings discipline. You can turn anxiety around by extending your savings plan beyond the RRSP season. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind.
This week, the legislation that originally created the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) will turn 50 years old. The stated purpose of the Canada Pension Plan was to ensure all working Canadians have an opportunity to retire in dignity. It builds on basic Old Age Security to achieve greater social justice linked to progress in the economy. But Canada has big challenges to face in the immediate future if we're to honour Lester Pearson's ambition of a fair, efficient, adequate system of retirement income for all Canadians.
I've been lucky to have a fulfilling marriage, a job that I love and a life filled with meaning. But like anyone, I'm familiar with the stretches of hopelessness that can come when life gets to be too much -- or not nearly enough. I began sponsoring Alejandro in Bolivia when he was just five, sure that I'd be improving his life. What took me completely off-guard was the way that he's lifted mine.
While most people have a good idea of their assets and future income, issues of capacity to make decisions regarding estate plans are much less likely to be present than in older populations. An elderly person preparing a bedside will towards the end of his or her life can raise suspicions, whereas a recent retiree attending the office of his or her lawyer does not raise the same red flags.