Pattie Lovett-Reid: Are retirees in trouble?
We often focus on saving for retirement, but what about Canadians who are already retired?
The youngest of the baby boomers have now entered into that phase of their life and you have to wonder how it might differ from the previous generation, a cohort with what some might call more traditional values (cost-conscious savers who avoided debt). They regarded their home as their nest egg and in many cases, had pensions they could count on. Advisors were rarely used and decisions were often made via consultation with family and friends.
Today’s boomer often funds their retirement from savings, equity in the family home and company pensions. But their costs are very different and higher than they were for previous generations. Wireless costs for laptops, cell phones and Skype and a reality, and dining out and theatre-going are popular activities for boomers. Not surprising some are deciding to work longer.
Data that Statistics Canada released in 2016 showed the average age of retirement went from 61 in 2005 to 63 in 2015. Improved health and longevity is trending higher but could be seen as a double-edged sword. The longer you live the higher the costs and health care expenses likely to grow.
Today’s older workers tend to be well-educated and want to keep working. Some of this has to do with fear of filling their day, yet for others it is the fear of outliving their money.
Those in retirement will tell you they wish they had saved. But it isn’t all doom and gloom – there are options. Boomers have wanted to chart their own course throughout their life and retirement isn’t likely to be different.
Some may opt to stay in their home with help, others will explore retirement residences with graduating living assistance. Understanding your costs on a line-by-line basis from health care, to dining out, to Uber is imperative. The boomer generation is lucky enough to have resources, education and options such as selling their home to fund their future or borrowing against their home should they choose. As the baby boomers age, they will likely have a big impact on the financial services arena as senior care continues to evolve.
Ironically, with all the talk around retirement, the boomers will likely be okay. How they decide to enjoy retirement will likely be defined by lifestyle as opposed to age.
You have to wonder with all the reports of the next cohort – Generation X will so lucky.
This is part one of a four-part series on financially navigating the current retirement landscape in Canada.