Freedom 68?

Longer lifespans may force Canadians to rethink retirement age.



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An attention-grabbing new report is arguing that Canadians need to get over our obsession with early retirement.

Among other recommendations, the report by the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation suggests that we follow the lead of the U.S., Britain and Germany and raise the eligibility age for pensions beyond 60. Given that the average Canadian now lives well past 80, the economics are inarguable, and there’s precedent—pension eligibility used to kick in at 70.  If lifespans keep increasing, Canadians’  golden years may soon last almost as long as our working years.

The report’s authors do acknowledge one little roadblock: no sane politician is ever going to propose raising the retirement age, and Canadians, as a group, probably won’t be too thrilled with it either.

One comment on “Freedom 68?

  1. Canadians might not be as loath to vote for this as you may think. I'm in my mid-30s, and I'd be all in favour of it; I think my parents' generation has had an easy ride from the perspective of affordable housing, a booming economy, and generous social programs without high taxes. I think it's unsustainable, and it scares me that the boomers will eat up far more taxpayer dollars than they ever contributed. They might not vote for raising the retirement age, but the younger generation that will have to support them could be persuaded.

    Also, the reality is that fewer and fewer people have employer pensions; they're either relying totally on their private RRSPs, or they have at best an employer-sponsored RRSP plan that is subject to the vagaries of the market. They see that they won't have enough money to retire at 60, or even at 65. Not to mention that our generation started saving later than our parents, because of "eduflation" (the tendency of jobs to require more years of education now than they did in the past). So having entered the workforce later, we need to work longer.

    I think this would be a lot more palatable if we thought more creatively about "work." Technology should make it possible for white-collar workers to work from home. Part-time work should be encouraged and facilitated. Also, just because you can't afford to stop working, doesn't mean you have to continue working in your high-pressure professional job. Maybe someone who's passionate about crafts could spend five years working at Michael's; the money isn't great, but it might well be enough to provide for day-to-day needs, assuming you have no debt, so you wouldn't have to dip into your savings.


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