Recent surveys* reveal that a large majority of so-called Baby Boomers are uncertain about their preparation for retirement. Arguably, the have it my way? generation did not all follow in their parents' footsteps when it came to saving for the future. As well, some major bumps along the way (a housing crisis, a stock market crash and a global financial crisis) have reduced many retirement 'nest eggs.'
In a 2010 report to the Minister of Finance, it was found that approximately 160,000 Canadian seniors were not aware of the full range of benefits they were entitled to in their retirement years. In fact, nearly $1 billion in retirement benefits from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) have not been paid out to eligible recipients.
According to the Service Canada website, seniors may qualify for a number of income supplement programs that would help them make ends meet, including:
The Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) was introduced in the February 2008 Federal Budget and became available January 1, 2009. It is touted by the Government of Canada as 'the single most important personal savings vehicle since the introduction of the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).'
A bleak picture is painted by the findings of the second annual survey about 'growing into retirement,' commissioned by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Most retirees' outlook has worsened in just one year, and the so-called 'golden years' are beginning to look tarnished. Just one year ago, 39 per cent of Canadians expected to still have debt in retirement; more than half of those questioned now (54 per cent) think that they will not have paid off everything.
If you are a prudent investor, then you have a financial retirement plan that will ensure you have sufficient funds for the lifestyle you envision after you stop working. What constitutes sufficient depends on your ambitions and your hobbies, and also on how long you live. People are living longer, and it's not unreasonable to think that you could live into your 90s.
During any given time period, either greed or fear drive investment prices up or down depending on the mood of the majority of investors. During 2011, various global events have continued to weigh on investor confidence as the world watches and waits for the U.S. economy to regain it's prominence as the world's primary engine of growth.