Retirement is your social responsibility

Live for today, and don’t worry about tomorrow.

If you’re old enough to remember those lyrics from a 1967 song by The Grassroots, and lived by its ideals, there’s a good chance that you’re now neck-deep in your own personal retirement crisis.

For a host of reasons, the majority of Baby Boomers failed to plan adequately for their retirement. Just to make ends meet, many seniors are now working well past the traditional retirement age of 65.

Across Canada, the median senior exists on far less than $30,000 a year.

This article originally appeared in Northumberland News on June 5, 2014. To see this and other related article on their website,click here.

Because so many more of us are living well past 65, retirement in Ontario is about to explode into a full-scale financial crisis. Almost 1.3 million Ontario workers have no workplace pension. Almost all of Ontario’s new jobs are being created by small businesses that don’t offer a pension plan for employees.

At the same time, many Ontarians just aren’t saving for retirement. Experts say you will need 50 to 70 per cent of your pre-retirement income to maintain your standard of living in retirement — but many Ontarians can’t or won’t meet this target. As a result, they’ll have to keep working well into their so-called golden years.

Government and business agree that fixing Ontario’s pension problem is a priority. But to do that, the system has to change.

Susan Eng of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons is calling on Ontario to make workplace pension plans mandatory. She’s spot on and we couldn’t agree more.

It also should be mandatory for working Ontarians aged 16 and older to have a pension plan.

The business community overwhelmingly favours the introduction of PRPPs to Ontario workplaces and we think that’s the right way to go. Both employers and the employees contribute to a pooled retirement plan and it’s managed by independent financial professionals.

And Ontarians need to start asking prospective employers about their pension plan and making it a high priority when they’re considering a job offer: Companies would then need to offer attractive pension plans to attract the brightest, most talented young people.

Financial planning courses should be incorporated into Ontario’s high school curriculum and successful completion of those courses should be required for a diploma.

Finally, it’s time the provincial government steps up to protect the pensions of hard-working Ontarians. Most Ontario employers contribute to a fund that insures the first $1,000 of an employee’s monthly pension in case the company goes bankrupt.

© Northumberland News