Monday, 16 May 2011

Retirees over age 55 - money issues

Give seniors a break!
So much talk in the recent Canadian election about we older folks. Apparently, there is much elder abuse (I've yet to see the data to support this), we're all going to be stuffed in long-term care and we will drain our younger Canadians' finances.
Any elder abuse (financial, emotional, physical) is to be disdained, but many seniors are in their homes, finding fulfillment in family, life, and activities.

Hold on there.
About one-third of retired Canadians are in some form of debt, a report from Statistics Canada said. But look at the debt.

Most of us have been foxy about our finances
Most of us have with convenience or consumer debts, e.g., we buy on a credit card. This is about 25% of us but we owe under $5,000.

Among retired people with debt:

  • 25 per cent owed less than $5,000.
  • 32 per cent owed between $5,000 and $24,999.
  • 26 per cent owed between $25,000 and $99,999.
  • 17 per cent owed $100,000 or more.

But those of us in this group tend to have a good foundation in finances.
We're not hiding in our shells
moaning about the state of the world

We own our own homes, our income and education gives us a high level of net worth.
We know that education and means makes a difference in having good health. We do not have large debt, getting an education that leaves us with large loans, and no jobs. We got an education we needed, apparently with higher standards than in this generation. I've taught in a University. It's all about marks, not about mastering material.

Student disengagement, inflated marks and credentialism: University is not the answer to all problems, says author.
Afraid to peer over the edge

Is a university degree becoming the new high school diploma? Côté, a professor of sociology at the University of Western Ontario and co-author of Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis. (Excellent book, by the way. But I won't read his new one, Lowering Higher Education: The Rise of Corporate Universities and the Fall of Liberal Education. It's too depressing. I fought these issues in the elementary panel.)

Making ends meet
Most of us only have short-term debt, e.g., a credit card. Only 20% of retirees age 75+ compared to 48% of those in the previous age bracket (age 55 - 64).

Most of us are managing in Canada. Most of us will not be a burden to our families, or on the system, as the media keeps fearmongering!

Mind you, it depends upon where you live.

One in five seniors in Canada lives in a low-income situation. In 1998, almost three-quarters of a million
people aged 65 and over, 20% of all seniors, had incomes below Statistics Canada’s Low Income
Cut-offs. The proportion of seniors with low incomes has fallen sharply over the past decade and a half,
dropping from 34% in 1980 to 20% in 1998.
one summer home in Bala, Muskoka
retirees with money?
There are many in Muskoka.
There is wide variation in the proportion of seniors with low incomes in different provinces. In
1998, the share of seniors with low incomes ranged from 
  • 30% in Quebec
  • 25% in Manitoba
  • 19% in British Columbia
  • 18% in Saskatchewan
  • 17% in Alberta
  • 15% in New Brunswick
  • 14% in Ontario.

Most of us will be able to stay in our homes and live healthy, fulfilling lives. Those who live in poverty are to be cared for, do not misunderstand, but many of us are out in the community, volunteering, living fulfilling lives.

Which generation are you? 
Lots of talk about millennials, but baby boomers are booming. I'm on the fringe of baby boomers, and we're doing just fine, thank you! We are using the skills we mastered for our jobs in our personal lives. We're volunteering these skills to many groups who need us.
We're going to be OK. How about you?!


Olga said...

Well said. And nicely illustrated as well.

Red said...

One thing you often mention is volunteering, in particular volunteering by seniors. I often wonder about the total value of volunteering done by seniors? I don't think seniors get enough credit for what they produce. How much of our structure wouldn't function very well if it wasn't for donated time by seniors? So it bothers me when seniors are looked on to some extent as costly or problems. We are not problems. Average all of us together and we are extremely valuable people.
You realize that I've chased you to another post and a whole lot of research??

Jenn Jilks said...

Thank you @Olga.
Yes, @Red. We are, most of us, a glorious addition to society, not a burden.I am learning much from my latest client. He is very ill, end-of-life in a retirement home. Beautiful person.

Kay said...

True for Canada, but I wonder about the U.S. Too many baby boomers have not saved enough and health care costs in the U.S. are ridiculous!