Today, readers are responding to calls from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries to raise the age for collecting CPP from 65 to 67. The CIA argues such a move would help make retirees and governments more financially secure and improve the performance of the economy and Canadians live longer lives.
I have many problems with the CPP for a lot of reasons. However, I do count on it as a pillar of my (near) future retirement. I have a bigger problem when the gurus talk about changes to any program without contemplating a very long planning horizon. Many of us close to retirement (even within 10 years) may not have the ability or heart to make up those extra years. Start suggesting changes that take place over two or more decades, since many need to plan for retirement over several decades.
Sixty-five is a reasonable age of retirement and no Canadian should be denied the opportunity if he/she so desires. The most it would cost, even twenty years from now, would be a very small fractional per cent of GDP. I take issue with the premise that people are living so much longer than they were twenty or thirty years ago. The figures are greatly skewed by the lowering of infant mortality rates. They are also skewed by the fact that the wealthier you are, the more likely you will live a longer and healthier life. As everyone knows people age at different rates. Yes, some people are still vibrant, energetic and mobile at 65 but many are suffering from many different afflictions and disabilities which makes full time work a real hardship. Not everyone has a less physically demanding job.
These actuaries seem to think everyone ages the same. Makes me wonder how many of these actuaries are still working into their 70s and have any experience of aging. Some people age well and live longer but many just exist longer. Maybe these actuaries should get out and study aging in society and not just as numbers. My wife and I have found, now that we are approaching 90, that aging numbers can be very deceiving.
I am 56 and planning to retire in a couple of years. I have based my planning on the current rules so I'd appreciate the government not changing them now. My father retired at 57 and died at 63. You never know what is going to happen so I am going to retire when I am still young enough to enjoy it.
You can raise the retirement age, but can you find jobs or substantial work for anyone past 55?
Actuaries are notoriously risk adverse and this analysis is a perfect example. You want a payout regime that minimizes risk to zero? Actuaries would have everyone retire at 75. The logic is that retirement in the good old days was meant to be only a few years and now that people are living longer we can easily up the age. What this logic overlooks is that CPP is not a government benefit. It is a pooled risk pension plan that we all paid into. We paid into it with published guidelines on contributions and benefits. The CPP fund is currently robust and is not running out of money - so paws off! This move by the actuaries is exactly why I took CPP early. You want to encourage everyone to take CPP early then keep up this sort of ridiculous drumbeat.
Yes, life expectancy is increasing. What isn't getting better is quality of life. Sorry, Rob, but I retired young because of that. Maybe doctors will be able to keep my old bones above ground for ten years longer than they did my father's, but I'll just bet that even if I have some marbles left by then, I will be a mass of aches and pains. You can have it. I chose happiness over wealth since I really don't know how many good years I have left, and while my job paid well and was interesting, it wasn't my prime motivation in life. I will happily take reduced OAS/CPP benefits while I can still spend them, and great bolshy yarblockos to the economy if my dropping out of the workforce has a negative effect -- I worked hard, saved, and invested to get where I am, and feel no compunction at all about hanging up my hat while I am still healthy enough to chase some joy in life.
A lot of people are physically worn out by 60 and hang on by their fingernails until 65. Making them hang on until 67 is cruel.
Michele K in response:
And unfair, given that the promise all along was 65.
Wellworn also in response:
Also some people have family responsibilities such as elderly parent, chronic illness in the spouse or adult child, where the cost of care compared to the continued income from working does not balance. I do agree that everyone has different circumstances and if the changes are made they should be phased in over many years. The actuaries are saying this is going to happen so let's do it now. The actuaries are looking at people as a data set not as humans with lives that matter.
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