September 20, 2014
The best laid plans
According to many recent studies, a large percent of Canadians are ill prepared for a comfortable retirement, free from financial stress and the need to continue working. These same studies debunk the old Freedom 55 retirement plan from London Life. As The Globe and Mail put it -
"Looking back on that ad (Freedom 55) now – which was developed in 1989 – it’s not simply the younger man’s haircut or the older man’s jogging sweats that look out of date: The idea of advertising early retirement is also passé."
Each time a new study is released the percentage of Canadians who still think retiring at 55 is a realistic goal falls and the age at which most people think they will retire increases. After the global meltdown back in 2008 many Canadians saw their "nest egg" severely depleted, making retirement all that more difficult.
Home ownership is also strong in Canada right now and a large percent of the generation coming close to retirement have no mortgage, so they are counting on the value of their home to get them to retirement. The danger with that is that several studies have suggested that the value of personal Real Estate is as much as twenty-five percent overvalued. Prices in places like Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver have risen far beyond the reach of the majority of Canadians, particularly first time buyers, who fuel the market demand. Many predict that the bubble is about to burst and this will be catastrophic for those counting on the value of their home to fund their retirement.
In my opinion the smart ones are cashing out now and moving to places like Panama and Ecuador, where the cost of living is, for now, much cheaper. That is the only way that Canadians can actually afford to retire.
Just one man's opinion.