July 26, 2014

It's Official! Ontario Liberals Re-Introduce Budget
CARP's analysis of the budget

On Monday July 14th 2014, The newly re-elected Ontario Liberals re-tabled their "big ticket item" budget in the legislature. Ontarians will recognize the budget as being the same as it was when tabled in May 2014.

"Ontarians gave our government a strong mandate to implement the budget and the plan that we took to the people," said Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

CARP had already reviewed the budget to identify the most salient policies where older Ontarians are concerned. Since this budget is the same and the Liberals have a strong majority, we can expect the budget to be voted in. CARP expects the government to act on the promise of an Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. For readers who may have missed this in May, please click here to read more about the (now official) Ontario budget

Canadians are missing billions, and no one seems to care
You may be richóif only you could find those long-lost investments

According to the Canadian Press, there could be anywhere from $4 billion to $7 billion in unclaimed assets sitting in accounts right now. Four years ago I looked into the epidemic of misplaced money. Itís not just a case of forgotten bank accounts and savings bonds. Many people have also lost track of investment and mutual fund accounts... Read more

Canadian seniors better off but still want to work
CARP Open Letter to Finance

The article says that even though the wealth of seniors has increased, many still need and want to work well into what would traditionally have been considered their retirement years. One of the economists interviewed for the piece paints a very rosy picture of today's seniors and their finances. CARP's dissenting opinion is extensively quoted to evoke the reality of being a senior in 2014. Read more

Retiring with roommates
On the merits of shared living as you age

The idea of four older, single women sharing a house together was enough to develop a TV series that ran for years and earned critical acclaim. The Golden Girls was a comedy, but retiring with roommates could be a reality for more and more Canadians. A modern-day Golden Girls (or Guys)Ėtype setup has numerous benefits... Read more

Retirement or free degrees for the kids: Which comes first?
Guidelines to help you make the tough decisions

One of the great worries for parents is how to balance their needs for security in retirement with a desire to take care of their kids now and give them a head start in life. Every parent wants their children to do better than they have done, to have more opportunity and to be more successful. Education is one of the best ways to provide that foundation, so they put away as much as they can in a registered education plan (RESP) and hope for the best. On the other hand parents also worry about taking care of themselves. Families are forming later, kids are arriving later and many are reaching university at a time when parents are eying their retirement. Read more

The Membership on Pride and the Mandatory RRIF Withdrawals
The CARP Poll Report: CARP LGBT/RRIF Poll Results

CARP members identify as LGBT at the same rate as the general populace 65 years and older, and are just as likely to know someone who is gay, but they are about half as likely to have a gay family member. On the other hand, they are more likely than the general populace to know someone in a same sex marriage... Half want the mandatory withdrawal rules eliminated and fewer want the amount of the withdrawal reduced. When asked directly two thirds agree mandatory RRIF withdrawals should be done away with entirely. Read more

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A Perfect Storm for Retirees
Low Interest Rates and High RRIF Withdrawals Make for an Unsavoury Combination

In the name of getting tax money out of us sooner, the Government of Canada continues to force retirees to outlive their savings Ė pushing the elderly, despite their savings and frugality, onto provincial welfare rolls and out of their homes if savings dry up completely. A quick look at the the decline in fund balance and the increase in life expectancy we've seen in the past 22 years makes that possibility very clear... Read more

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CARP RRIF/Savings Poll
1. How worried are you that you will outlive your retirement savings?

Very worried

Somewhat worried

Not very worried

Not at all worried


2. Do you have a Registered Retirement Investment Fund (RRIF) or will you have one when you turn 71?




3. What portion of your retirement savings is or will be converted to a RRIF?



About half


Very little



4. RRIFs are designed to be drawn down by the age of 90. Do you expect to live longer than this?




5. Do you expect your savings, investments and/or RRIF will last you as long as you live?

Yes, I have enough to last my lifetime or more

Yes, with careful spending and planning

No, will need to supplement retirement income

No, will outlive my retirement savings


6. Canadians are now twice as likely to live to 95 as they were twenty years ago. Have your expectations for how long you will live changed since you started saving for retirement?

Yes, expect to live much longer than expected

Yes, expect to live longer than expected

No change

Yes, expect to live less long than expected

Yes, expect to live much less long than expected


7. Some say mandatory withdrawal of RRIFs is not an issue because seniors are free to reinvest the funds. Others say this encourages risky investing. Would current RRIF rules encourage you to take risks that you otherwise wouldnít, in order to maximize yield?

I might take on more risk in my investments

I wouldnít change my investing strategy

I would invest more cautiously


8. If RRIF withdrawals were no longer required, would this change your retirement outlook?

Yes, would change it for the better

No change

Yes, would change it for the worse


9. Have RRIF rules kept up with demographic and economic changes such as increased life span and reduced interest and savings rates?




10. RRIF withdrawal rules were designed in 1992 to allow the government to tax funds originally deferred indefinitely in RRSPs to help pay down the deficit. Is it more important now for the government to have access to this stream of funds, or for retirees to have the flexibility to use their savings how and when they want?

More important for government to have access to tax revenue

Neither is more important than the other

More important to provide flexibility to retirees


11. How comfortable are you in retirement, or do you expect to be in retirement?

Comfortable/well off

Have adequate means for my needs

Living day-by-day/cheque-to-cheque

Not comfortable


12. Have you ever experienced true financial need as an adult?

Yes, when I was young and poor

Yes as a grown adult

Yes, as a senior or in retirement

More than once in my life

Have always been poor


13. What kind of financial emergency would cause you the most financial hardship?

Death of a spouse

Market crash

Government rule change/clawback

Unexpected tax bill

Unexpected catastrophic illness

Unexpected shelter costs/repairs to home

Family member requires money


14. Where would you turn for support/funds in a catastrophic financial emergency?


Sell home

Liquidate investments

Social support/welfare

Bank loan

Non-bank loan

Second mortgage/reverse mortgage

Credit card/line of credit


15. If you experienced a catastrophic financial emergency, would you be able to go back to work?

No, too old

No, out of workforce too long

No, health problems

No employable skills


Yes, if I could find work

Yes, fairly easily




16. What is the most important way you can ensure your savings and investments last through your retirement?

Downsize home/expenses

Change lifestyle

Have solid investment advice

Control over withdrawals of my own savings


17. Some colleges and universities offer discounted tuition to seniors who wish to audit courses or pursue degrees. What is your reaction to this idea?

Good idea, seniors have paid taxes to support schools all their lives

Good idea, seniors want continuous life long learning

Good idea, exposes students to seniors, promotes understanding

Good idea, few seniors can afford tuition

Good idea (OTHER)

Neither a good nor not such a good idea

Not such a good idea, seniors donít need further education

Not such a good idea, schools canít afford discounted/free tuition

Not such a good idea, needs income testing

Not such a good idea (OTHER)

18. If a federal election were held tomorrow, which partyís candidate would you support?




Green Party

Bloc Quebecois



19. Where do you live?


Nova Scotia


New Brunswick







20. What is your gender?



Previous Issues/Archives
June 27th, 2014
June 6th, 2014
May 16th, 2014
May 2, 2014
April 18th, 2014
April 4th, 2014
March 21st, 2014

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RRIFs: Tips and Tricks
Separating Fact from Fiction

The Globe and Mail recently published a very helpful guide to mandatory RRIF withdrawals that separates fact from fiction. It contains some very useful tips and a helpful breakdown of exactly how the mandatory withdrawals work with regards to taxation. Did you know that you donít have to sell any shares and that if your spouse is younger you can use their age to determine the minimum withdrawal while still satisfying the requirements? Read more

Aging, Quality of Life, and Pain
Ask the Doctor

While certain conditions occur exclusively in older individuals, some diseases starting from a younger age will have a significant impact once we age. Aging of population results in increased demand for services and at times of fiscal restraints providers must rationalize their activities and structure, and organization of health services must be adjusted. Read more

Plain Folk
The Middle-Aged Guide to Growing Up

Iím a boomer, old enough to do have circled around the Gringo Trail before it became a ring of resorts and all-inclusive beach clubs. Iíve slung my hammock under palm thatched palapas on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with no one around to care if I wore clothes or not. One of these forays to the Caribbean coast, I ended up in Belize, shortly after it changed from British Honduras. I was looking for younger sister, who was staying in-country with some friends. All I knew when I left Montreal was that they were living near a place called Central Farm. Read more

CARP Member Writes MP to Call for Elimination of Mandatory RRIF Withdrawals
Customer Comments

Recently, a CARP member wrote to his MP describing the difficulties and financial inflexibility posed by forcing retirees to withdraw from savings regardless of need. The letter echoes the concerns raised by CARP and many CARP members. Read more

ACE Responds to Shocking Star Report on Antipsychotic Drug Use in LTC Homes
The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly's Informative Response to Toronto Star's Investigation

In April 2014, CARP Action online re-published a very important investigative report by the Toronto Star. The report exposed some shocking revelations about the rampant use of powerful antipsychotics in Ontario nursing homes. The Toronto Starís investigation found that many seniors are being drugged and sedated with medications - sometimes being used off-label - that have been known to occasionally kill patients with dementia. The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) published a response to the Star report in which they discuss the legal concepts at play and detail the ways in which the homes may be violating patient rights. Read more

Shift towards paperless billing and direct deposit will continue to alienate some low-income persons and seniors
Can Canadaís new financial literacy leader help remedy this situation?

This article takes a look at the many mounting challenges low-income seniors can look forward to in the next two years. As a snowballing number of large companies move towards paperless billing and Revenue Canada moves to eliminate paper filing Ė an increasing number of seniors are feeling perplexed and frustrated. Now, by April 2016, it appears that the Federal Government will stop mailing all benefits cheques and move exclusively towards direct deposit. Read more

No company pension, a tight budget (and a willingness to keep working)
Financial Facelift Series

The Globe and Mail is doing a series called ďfinancial faceliftĒ that profiles the living, working and financial situation of several Canadians that are semi-retired or heading into retirement. It features real advice given by professional advisors. The latest installment in the series features 55-year old Greg, a father of three (ages 6, 13 and 16), currently working as a consultant and earning $96, 400 per year. On the downside, Greg has limited savings and is still paying off his mortgage... Can he afford to retire in the near future? Read more

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