Only Child looks at possible changes to seniors’ pensions

Only Child contemplates possible changes to Canada's old age pension

Now that I have Canada Pension Payments all set up for pre-age 65 receipt, I have to worry about the Old Age Security Pension. So do other baby boomers rapidly moving into senior territory. Canada’s Prime Minister Harper is sending out word that he wants to change the focus and framework for the Old Age Security pension. Among other insinuations there is talk of upping the starting age to 67 and perhaps clawing back the payment amount excluded for tax deferral.

My late Mom and Dad would roll around in their graves. Probably their spirits are sputtering around, if spirits can sputter. Dad lived only a year and a half beyond age 65 and I don’t recall if he ever received OAS. Between 1965 and 1969 (Dad died in 1965), the eligibility age was transforming from 70 to 65. (Are we going to regress on this age thing now?) Mom died at 63, so she received no OAS. She did have Dad’s Canadian National Railway survivor pension and when she died I got the survivor benefit for a few years, from the age of 23. Now when I’m getting close to the so-called retirement age I could use that CN pension money. Too bad it couldn’t have been deferred until now. To paraphrase a friend, getting old isn’t for the faint at heart (and I add, “but all the money stress can kill your heart”). Another friend, an editor and writing instructor who has hit the 65 mark, said she probably won’t be able to retire until she’s 90. I’m looking at 70, to slow down in my writing, editing and writing instructing/speaking business. Not unusual for many of us freelance writers today. It’s a good thing it’s creative work and work which I love.

So, what is the Harper Federal government’s pension change idea? According to a National Post story (published Jan. 26, 2012 http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/01/26/major-changes-coming-to-canadas-pension-system-harper-says-in-davos-speech) and posted on The Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) website at http://www.carp.ca/category/news/carp-in-the-news/  Harper made this announcement late last week at The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This same story also includes some statistics about OAS costs estimated to rise to $48 billion in three years and to a possible $108 billion in 2030 because of the growing number of seniors. We seniors and seniors-to-be will increase our numbers from the current 4.7 million to 9.3 million in 2030. And Prime Minister Harper will be one of them. I know – he’ll get a good government pension, but possible changes to MP pensions are being considered. In the meantime, putting himself in our shoes might be a good idea.

Wasn’t there a science fiction book written years ago about killing off seniors once they reached age 60? That, of course, is not an option, and let’s be clear here, is not one suggested by Harper. But perhaps he forgets that we seniors and seniors-to-be are a force to be reckoned with. Many of us belong to CARP; we are baby boomers and it is in our blood to fight for our rights. We also have the capable and eloquent fighter for seniors’ rights, Susan Eng, leading CARP’s involvement in this. Check out links to videos of her interviews with Canadian media at http://www.carp.ca/category/news/carp-in-the-news/

Meantime, I’ll keep on writing, editing, teaching writing and speaking about writing…and using my CPP payments once they begin to arrive in a few months. Apparently there are no problems with funds for the CPP.

Comments anyone? Especially from countries besides Canada? What is your old age pension system like?

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Baby boomers, CARP, Old Age pensions, Only child, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Seniors, Susan Eng

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