Saving for retirement easier said than done

Concerns regarding Stephen Harper's transformations to Canada's pension plan.

I’m at that age, like so many readers of the Trail Daily Times, that all this talk about pensions has me apprehensive.

I’ve tried to set aside a bit of money over the years but reality and life keep getting in the way. Bills pop up, kids grow up, cars grow old and appliances break down.

All those things, and many more, take a bite out of anything that was earmarked “for the future.”

Now of course, pensions are a hot topic across the country thanks to our Prime Minister’s announcement in Switzerland of all places.

He’s planning a major transformation for Canada’s pension plan. It’s something I certainly don’t recall him addressing during his election campaign last spring but that doesn’t really matter in today’s political rulebook.

I agree there has to be some discussion about the future finances for the aging population but with this government I’m afraid discussion isn’t on the agenda.

There’s already a public backlash regarding the Conservatives idea of raising the Old Age Security (OAS) threshold from 65-years-old to 67. Harper’s reasoning is that the price tag for OAS will balloon in the next 20 years.

It always amazes me how confidently politicians can predict the future but when things happen, like the current economic slump or budget shortfalls, they claim they failed to see it coming or couldn’t do anything to prevent it.

I guess in the political realm foresight is 20-20 but hindsight is in the eye of the beholder.

Now banks are starting to tell us we need to start saving more because they believe we are too dependent on our employer plans, the country’s pension plan and Old Age Security.

Am I missing something or wasn’t the purpose of all of the above to help us in our retirement? Now we’re told not to depend on them but keep contributing anyway.

Oh yeah and no word yet on MP pension reform.

To recap our federal government, which runs billion-dollar deficits, is telling us to spend wisely. Bankers, who make more in a year than the average person does in a lifetime, are telling us to save more money.

It’s like Eric Clapton telling us playing guitar isn’t that hard. Or Tiger Woods saying golf is an easy game to master.

Now at the other end of the spectrum, another report released last month had health specialists warning us that we’re spending too much time working and need to balance our time at work with our time at play.

The theory is too much time spent at work will send us to an early grave.

It touched on yet another report that showed people who retire before 65 can expect to live longer and healthier than those who work right up until their final day of eligibility.

So there you have it.

The people who care about our health warn us too much work isn’t good for our health or our future.

The people who care about money tell us to work more and put more away for the years ahead.

How do you know which is the right way?  I try to do the best I can when it comes to preparing for the future but am I doing enough? On top of that I have today’s bills to pay too.

As always wisdom is found from those who have been through the ups and downs of life and most of the time that means our parents.  I once asked my Dad how much he had in RRSPs when he retired in the mid-80s. Raising seven kids with a single income and going from a farmer to a government job, he laughed at the thought of saving anything for his retirement.

He had a government pension from his years with the agricultural department and the mortgage was long paid off. The OAS kicked in for my parents and that’s how they lived the final decades of their lives in relative, but certainly not extravagant, comfort.

“You don’t need a lot,” he used to say to me, “As long as you have your health and a crib board.”

So that’s how I try to balance all the talk from the doomsayers about my retirement years and the money grubbing federal politicians who love to make plans for our money but recoil at the thought of touching theirs.

You can’t control the future, that’s a given. But you can take care of the present.

So that money that was supposed to go in my retirement savings this month? Well I’m taking some to enjoy time with my loved ones, a little bit to go skiing and some for my aquatic centre pass. I consider it an investment in my health instead of some company’s mutual fund plan.

If there’s any left over it will go towards savings and a couple of lottery tickets.

It may not help quell all the concerns experts have about my financial future but from my point of view I’m going to enjoy life while I can and not spend the next 15 years worrying if I will.

Just Posted

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Most Read