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Aging with independence: New documentary Never Too Old examines needs of rural seniors

These countries have the most generous pensions

National Pensioners Federation Email to Minister Tassi Re: MAY 29 MEETING AT CARP

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Aging with independence: New documentary Never Too Old examines needs of rural seniors

“Sweet little old lady,” says Olive Bryanton with a faint hint of disgust in the opening moments of the new documentary Never Too Old.
“A sweet little old lady I’m NOT.”

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Sweet, no. Compassionate and determined, yes.

As we get to know the 81-year-old Prince Edward Islander over the course of Halifax director Marcia Connolly’s film — airing Thursday night on CBC Docs POV at 9 p.m. — we get a sense of her love for her family and community, and her desire to improve the lives of women her age who live in rural communities.

We watch Bryanton pursue a PhD in education at the University of Prince Edward Island, with a thesis examining what can be done to help older residents live independently in their homes outside of major centres. And we see her work attract attention and instigate change.

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Watch CBC Docs POV: Meet Olive Bryanton

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These countries have the most generous pensions

Pensioners in the Netherlands, Turkey and Croatia receive more than 100% of a working wage when they retire. Indeed, Dutch and Turkish pensioners get 101% and 102%, respectively, but Croatians receive a generous 129%.

That is according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which analysed data from its 35 member countries and a number of other nations.

The data, compiled as part of the OECD’s Pensions at a Glance 2017 report, also reveals India (99%), Portugal (95%), and Italy (93%) have very competitive pension rates.

The lowest pension in the developed world

At the other end of the scale, pensioners in the United Kingdom suffer from the worst deal of any OECD country, receiving just 29% of a working wage when they retire. To put this into perspective, the OECD average is 63% and the average for EU member states is 71%.

Elsewhere, the pension rate in the United States is 49%, while in China, which is home to more than 1.4 billion people, the rate is 83%, OECD data shows.

‘Global timebomb’

Yet while most of these numbers seem generous, they mask a raft of more serious concerns. Improved healthcare in the developed and much of the developing world means people are living longer, and are therefore drawing a state pension for more years than systems were designed to handle.

According to data from The World Bank, retirees in the six countries with the largest pension systems are living between eight and 11 years longer – and a massive 16 years longer in Japan.

These pensions systems, in the US, UK, Japan, Netherlands, Canada and Australia, were also described as a “global timebomb” in a recent report by the World Economic Forum.

This is because these systems are expected to create a joint shortfall of $224 trillion by 2050, “imperilling the incomes of future generations and setting the industrialized world up for the biggest pension crisis in history”, the report says.

If China and India are added to statistics, the shortfall will reach $400 trillion, which is equivalent to around five times the size of the current global economy.

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EMAIL TO MINISTER TASSI RE MAY 29 MEETING AT CARP

EMAIL TO MINISTER TASSI RE MAY 29 MEETING AT CARP

June 12. 2019
Minister Tassi,

I enjoyed our brief conversation at the May 29 CARP event. One of the discussion points was the pension research findiug included in Budget, 2019.

I would like to revisit that point.

In Budget 2019 “In keeping with its evidenced based approach to policy development Budget 2019 proposes to provide $150,000 over three years to the National Pension Hub to support pension research focused on improving retirement savings outcomes for Canadlans and developing solutions to pension challenges. Budget 2019 also proposes to provide$12.5 million over ten years to the Global Risk Institute, founder of the National Pension Hub, to continue its work in developing new approaches to financial risk management.”

I explained our concern that the National Pension Hub/Global Risk institute is entirely comprised of organizations from the pension industry, regulators and government. There are no members representing the interests of pensioners; another unbalanced view of pension best practice as policy input. It is not surprising there are no pensioner organizations as members. The annual $20,000 membership fee is more than my total annual budget.

These members are the same group that have been unwilling or incapable of proposing solutions to fully protect pensions in insolvency. As you are aware the Canadian Federation of Pensioners. CARP., National Pensioners Federation. and Vibrant Voices have provided multiple potential solutions.

All evidence based.

My suggestion, Minister Tassi, was to put a restriction on these funds. That the National Pension Hub/Global Risk Institute must provide the industry’s best solution to fully protect pensions in insolvency. Not a litany of excuses as to why the industry is not in favour of pension protection

Has there been further discussion on this topic?

Michael Powell

President Canadian Federation of Pensioners

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