How Do You Feel About Having to Work to Age 67?

Numerous news reports over the last few weeks have been rife with “he said, she said” accusations over just what, if any, changes the feds are going to make to Old Age Security (OAS). Government lackeys have been quick to respond that nothing would change until 2020 or maybe 2025.

Now the first thought that comes to mind is why would a government that has a mandate only until 2015 be throwing around speculation for 5 – 10 years past that? Their decision, somebody else’s problem? Or is it just another pot-stirring issue that will cost us, the taxpayer, more money as future governments waste time and money implementing, cancelling, re-implementing decisions made in the past.

The most talked-about suggestion is to delay qualification for OAS until age 67 instead of the current 65. Now for me and for some of you, that would be an inconvenience, and certainly a frustration, but in the greater scheme of things no big deal. But we all know someone who has a physically demanding job, a job that is getting more and more difficult to execute every year as their bodies feel the toll. Other people have jobs with certain levels of danger that could put them and others at risk by forcing those workers to stay longer in the workforce. And as we age, many feel the chronic pain of arthritis, back pain, foot and knee issues and carpal tunnel. I can’t imagine any of these people having any feelings except despair and/or anger over a decision to make them stay in the workforce for two more years. The greatest OAS and GIC (Guaranteed Income Supplement) benefits are paid to lower income seniors. Again, these people will be forced to keep their low income jobs for even longer before they can collect.

Another huge frustration for me in this matter is the fact that the government is apparently planning on pitching this issue to younger generations, using scare-tactics like young taxpayers are on the hook for supporting a huge generation of elders! I hope those young people also understand that by keeping our generation in the workforce, they are locked out of it!

My question to government – this one and previous ones – is “Where is the surprise of the Baby Boomers reaching retirement age together?” Our “bubble” has been getting older for the last 25 years. Greater life expectancy might be a bonus but that too has been a steadily rising statistics for a bunch of years too. Why have they been so busy spending our tax dollars on boondoggles – we can all name a few! – when they should have been investing some money so they could retire us all off as expected.

Good thing I don’t have high blood pressure!

Photo Credit:  http://richardofdanbury.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/governhelp.jpg

 

Is This Why We Pay Our Taxes?

This video may be tongue-in-cheek at the beginning but the reality side of the issues makes me angry.  No wonder there is no money for important programs!  Check out their website too.

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The Attraction in Being a Renegade

The very first component of creating an on-line presence was, for me, a group called The Renegade Team. The Renegade Team is led by an amazing woman named Ann Sieg, and she seemed to speak to me right from the get-go. To this day I can’t remember where I discovered her but her free offer was called the “Attraction Marketer’s Manifesto”. I inhaled that and in no time flat I ordered her “Renegade Network Marketer“. It was somewhere within that publication that I had an incredible Aha! moment. I have owned home-based businesses before and I have joined multi-level marketing companies when their product was amazing and a good fit for my business… but I never really made that transition from struggling entrepreneur to successful marketer. Ann’s theories explained why and her solution made absolute sense. I knew I had to pursue this, and I knew that pursuing this would be my ticket to being the entrepreneur I always wanted to be.

Have you ever heard of Attraction Marketing? I certainly hadn’t. I had, however, spent many hours spouting company rhetoric over a product or a service that I did honestly believe in. I had spent more hours not spouting company rhetoric because I really like my friends: my ‘warm’ market. As I became a more familiar with Attraction Marketing I realized that in one of my entrepreneurial forays I had actually been an expert, I had been the person complete strangers stopped for advice on my niche. It was in the days before internet marketing however, and I certainly had no concept of Attraction Marketing. It sure hit home, though, that if I could do it once unintentionally, I could certainly do it again, intentionally! Especially with the support of Ann Sieg and The Renegade Team.

Curious if you’re an “expert”? Wondering if you have a “niche”? Have you heard of “Attraction Marketing”? Click the links and start reading!

 

CBC Asked How Are You Saving For Retirement?

I was going to preface this post with some thoughts but, knowing my thoughts about the job our government is doing, the post would have to go into the “In My Opinion” category.

I am giving you these links to peruse, but please start following some of the links and Vote where you can. The Votes results are “interesting” – some of the results may be depressing, but I was puzzled by answers like “I have no retirement savings” and “I don’t know”. If you are giving the same answers please let me know – I am curious about my audience and what their needs are.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2011/11/17/pension-plan-reform.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2011/11/how-are-you-saving-for-retirement.html

Up the road I will no doubt be commenting on the idea of a PRPP program.

It’s Not the Size That Counts

OK, I’ll admit it. The title was all for effect!

That said, it does relate. It is prompted by a theme in David Bach’s books. David emphasizes that it is not so much how much you make (it’s not the size that counts!!) that might affect your ability to move toward financial freedom, it is how much of what you earn that you keep. If we make more money we tend to spend more money. When you get a raise do your savings also increase?

If you are paying off credit cards, do you get it done or do you maintain your coffee habit, your shoe habit, your movie habit? Except for some bank cards, most credit card companies are charging double digit interest rates. This can extend your payback timetable by years. I challenge you right now to go check your credit card statements (all of them) for the last year. Add up all the interest you paid for the dubious pleasure of using those credit cards for one year. Email me and tell me that number and tell me what you would rather have spent that money on.

I think the first thing you need to do is get rid of your credit card debt. You will probably need to reduce your spending in other areas but it is just so worth it. Follow this next link and look at Canada’s top public companies by profit. Five of the top ten are banks. Did you help them reach that ranking? Did anyone send you a thank you card?

Will The Changes to CPP in 2012 Affect You?

If you are 50 years of age or older, you have probably given some serious consideration to retirement. As a working Canadian you paid into the Canada Pension Plan every year and watched your potential pension amount grow.

Starting in 2012 there will be serious changes to CPP adjustments for early opt-in and greater rewards for later opt-in. In my opinion, the government has decided to keep your money longer and force you to remain in the work force longer if you want to reap greater rewards for allowing them to use your money all these years.

I always recommend you get accurate details from a financial advisor before you make definite plans around your retirement income, but here are some of the highlights about the proposed changes being phased in between 2012 and 2016:

  1. In 2011, your pension adjustment for deciding to take your CPP at age 60 was a 30% reduction in monthly payments. This percentage will increase incrementally each year until, in 2016, your pension will be adjusted downward by 36% if you want to claim it at age 60.
  2. A decision to claim your CPP at age 65 has been, and will continue to be, an unadjusted amount based on your qualifying amounts.
  3. Conversely, in 2011, if you decided to wait until age 70 to claim your CPP, your payment was adjusted upwards by 30%. This percentage will increase incrementally each year until 2016, at which time you will be awarded a 42% increase in your pension payments.

It seems to me that the government is asking you to gamble with the unknown in order to claim money that you earned that they took away from you because they did not think you could/would save by yourself. At a time when you are looking to getting out of the work force and enjoy life on your terms; at a time when health expectations hold no guarantees and you probably have friends who have already lost that roll of the dice, the government is penalizing you for wanting what is yours. Payment into the CPP has been compulsory, just don’t expect to get your money’s worth out of it. Hopefully you will, but….. oh, and you’ll jump through the government’s hoops to get it. The other part of this equation is that your children and grandchildren are also being penalized because they now have to wait longer for your job to open up.

 

Oh, and by the way, did you know CPP is taxable income?

 

Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

This article appeared in The Guardian newspaper Wednesday, 01 Feb 2012.

By Susie Steiner

A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?

There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’.

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.”

Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

What’s your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?