Many Canadians struggling to plan for retirement
Published Tuesday, January 10, 2012 6:02PM EST
The golden years may be losing their shine for many Canadians who could face serious money issues as they prepare to enter retirement.
And to make things even more challenging, statistics show 11 million Canadians don't have a workplace pension plan, and businesses say they can't stay profitable if they offer one.
For many people, planning for retirement could be the biggest money issue they ever have to face.
Jeff MacIntyre, who owns Wine Expert in Kitchener, has been thinking about it a lot.
"When you start up a business as an entrepreneur and you have startup costs, set-up costs, and employment costs and you don't have a lot of sales coming through the front door, it's very tough to put the money aside."
He also can't afford to offer a workplace pension for his employees, "I've got to keep my costs in line, maintain my profitability. I think I am doing my part by providing jobs."
And those employees are not alone. Of the 17 million Canadians in the workforce, 60 per cent don't have a pension at all.
Economists say these circumstances can make for a serious situation, with most people relying on their own savings or the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security program.
But those programs were only meant to supplement a portion of a senior's retirement income, not make up the whole thing.
Statistics Canada estimates one third of Canadians between the ages of 45 and 64 will end up with a retirement income that falls short.
University of Waterloo economist Larry Smith says "That means a significant part of our population, as they enter their older years, is going to live in very constrained circumstances."
According to Smith it also means that people who'd like to leave the workforce at 65, won't.
"The idea of retirement itself is already fading rapidly…The idea of stopping work, going from a working life to no working life with almost no transition, that idea is certainly gone."
Those who often find it difficult to save, the middle class in the $30,000 to $100,000 income bracket, are likely to really feel the pinch.
Some say the solution is to expand the Canada Pension Plan, while others say the government needs to reform the tax system to encourage more private saving.
Frank Dakos, manager of the Investment Planning Council of Canada, says "I think we get so wrapped up in what our current earnings are and other life issues we don't think about the financial future."
Three years after he started his new company, MacIntyre now feels he is able to return to his regular retirement contributions.
He says he came to a realization, "When I became an entrepreneur I really understood that my future is in my hands."
That's a realization financial experts say most Canadians have not yet come to, and so even those who can afford to save, aren't putting away enough.
Coming up in part two: The different types of pension plans available and what experts say will likely happen to those plans in the future.