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May 10, 2022

Rising Wealth of Canadians Boosts Retirement – For Some

  • Canadians nearing retirement age have seen a doubling in the median value of both their assets and net worth since 1999, and real median family incomes were up 1.2 times, making retirement prospects seem rosier – but not equally for all, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute report.
  • In “The Evolving Wealth of Canadians: Who Is Better Fixed for Retirement? Who is Not?” author Bob Baldwin looks at wealth of Canadians approaching retirement from 1999 to 2019. At a general level, one can’t help but be impressed by the substantial increase in total assets, net worth and retirement wealth of age groups approaching retirement age, writes Baldwin, who is Chair of the Pension Policy Council at the C.D. Howe Institute. “Even though much of this increase is offset by the rising cost (to date) of a dollar of retirement income, it is not totally offset. Thus, it is reasonable to believe that retirement incomes will improve for many from current levels that are certainly satisfactory – but not perfect.” Adds Baldwin: “It is equally clear, however, that there are subsets of the population for whom this generalization does not hold.”
  • Baldwin warns that a full one-quarter of Canadians aged 45 – 64  have no private retirement assets and the median RRSP and TFSA wealth accumulations for people who are not participating in workplace pension plans (WPPs) is low. “These realities suggest that a minority of the future elderly may have trouble maintaining their standard of living in retirement,” says Baldwin.
Bob Baldwin

Bob Baldwin is an Ottawa based consultant who has worked on pension issues for more than 30 years. He worked for the Canadian Labour Congress for all but three years from 1976 to 2005 – the last 10 as the Director of Social and Economic Policy.