Our Best Days Are Behind Us

Have you ever had a picture taken of yourself that you thought was unflattering? Then 10 years later you come across that same picture by accident and your first thought is you wished you looked that good now! The Canadian retirement scene is somewhat similar. As we found in Chapter 1, things are better than most of us realize. Despite low levels of participation in pension plans and RRSPs, poverty rates among seniors are much lower than for working-age Canadians. One way or another, most Canadians have found ways to retire with at least adequate retirement income and most recent retirees actually will be able to continue spending as much as they did while working.

But nothing lasts forever, including the happy combination of economic factors that created such a rosy picture for retirees. In fact, some of the factors that created the current positive situation are about to turn against retirees in Canada. The trends have already begun.

The Housing Market's Best Days Are Behind Us

The past 30 years have been a good time to own a home in Canada. In some communities it has been more than good—it has been a bonanza.

Homeowners in the Greater Toronto Area, for example, saw the value of their houses skyrocket about 500 per cent between 1980 and 2010, an astounding development considering that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose a modest 154 per cent over the same period. Other markets, most notably Vancouver, saw even bigger percentage increases. Putting ...

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