– Our national public pension plan is the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) which covers everyone except residents in Quebec which, when the CPP was created in 1966 fought and won the right to create it’s own program.
– Thinking about retirement, in a couple years or more? Everyone should know a few basics about pension plans. Public or private they’re important to understand when planning for retirement. I’ll share what I’ve found out about public plans here then go over private pensions in a following blog.
– We also have two national income support programs “Old Age Security” and Guaranteed Income Supplement”. These by definition are not pensions and I’ll talk about them in another post.
– When the CPP was created the contribution rate was set at 1.8% of our “pensionable earnings” shared equally between employees and employers. Today that contribution rate is 9.9% so in 2011 for example, pensionable earnings were between $3500 and $48,300 a year. At the maximum rate you and your employer each paid $2,217.60 to the plan. (If you were self-employed you paid both employer and employee shares – $4,435.20) This contribution amount increases every year because of indexing.
– You can start drawing benefits on the CPP at age 60 or as late as 70 years of age. The longer you delay taking payments the higher the month payment. Indexed to inflation your payments will increase every year.
– In 2011 the maximum benefit for a 65 yr old was $960/month ($11,520/yr). Most Canadians though don’t qualify for the maximum benefit as for some or all of their working lives their income was below the “pensionable earning” ceiling or they didn’t contribute for enough years. (Stay at home parents often don’t contribute while raising families for example.) The average monthly payment in 2011 was $512.38 ($6,148.56/yr). So CPP will replace only a small portion of a working person’s income on retirement, about 24% of the Maximum pensionable earning. If you earned more say $70,000 CPP would only replace 16% of the income lost on retirement.
– While your CPP benefits can begin at age 60 they are “penalized”, in 2012 it was a 31% reduction. (.52%/month prior to reaching age 65) Conversely if you postpone taking benefits your months benefit increases, in 2012 it was by .64% for every month you delay after reaching 65. So if you waited to age seventy (60 months) your CPP income would be increased by 38.4%.
– Apply those numbers to a 2011 retirees at age 60 would receive $614.40 a month ($7,372.80/yr), a 70 yr old retiree applying would receive $1,363.20 a month ($16,358.40/yr) double the benefits by waiting.
– There’s lots of other “wrinkles” built into the CPP and ways in which it can affect your retirement income, both good and bad depending on your individual and family circumstances. See a Certified Financial Planner, start sooner than later and monitor your plan’s progress regularly. Your most important asset is good retirement income planning.
– My name is Phil and I’m a 59 year old professional who represents a pretty average Canadian worker thinking about retirement. I’ll be the first to say that “I don’t know much, but I am willing to learn”. Follow my posts here as I start the process of becoming “financially literate!”