I have two members of my family—the important ones—who are turning 65 this year. And in addition to figuring out an appropriate gift to mark the occasion (I settled on Amazon.com gift certificates, as my parental units have appreciated that in the past), the momentous occasion is also an opportunity to see this new wave of Boomer retirees in action. And the issues they are going to face, unique to their generation.
My parents’ situation is a little different as they are retirees living in Canada, where—as I discovered on a visit to my homeland last weekend—the situation is still a little different than it is here in the United States, for both retirees and those still working away.
Thanks to a stronger banking system (with actual regulations, and such), the subprime meltdown never happened, and the Canadian economy—admittedly, generated by a total population about the same as California—was not impacted, though the global shakedown is starting to have its after-effects.
Canadians still enjoy significant pensions, especially the Boomers, and even some younger friends of mine boasted about their own pensions and well-established RRSP accounts, the Canadian equivalent of the embattled 401(k). The Canada Pension Plan still seems well funded and operative, with less of the hand wringing we all experience when thinking about Social Security here, and its future.
My parents actually retired nearly a decade ago and have been enjoying the pension benefits, though 65 means an end to their employer-sponsored health care benefits, which have supplemented the basics of the comprehensive and still controversial Canadian health care system.
Learn a little bit more about the Canadian system and you will find that everything you’ve heard is true, and is also absolutely untrue. The waiting lists for even basic procedures you’d have taken care of within the week in the United States (if fully and privately insured) are indeed true.