If you are planning to be a Senior Citizen in Canada, you need to get your long term financial plan in order this instant. It doesn’t matter what age you are, all of you need to get working on this immediately. Young, fit and invincible hipsters, middle aged has-been bloggers, those in the home stretch to probable retirement – get on it! If you have children, set them on a early course for being elderly by salting away some cash that they can’t touch until they are weathered. Forgo the latest digital toys for a while and max out your TFSAs. Being old costs a crap load of dough. Sure we have universal health care and plenty of other amenities in this nation but it isn’t enough. All the universality in the world will never cover the bills you may be faced with eventually. If you don’t want to be a senior, do the calculation with one of those on line “when will I die?” estimators and work on reducing your longevity. Take up smoking, drinking and partying like you used to. Eat entire packs of bacon and less kale. Leave your seatbelt off. This is all Plan B of course but if your Plan A is to keep on trucking, invest now and wisely. Be prepared for every eventuality as we are not actually covered from cradle to grave. Myth – busted.
If you don’t believe me, let me scare you with a graph. This is what the government says they currently spend on healthcare per age group. You will need to match this amount and then some if you are in the 80+ set and are unable to live independently for whatever reason. If no one has your back and you don’t have a plan, your life is going to suck without money:
As of the fall of this year, there are more seniors kicking around than children in Canada. This demographic shift is easily plotted by the number of Tim Hortons and Swiss Chalet franchises that have opened in recent years. The local mall rats have traded in the longboards for fully tricked out electric wheelchairs that don’t seem to have speed controls. The same people who may on occasion mistake the TV remote for a cellphone seem to be quite able to drive these devices like maniacs with pinpoint accuracy. Watch your ankles, you little scallywags.
If you are blessed with family, be prepared for an estate battle over the stack of capital you have saved to live long and prosper. Expect the unexpected. Soap operas and the movies get their inspiration from somewhere. Don’t be that inspiration. Get your will and power of attorney in rock solid order THIS MINUTE, while you are capable. Put some deep thought into who you would like to handle your affairs if you can’t. The forms are readily available. Here’s a link to get you started.
If you aren’t comfortable filling them out on your own, there are lawyers standing by who will gladly help you get your act together for a fee. The process laid out by the Attorney General is free and completely legit however. Why haven’t you printed them out yet?
If you have decided to rage against the dying of the light and have something resembling an estate, people will fight over it. Everything may have been hunky dory when you were younger and able but if an opportunity arises for the unscrupulous to take advantage of a situation, it will happen. Normally decent human beings reared in capitalism and entitlement will inevitably try to screw each other over for a buck and fight over your dusty knick knack collection in the hope of an Antiques Roadshow windfall. You may be completely surprised as to who it might be. The paperwork needs to be in order, taking all of this into account. Do it now or hit the bacon. It’s your choice.
Ontario is making an attempt to get it’s seniors care act together by scrapping the Community Care Access Centre System. These are the people your caregivers call for you when you need services such as physiotherapy or nursing at home and they will come to you. It’s a house call of sorts. The service isn’t disappearing but rather will be folded into the Local Health Integration Network System (LHIN), eliminating a layer of bureaucracy and presumably saving money. Getting rid of 14 CEOs each making $250,000 (and their lackeys) should by itself go a long way toward making more cash available for front line services. When a government creates a structure that is referred to by an abbreviation, the long term result is it probably would have been more productive to use the actual piles of dollars spent on it as supplemental fuel in a furnace somewhere.
In the wealthy first world, which is starting to resemble the movie Cocoon, the small northern European nations have come up with some great solutions to cope with the silver tsunami. The older folks in Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands have the best end run on the planet. Sure they pay a lot more in tax but if I could stay in a place worry free, where I helped to make the meals with my pals and got to wash it all down with a beer just like I did at home, then that sounds like a good deal. There is even a choice in Denmark where the government WILL PAY YOU once you have sorted out which option you would like. There are efforts being made in Canada to emulate these systems in something called co-housing but it’s not officially administered and to partake involves having had a really high income at some point as a health care administrator, teacher or university president. If you have never brought home the metaphoric bacon and haven’t kept smoking, you need to get organized now. This is not a drill.