Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Later Retirement by Babyboomers to Ease Economic Pain of Population Aging: C.D. Howe Institute

TORONTO, March 27, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Over the coming two decades people are likely to stay in the workforce much longer - by about five years - according to a report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In "Later Retirement: The Win-Win Solution," author Peter Hicks finds there will be a strong trend towards later retirement by babyboomers as a result of social and economic pressures, without any policy action by government to raise retirement levels. Delaying work-retirement transitions by five years would have large, positive economic and fiscal effects, the author reports, reducing pressures on growth, government finances and pension funding. Other gains in social well-being appear likely, if harder to quantify.

"The trend towards later retirement will significantly reduce, although not entirely offset, the much-discussed negative macro-economic and labour-market effects of population aging," says Peter Hicks a former federal Assistant Deputy Minister. "This suggests that compensating policy reforms are still needed but can be less draconian than has often been thought to be necessary."

While there is no immediate crisis to be addressed, a key reform will be to gradually increase the standard age of pension eligibility, says Hicks, in order to bring it more in line with increases in longevity. For example, it makes no sense to continue with a standard age of 65 for public pension eligibility when the average retirement age will soon be 68. Fortunately, the needed changes are not large. They can be introduced gradually, with little risk of negative side effects. Such reforms should involve gradually raising the age band at which one could receive C/QPP. Similar changes to the Old Age Security (OAS) would provide consistency in signals about retirement ages.

A well-designed reform process could help re-connect pension policy with the emerging social, labour market and demographic realities that are shaping our lives and our society, he concludes.

For the report go to:

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