Blog #6 – We’re Aging…. And Other Things

We’re Aging

Anyone remember Boom, Bust and Echo by David K. Foot circa 1996 with an updated 2000 edition? There was a lot of good stuff in those books and I expect there will be new insights in John Ibbitson’s book Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline.

In Ibbitson’s Globe & Mail article of January 26, 2020 Older, longer: The super-aging of Canadians has taken everyone by surprise I am reminded just how important it is to understand and be mindful of demographics. Ibbitson delivers a big reality check on the economic and healthcare burden of aging and retirement in Canada.

Uncomfortable truths

  • Our society is rapidly aging, with a median age of 41 now versus 30 in 1982
  • We’re heading into the thick of it
    • The oldest boomers turn 75 next year, the youngest will be 65 in 2031
    • Those age 65 now will likely live 20 years or so, versus 4 years in the 1950s
  • Canadians are having less children, 1.5 on average today
  • In 1950 – 30% were under 14 and 7% over 65, by 2060 it will reversed
  • Median retirement savings for those with no workplace pension is $3,000. That’s it!

What this means

  • The tax base is shrinking
  • There won’t be enough family members, usually women, for unpaid elder care
  • Public healthcare and caregiver services will need to expand, which is costly
  • Canada will need to increasingly rely on immigration, particularly of younger people

What to do

Ibbitson suggests reinforcing the importance of retirement savings to employees as well as introducing insurance for long term care and home care. It is clearly time to have a serious discussion about these issues with your clients.

  • Start group RRSP plans
  • Look at the demographics of employees in the plan now and tailor benefits accordingly
  • Lobby insurance carriers to improve products for an aging population, including pre and post retirement long-term care, nursing, home care and specialized vision care services

This is a wake up call to all of us about the importance of understanding influences and trends in our industry and pushing for new solutions.

Your questions or comments are welcome. Contact me at denisebalch@connexhc.com or call 905 220 4260. Have a great week!

 

Denise Balch, Principal Consultant and President, Connex Health

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