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The Canadian National Retirement Risk Index: Employing Statistics Canada's LifePaths to Measure the Financial Security of Future Canadian Seniors

Listed author(s):
  • Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald
  • Kevin D. Moore
  • He Chen
  • Robert L. Brown
Registered author(s):

    This article measures a Canadian National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI). Originally developed by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, the NRRI is a forward-looking measure that evaluates the proportion of working-aged individuals who are at risk of not maintaining their standard of living in retirement. The Canadian retirement income system has been very effective in reducing elderly poverty, but our results suggest that it has been much less successful in maintaining the living standards of Canadians after retirement. Since the earlier years of the new millennium, we find that approximately one-third of retiring Canadians have been unable to maintain their working-age consumption after retirement - a trend that is projected to worsen significantly for future Canadian retirees. The release of the Canadian NRRI is timely given the widespread concern that the current Canadian retirement income system is inadequate. Many proposals have recently emerged to extend and/or enhance Canadian public pensions, and the NRRI is a tool to test their merit. The methodology underlying the Canadian NRRI is uniquely sophisticated and comprehensive on account of our employment of Statistics Canada's LifePaths, a state-of-the-art stochastic microsimulation model of the Canadian population. For instance, the Canadian NRRI is novel in that it models all of the relevant sources of consumption before and after retirement, while accounting for important features that are typically neglected in retirement adequacy studies such as family size, the variation of consumption over a person's lifetime, and the heterogeneity among the life courses of individuals.

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    Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2011)
    Issue (Month): s1 (February)
    Pages: 73-94

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    Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:37:y:2011:i:s1:p:73-94
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