Income Security and Stability During Retirement in Canada
Post-war policies and subsequent debates had two policy targets: reducing old-age poverty and enhancing income security for the “average worker” after retirement. While we know a lot about the first issue, the second has received less attention as a result of data limitations. We take advantage of unique longitudinal data based on Canadian tax files (the LAD) to examine income replacement rates of older Canadians relative to their economic status when they were in their mid-fifties. In 2005, the replacement income of retired individuals in their mid-seventies who were in the middle of the income distribution at age 55 (in the early 1980s) was between 70 and 80 percent of their previous incomes some 20 years earlier This figure is at the high end of the range (65 to 75 percent) that experts generally consider “adequate” for middle-income retirees to maintain their pre-retirement living standards. However, we also show that there is considerable variation in replacement rates. By age 75, about a quarter of middle-income persons had retirement incomes of less than 60 percent of the income they were receiving in their mid-fifties, a result of differential access to private pension income. We also ask whether income replacement rates have been rising or falling among more recent cohorts of retirees but find little change. Finally, we report results about the stability of incomes in the retirement years. We conclude that year to year instability in family income declines for both high and low income earners as they age, largely because of the stabilizing effect of public pension income sources.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2008|
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