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Income Security and Stability During Retirement in Canada

Author

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  • Larochelle-Cote, Sebastien
  • Myles, John
  • Picot, Garnett

Abstract

Past research has shown that the Canadian pension system is relatively effective in helping seniors to stay out of poverty. However, the extent to which the pension system enables individuals and families to maintain living standards achieved during their working years after retirement (income security) is less well understood. To help fill this knowledge gap, we employ 20-year longitudinal data to track individuals as they move from age 55 through their retirement years. We use various measures of an individual's family income to study four main issues: change in income levels through retirement; the role that various income sources play in this change; variation in replacement rates through time and between poorer and richer individuals; and, finally, the degree of long-term stability in individual incomes. For workers with average incomes, family income falls after age 60, declines until age 68, and then stabilizes at approximately 80% of the income level they had at age 55. In contrast, low income individuals (those in the bottom income quintile) experience little change in income as they move from age 55 through the retirement years, largely because of the income maintenance effects of the public pension system. They experience high levels of individual income instability in their late 50s and early 60s, but income instability falls dramatically after retirement. Individuals in the top quintile experience substantially larger income declines in retirement so that income inequality within a cohort declines as the cohort ages. More recent groups of retirees are experiencing higher income levels than earlier cohorts, largely because of higher private pensions. Replacement rates have changed little among cohorts, however. Whether recent gains in income levels will persist in future cohorts is unknown since pension coverage has been falling among younger workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Larochelle-Cote, Sebastien & Myles, John & Picot, Garnett, 2008. "Income Security and Stability During Retirement in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2008306e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  • Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2008306e
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heisz, Andrew & Larochelle-Cote, Sebastien, 2006. "Work Hours Instability in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006278e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Drolet, Marie & Morissette, Rene, 1999. "The Evolution of Pension Coverage of Young and Prime-aged Workers in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999138e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    3. James P. Smith, 2003. "Trends and Projections in Income Replacement during Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 755-782, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Frank T. Denton & Ross Finnie & Byron G. Spencer, 2009. "Income Replacement in Retirement: Longitudinal Evidence from Income Tax Records," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 261, McMaster University.
    2. Finnie, Ross & Spencer, Byron G., 2013. "How do the level and composition of income change after retirement? Evidence from the LAD," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-21, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2013.
    3. Kluth, Sebastian & Gasche, Martin, 2013. "Ersatzraten in der Gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung," MEA discussion paper series 201311, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    4. Milligan, Kevin, 2013. "Employer-provided pensions, incomes, and hardship in early transitions to retirement," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-24, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2013.
    5. Finnie, Ross & Gray, David & Zhang, Yan, 2013. "The Receipt of Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) Status Among Canadian Seniors – Incidence and Dynamics," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-22, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2013.
    6. Kevin D. Moore & William Robson & Alexandre Laurin, 2010. "Canada’s Looming Retirement Challenge: Will Future Retirees Be Able to Maintain Their Living Standards upon Retirement?," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 317, December.
    7. Davies, James B. & Yu, Xiaoyu, 2013. "Impacts of Cyclical Downturns on the Third Pillar of the RIS and Policy Responses," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-20, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2013.
    8. James B. Davies, 2009. "The Effects of Asset Price Changes on Economic Security in Canada, 2005-09," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20092, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Household; family and personal income; Income; pensions; spending and wealth; Labour; Pension plans and funds and other retirement income programs; Wages; salaries and other earnings;

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