I’m officially old ... and feeling grateful
This morning I was scrolling through my online banking website, checking that all the required utility and credit card payments were set up on time and to ensure I wasn’t at risk for an overdraft.
Quite unexpectedly, I noticed something that I had never “seen” before: a good third of the entries in my bank account records for the last month were related to pensions and associated benefits.
I guess that’s the proof: I’m officially old!
There was the monthly payment from the Canada Pension Plan. The Old Age Security Pension. The Municipal Employees Pension (a misnomer, because I was a provincial government employee, but never mind). The health benefits trust that reimburses prescription costs for retired provincial government employees.
When I was younger, Canada’s “social safety net” was something I took for granted, perhaps with a little pride and even smugness. But it hadn’t become concrete and personal for me until today when I stopped to think about how much difference these payments are making in my life as I age.
I’ve worked hard, earned good pay, and saved for my retirement. I’m fortunate, and relatively privileged. And the social safety net is a big part of my “good fortune”.
I don’t have to worry about the cost of my prescriptions. I can go to the dentist and many of the charges are reimbursed. I can choose to reduce my working hours and not have to worry about my household budget.
In many cases, the remittances I made to these pensions over my working life could be viewed as “forced savings” — the contributions to the various pension plans were mandatory, and in some cases I had to put in a certain amount of service before the benefits “vested”. And my payments were augmented by contributions from employers or government, all combined into insured and professionally managed investments.