Editor’s note: crisis or no crisis

Okey Chigbo, Editor of CPA Magazine, introduces the features in the November 2015 issue.

As the largest cohort in history, the boomers, begins to retire, a flood of commentaries, predictions and studies about retirement’s future has predictably come pouring forth from pundits and political interests. Much of it generates very little light, and most of it only confuses the public. “People are not saving enough for retirement and if we let this go unchecked we’re going to face a huge economic crisis,” said Kathleen Wynne, premier of Ontario, a couple of years ago.

“The first important fact to establish is that there is no crisis for the current generation of retirees. The current retirement income system serves the vast majority of Canadians very well,” wrote Philip Cross, former chief economic analyst at Statistics Canada in “The Reality of Retirement Income in Canada,” an April 2014 Fraser Institute paper.

Well. So what’s the truth about retirement in this age when the boomers seem poised to transform retirement like they did other parts of the economy and society? We don’t know, and that’s why we decided to produce a special issue on the topic. The issue does not necessarily answer the questions posed by Wynne and Cross, but we look at retirement from an overall perspective and examine the ways things have and will change.

For our first story (“You Can Get What You Want,”) we sent interim assistant French editor and economic specialist Yan Barcelo to speak to experts and find out the effect on western countries, especially the US and Canada, of the mass retirement of the boomer generation. There is some evidence that the retirement of boomers in Japan, which occurred earlier than of those in the West, is in part responsible for the long decade of recession/depression in the former leader of the Asian Tigers.

“What impact will such a drain on the labour force have on the economy and on government revenues and spending?” Barcelo asks. “Economists and forecasters agree that it will be significant. But how significant?” Find out what the experts say about this important issue that may affect everyone.

Since most provinces in Canada ended mandatory retirement, many people have chosen to work past the old retirement age of 65. A few have worked up until 80 like Larry Campbell, who appears in our story “Going the Distance,”, by Susan Smith. She asks if it is possible for most people to work indefinitely. Can the human body take it, or does it begin to show signs of wear and tear after a certain age? Smith asks a number of experts and, not surprisingly, the issue is more complex than it appears at first blush. Learn more by reading this informative story.