Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Your Pension Awaits...

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jul 29, 2009

Originally posted on Half an Hour, July 29, 2009.

Sure, saving for your pension is important. Or, it would be, if you could be sure of having that money when the time came to retire. I never believed it.I used to complain about pension plans - especially mandated pension plans - because, I would say, "they'll just steal it from me."

People said I was being paranoid. Others would just laugh at me, as though it were a joke.

I had an RRSP - it was one of those manditory locked-in RRSPs, that I couldn't cash. So I had it in mutual funds. The bank waited until the market crashed, then (without giving me any option) converted it to cash. That was the TD Bank. My total savings from all my work prior to 2001 is now sitting as $10,000 cash. That I still can't touch.

Of course, I, at least, have something. Even those who have managed to avoid the shysters and the banks and the crooks are still in trouble. Consider CanWest employees. "It’s not clear whether that’s because of the market and/or low interest rates or because Canwest hasn’t been meeting its pension payments. No matter the cause, the retirees have been told that Canwest has no plans to fund the deficiency."

The short version: bye bye pension.

There's going to be a lot more of this, because what has happened, by and large, is that companies collected this pension money, and then spent it. Oh, they didn't say they spent it. It doesn't show up on the books as having been spent. But when it comes time to0 actually pay it, mysteriously, it won't be there. The company will reorganize, or be sold, or go bankrupt, and it will disappear.

People currently saving for their pensions, or in other registered investment savings plans, such as pre-paid tuition, or other education savings plans, or life and other forms of insurance, and all the rest, will likewise find that their money has disappeared. It's going to get worse before it gets better. And it will get very bad once the government has stopped bailing out its friends, and declares that there's no money available for income support, for health care, for education, and the rest. After promising that we could invest our way into income security, they will throw us to the wolves.

Don't plan on retiring, even if it is only a few years away. Take these last few years you have of something like secure employment and develop some marketable skills. Learn programming. Learn carpentry. Auto repair. Something.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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