The Penniless Pensioner


By Robert K. Stephen

(TORONTO, ON) – Retirement? Is it blissful freedom or a penniless terror? I have been working and dutifully saving for some 27 years. Many of my colleagues have packed it in and retired and most of them are younger than me. Who is pulling the trigger on my retirement? Me or them?

So what’s the reality on retirement?

As far as I see it, unless I pull the retirement plug it will be pulled for me. Considering there might be a package awaiting me, perhaps their timing might not be all that bad.

The retirement decision is replete with fear and uncertainty. No matter how careful you have been with your TFSA, RRSP, and pension plan you never know if there will be enough. Yes, there are a plethora of retirement calculation tools out there, but they are based upon assumptions and, in this working world, assumptions have as much to do with reality as a slice of baloney.

My assumption is I’ll have what I have when the trigger is pulled and, most likely, I feel the trigger will not be pulled by me but rather them.

I really do not want to keep thinking about the extent of my poverty. No matter how much I have in the retirement kitty, or you have if you are in the middle class, the fear of poverty and running out of money overshadows any intelligent and calculated decision when to go.

We here at The Square would certainly like to hear your retirement stories. Or, for that matter, your near pre-retirement decisions.

I’m fearful. What about you?

Are you some smug fat cat with an indexed defined benefit pension plan or, do you have a defined contribution pension plan where you have no predetermined benefit formula but, whatever your return is whatever you have decided to invest in.

Even more likely, you have no pension plan at all and have to rely on OAS and CPP, which will put you in a poverty line not seen since the backwoods of Tennessee.

Let’s explore this further in this space. What are your hopes, aspirations, and fears and what are the realities you face?

Please let us know and write us about it. We geezers really need your advice!

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."Email Robert Stephen

1 Comment on "The Penniless Pensioner"

  1. Robert excellent article, and the way prices are rising every day people will be on the poverty line sooner than they think. The majority of people that could save for retirement will not feel it right away, but as the years go by and prices get higher they will feel the pinch. Our government needs to step in and at least give OAS the percentage of the rising cost of living, instead of throwing our tax dollars away. My advice to you is look at the money you have saved for retirement and add at least 50% more to be save down the line, believe me you will need it.

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