Retiring on a Low Income?

Many of us with chronic pain are receiving some form of income replacement such as WSIB or disability insurance. These usually end at age 65, if not before, with the result that our retirement incomes will be quite low [compared to our former employment income]. Do you think that YOU might have to retire on a low income? Will your income be low for a long time BEFORE you retire? Then maybe you need to start planning NOW!

Reducing housing costs takes both advance planning and strategy! There are both seniors’ & co-operative non-profit apartment buildings across the province, where the rent only increases to cover expenses. Some of these have long waiting lists but others are available with only a few months’ notice! Rent-geared-to-income apartment buildings [RGI] often have waiting lists of five to seven years but heh; you’re going to age anyways, so why not apply now. [These RGI buildings usually charge a max. 35 % of income.] There are specialized disability apt. units as well, fully accessible for those using scooter, wheelchairs and other assistive devices. The means test for these apartment units are based on an individual’s or family’s INCOME, not their ASSETS. 

There is one excellent web site designed for those of us ‘Retiring on a Low Income’ and that is “OPEN POLICY On- tario by John Stapleton” [www.openpolicyontario.com/retiring-on-a-low-income-3]. I recommend that everyone read it. It gives much practical advice for those of us cur- rently on low incomes. Its strength lies in advising us how to prepare properly for our future retirement! 

The following is an example from this website. Financial advisors are constantly advising people to put money into an RRSP but this is bad advice for those who expect to receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement [GIS] when they retire. The reason: money taken out of an RRSP is taxed as income for that year, reducing or eliminating the GIS. Money taken from a Tax Free Savings Account [TFSA] does NOT affect the GIS. Also please visit www.health.gov.on.ca for information regarding the Trillium drug/health benefit plan. 

Other topics that he tackles are: 1. Maximizing the G.I.S. 2. The advan- tages of taking Canada Pension at age 60. 3. The smartest way to save before age 65 4. The smartest way to save after age 65.