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Retirement in Canada: Impact Of The Coronavirus Pandemic

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With Canadians grappling with the global COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout, planning for retirement has become increasingly complex.

Plans of early retirement for some Canadians have been crushed as employment security drops and many have been laid off due to the virus, years ahead of when they planned to leave their employer. Many Canadian workers will need to keep their full-time employment (if they can) in order to retain savings for retirement and continue to cover living expenses.

Those who are laid off and on CERB are only eligible to claim the benefit for 16 weeks, and the program is scheduled to end September 26, 2020. After this, those who aren’t returning to their past employer will need to seek new jobs in order to cover living expenses. In chaotic and stressful times like this, saving for retirement becomes and after-thought as the priority switches to surviving day-to-day and having enough money to cover bill payments and expenses.

Once the coronavirus passes, new employment jobs will be harder to find since there will be high demand for work, with not enough supply. If you are unemployed, expect to find types of work that will likely be freelance, shorter-term contract, and “gig” style jobs.

As the average retirement age creeps up, what will emerge as the best retirement options in this ‘new normal’?

The financial planning industry is giving a lot more advise these days, with advisors calling clients to reassure them that the markets will bounce back. Here at Pension Solutions Canada, we send a weekly economic update newsletter to keep our clients up-to-date.

One message is clear: don’t sell. You don’t want to be selling when the markets are depressed. Pension assets are good preservers of capital. The funds that we recommend to our clients are up vs global markets, which are down overall.

During an unprecedented crisis like this, the ability to forecast economic markets is difficult. Oil prices, we don’t know where they are headed. Liquidity, US treasury is backing corporate bonds, the general feeling is GDP is going to go down 3rd and 4th quarter but there are expectations that there will be a rebound in 2021.

Our portfolio managers are stock pickers. They do this for a living and are really good at it. They are picking sectors that will come through, with a heavy focus right now in healthcare and tech, and clearly avoiding airline, travel, and cruise ship sectors.

If you are unsure what to do next with your retirement planning, or were recently laid off by your employer due to COVID-19 and unsure what to do with your defined-benefit pension, the team at Pension Solutions Canada is here to help. We specialize in helping individuals prepare for retirement. Let us assess and review your pension, commuted value, and help you with retirement planning. Call us at 1-888-554-6661.

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