* Advertising feature *
As more than 3.7 million Canadians approach the so-called “retirement age” their perceptions, expectations and aspirations about their next “life-stage” are as diverse and distinctive as they are.
In fact, many social observers argue that the word retirement itself is becoming increasingly irrelevant as North Americans are living longer, remaining active, and can reasonably anticipate several more decades of living.
I like to call it Life 2.0, a term coined by an individual responding to a contest sponsored by Smart Money magazine where they were trying to really capture the essence of this next stage of your life. Interestingly, the fellow who came up with it was an IT guy who described it as being like a new and improved version of the latest software.
This life-affirming theme is being reinforced in a new generation of marketing campaigns featuring forward-looking 50, 60, and even “80 – somethings” who share the conviction that dreams never retire and age is no barrier to personal fulfillment.
What a difference a decade can make.
While the challenges of Boomers have taken the forefront of media attention recently, the dynamics of Canada’s senior population are less known but no less intriguing.
A snapshot of these men and women over 65 shows a group of 4.3 million individuals, representing over 13.5 per cent of the country’s total population, with one million of them over the age of 80. That’s right – one million over 80.
What’s more, it is projected that the proportion of seniors in the Canadian population could nearly double in the next 25 years.
To those who believe they understand who seniors are and what they want, I can only suggest you think again. Here too, the tried and true assumptions just don’t hold up. Canadian seniors represent a cross section of individuals whose concerns, preferences and aspirations are as diverse as the MTV Generation.
The analysis of social researcher Michael Adams in Sex in the Snow provides a portrait of Canadians that runs the gamut from the most steadfast, frugal and risk averse to the most outgoing, experience-driven individuals one can imagine.
If there is cautionary note to the profile of Canadian seniors it rests on the financial side of life’s equation. Longevity and a sometimes passive approach to retirement planning has caused some seniors to worry that they will outlive their savings or not have enough to maintain their independence.
Fortunately, the subject of retirement planning and management is on the front burner these days among financial institutions, the media, and a host of special interest organizations who champion the needs of seniors.
As a world leader specializing in retirement funding, Seniors Money brings a broad perspective on the dynamics of the seniors community through our experience globally.
Over the past four years we have contributed in a meaningful way to the emergence of the reverse mortgage as a thoughtful, conservative and practical approach to enable seniors to draw upon the assets they’ve accumulated in their homes to remain independent, fund their future and do the things they value most.
What is a reverse mortgage? A reverse mortgage is a product for someone who is 60+, owns their home, wants to continue living in their home, needs or wants money, and doesn’t want to or can’t make payments.
For most Canadians, their home is the single-most important asset they have. It’s reflective in the fact that housing prices are at all time highs across the country today. In Ontario, home prices registered a 6.2 per cent growth last year and are expected to climb by 3.3 per cent in 2008. For example, the average home price in and around Toronto is well over $350,000 and climbing. Given this upward trend, it makes sense to take into account all of your investments including your home when planning for retirement.
It is our conviction that the reverse mortgage will become a mainstream product in Canada over the next five years – as it has in so many other countries around the world.
Ultimately, we believe that choice, independence, and a responsible relationship will be the key factors for the success of Seniors Money and its customers.
For our part, we are committed to be being an active voice in serving the needs of Canadians over 60. Retirement – or whatever we may choose to call it – may never be the same. With careful planning retirement can look however you want it to look – benefiting you, your family, friends and the communities we care for.
If you’re interested in learning more about a reverse mortgage visit the Seniors Money website at www.seniorsmoney.ca, or call the information line at 1-877-755-6550.