What retirement savings crisis?

Enhancing the Canada Pension Plan isn’t required because Canadians have saved enough, says Ian Lee, assistant professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University.

Speaking at Lancaster House’s Pensions Conference in Toronto on Wednesday, he noted that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says Canada has the third lowest elder poverty rate in the world.

Lee also added that the average net worth for Canadian seniors is $650,000.

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He said that while there’s always talk of the three tiers of the pension system, “that’s very misleading because there’s a fourth tier.”

Statistics Canada says Canadians have $9.5 trillion in assets. About $2.5 trillion is in pension assets, and Lee argued that the other $7 trillion is ignored.

As an example, he said if someone put a Canada Savings Bond in their RRSP, it would boost overall pension assets.

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But if it’s not held in a registered account, it doesn’t count toward pension assets.

“We have to look at all of our assets because assets equals savings, savings equals assets,” Lee explained. “We have to look at the totality of our assets, which is the fourth tier, which explains why we have one of the lowest rates of elder poverty in the world.”

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