The value of retirement assets of Canadians aged between 55 and 64 without an employer pension is “wholly inadequate” at an overall median value of just $3,000, according to a new report.

An Analysis of the Economic Circumstances of Canadian Seniors, by statistician Richard Shillington of Tristat Resources and released by the Broadbent Institute, found that, among this age group, 32 per cent have less than $1,000 in retirement savings, 23 per cent have more than $1,000 but less than one year’s savings, 15 per cent have saved enough for one-to-five years, and only 18 per cent have more than five years worth of savings.

The report also found the old-age security and guaranteed income supplement guarantee levels are falling behind, and trends in income sources for seniors suggest that high poverty rates among seniors will further increase.

Read: 54% of Canadians saving for the long term

“This new data on retirement savings and gaps in support makes one thing perfectly clear: we have a retirement income crisis on our hands that requires urgent government action now,” said Rick Smith, executive director of the Broadbent Institute.

The report also found:

  • Only a small minority (15-20 per cent) of middle-income Canadians retiring without an employer pension have saved anywhere near enough for retirement.
  • Among single persons over 65 without pension income, the median income is under $20,000.

Read: Why decumulation is essential in retirement planning

“These findings raise serious questions about the policy needs for future pensionless cohorts, such as the adequacy of benefits from old-age security, the guaranteed income supplement, and the Quebec and Canada pension plans,” the report states.

“The panoply of public policies offering ‘voluntary’ options for saving, such as RRSPs, TFSAs, group RPPs, and the most recent Pool Registration Pension Plans, have demonstrated their inadequacy to address the shortcomings in declining workplace pensions and a Canada Pension Plan with limited benefits,” according to the report.

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