Retirement: When and How?
Just like work, retirement has its own set of obligations you'll need to consider, ones that can have social, medical, legal, and financial ramifications.
- Under certain conditions, you can start drawing a pension under the Québec Pension Plan when you turn 60.You should also find out about the other pensions or benefits to which you may be entitled (surviving spouse's pension, combined pension, death benefits).
- Fill out your Old Age Security (OAS) pension forms 6 months before you turn 65 to begin receiving payments. You may also be eligible for the Allowance or the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
- If you've contributed to a supplemental pension plan, you may be eligible for a pension while still receiving group insurance coverage through your employer. Ask about your plan.
- In theory, a woman who is 65 years old today will spend the last 6 years of her life dependent on others for her care. For men, dependency lasts an estimated 3 years. See "Residential Facilities for People with Diminishing Abilities" (Source: La Presse, November 30, 2003). In addition, according to the Association québécoise d’établissements de santé et de services sociaux, although the number of hospitalizations has decreased for the general population since 1987, the number of hospitalizations and the average length of stay have more than doubled for people age 75 and over.
- In a survey conducted by Desjardins Financial Security, 39% of respondents reported they would not have the means to cover the cost of a prolonged illness. That's why it's so important to look at how much insurance coverage you get for the premium you pay.
- According to the actuarial consulting firm Mercer, just over half of all employers offer their retirees continued health insurance coverage. But as costs rise, more companies are looking to reduce this benefit. Be sure to find out what your employer offers to ensure you have enough insurance.
- Make sure you have a will that clearly expresses your last wishes, and, ideally, have it notarized.
- Put your last wishes for your funeral in writing. You can get forms for this purpose from a funeral home. The Consumer Protection Act prohibits funeral companies from soliciting "future customers" directly.
- Draw up a living will stipulating how your property is to be administered in the event of incapacity and what your wishes are with regard to medical care. For a living will to take effect, the person's incapacity has to be legally declared in court.
- Determine your investor profile, adjust your portfolio as needed, and consult a financial planner.
- Take a look at the features, advantages, and disadvantages of the main types of investments.
- Make sure you understand the relationship between risk and performance and keep your expectations realistic.
- Adjust your financial plan to account for any changes in your health and the expenses they entail.
- Take out enough insurance.
- Make sure you'll have a decent, regular income based on your life expectancy and any plans you may have to pass your assets on to your loved ones.
Residential Facilities for People with Diminishing Abilities
- Private, regulated residential and long-term care centers (CHSLDs)
The government funds these facilities for the healthcare services they provide. However, facility owners can turn a profit on room & board and other services. Rates can be as high as $1,758.30 a month, depending on the user's finances. According to the regulations in effect (section 516 of the Interpretation Manual for the Financial Contribution Program for Accommodated Adults), to enter a government-funded CHSLD, applicants must show that they have not transferred their assets to another person over the previous 2 years. For more information, visit www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca .
- Fully private, non-funded CHSLDs
Residents select the services they need, which are written into the lease. Rates can vary depending on the resident's needs. For more information, see www.indexsante.ca/CHSLD (French only).
- Private homes for independent seniors
Government of Québec Programs to Support Seniors with Diminishing Abilities
Tax Credit for Home-Support Service for Seniors
This tax credit reimburses Quebecers aged 70 and over up to a maximum of $6,045 per year, or $7,905 for dependent seniors. For more information, visit www.revenu.gouv.qc.ca .