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Planning for a long retirement

June 26, 2018

Our retired members are living longer and healthier lives than ever before which is a good thing! Longer, in fact, than the general Canadian retired population by roughly two years. So what does this mean for the health of your pension plan?

On average, after a 26-year career, our members will collect a pension for 32 years. While 32 years may seem high to some, it’s based on data we’ve collected from our large membership base over a long period of time.

We use this data to project well into the future to ensure we’re able to pay your pension. A few of the many factors we consider are:

  • how long members work,
  • the rate at which members retire,
  •  life expectancy based on our custom mortality tables and
  • whether or not you’re married (and your spouse’s age).

Another key assumption is that life expectancies will continue to increase.

Why are teachers living longer?

While we can’t say for certain, there are a few theories.

Healthier work environment -- Compared to the average Canadian, teachers tend to be more active in their jobs — you tend to stand and walk a lot more than a person with a typical desk job. Schools were one of the first workplaces to be designated a non-smoking environment. This means teachers typically tend to be in better health when they retire.

Level of education – Teachers are an educated group of individuals and there is a proven positive link between a person’s level of education and their life expectancy.

Less financial stress -- Once you retire, your pension ensures a level of financial security many Canadians don’t have. It turns out having economic stability – in both your working years and retirement years - helps to keep you healthier longer. In addition, 70% of our members are female. Statistics show Canadian women continue to have a longer life expectancy than men.

High proportion of married members – Many of our plan members are married and according to insurance companies, married people tend to live longer in part because there is someone home to call 9-1-1.  No joke!

As the ratio of working members to retired members continues to shrink, and life expectancies increase, making accurate projections is more vital than ever. These statistics, combined with all of the data we collect, are essential to helping us predict your future pension needs.

We need to make informed decisions today so we can keep our promise of providing you (and then your survivor) with a secure pension for the rest of your lives.