·  by Elizabeth Shilton   ·  Globe and Mail

But of Course You Get Less in Retirement. You’re a Woman.

Elizabeth Shilton is a senior fellow at the Queen’s University Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace. She is a 2016 YWCA Toronto Woman of Distinction.

Every Monday morning, a Toronto daily newspaper publishes a set of tables showing data on financial issues such as interest rates, mortgage rates and the monthly annuity payments Canadians can expect from financial institutions. There we can gauge how the various rates may affect us, according to our age and stage of life. But most Canadian women never notice the annuity tables – we don’t understand how annuities work and don’t connect them to our day-to-day lives.

That’s a mistake. Annuities are effectively pensions – monthly income streams purchased with retirement savings. Most Canadians do not have a decent workplace pension plan. For them, an annuity may be the best hope for a steady, predictable retirement income.

We should not ignore these tables, because we should be shocked at what they tell us. Week after week, they show that when it comes to the Canadian annuity market, women must pay a higher price to get the same monthly pension as Canadian men of comparable age. That differential translates into reduced comfort and – very likely – dignity for women in their retirement years.

Here’s the reality behind the numbers, based on the table published Monday, May 2: A 65-year-old woman who gives $100,000 to a major insurance company will get an annuity of about $474 a month, while a man of the same age spending the same amount will get $519. A woman who waits until the age of 71 to buy her annuity will get $548 monthly, while a man of the same age will get $603.

This is not the case with the Canada Pension Plan, where men and women of similar ages, with similar contribution records, get the same monthly pension. It doesn’t happen in registered workplace pension plans either, where gender-based monthly payments are outlawed.

Complete article in The Globe and Mail

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