Personal Reflections on Ontario’s First Annual Pension Awareness Day
Today marks Ontario’s first annual Pension Awareness Day, spearheaded by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) to create more awareness about the importance of workplace pensions and retirement planning.
In support of Pension Awareness Day, I want to share why I joined OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit (DB) pension plans with over $25 billion in assets and cover why pensions are one of the most valuable savings vehicles.
To start off, I am a firm believer of pensions improving the quality of life in retirement. I have seen it first-hand with my parents who were both teachers and benefited from the security pensions offer.
After spending more than 30 years in the financial services industry, one of the things that attracted me to OPTrust in 2019 was the opportunity to contribute to the retirement security of our more than 100,000 members across Ontario – a highly motivating and rewarding experience.
I was also keen to work with a highly engaged, knowledgeable and diverse team of people who are passionate about our mission of paying pensions today, preserving pension for tomorrow.
Our DB pension plan is designed to provide our members with a steady stream of secure and reliable retirement income.
When members retire, they will receive a lifetime pension that’s based on a formula and isn’t impacted by daily market fluctuations. This makes the pension they will receive each month predictable offering peace of mind in their retirement years.
We also offer a DB pension plan to Ontario’s nonprofit sector and charitable sector through OPTrust Select, which provides retirement security at an affordable cost to employers and their employees.
Managed by our top-notch investment team, the pension plan provides important protections against inflation in retirement and the ability to buyback past service.
I encourage you to take the time to learn about your own pension or retirement options – as it’s never too early to start planning.
You can also check out our People for Pensions website for more information about the value of DB pensions.
Derek Dobson, CEO and Plan Manager at CAAT Pension Plan also posted this comment on LinkedIn today:
We know that the earlier we begin saving for retirement, the easier it is to reach our retirement goals – and the most efficient way to start is with a workplace pension plan.
A valuable pension is more relevant than ever to employee well-being. It reduces retirement anxiety and stress, and better retains top performers from recruitment to retirement.
In Ontario, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) launched its first annual Pension Awareness Day encouraging employers to proactively educate employees about pensions and the life-long benefits they offer. What can you do?
✔ Visit FSRA’s website for helpful education tips: https://www.fsrao.ca/pensionawareness
✔ If you are a CAAT employer, use our employer toolkit to attract top candidates with the power of pensions: www.recruitwithcaat.com
✔ Encourage staff to join CAAT’s member education sessions, which surveys show improve member satisfaction by 78%: https://www.caatpension.ca/members/planning-your-retirement/member-presentation
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario put out a press release recently stating more should be done to encourage Ontarians to save more for retirement:
TORONTO, Feb. 6, 2023 /CNW/ - A recent poll commissioned by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) found that 88% of respondents feel more needs to be done to encourage people to save for retirement, while 60% feel there is not enough public information available about pensions.
"Thinking about saving for retirement is usually not top of mind in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, especially for those just starting out in their careers," said Caroline Blouin, FSRA's Executive Vice President, Pensions. "As the provincial regulator of pension plans here in Ontario, we want to raise awareness about how participating in a pension plan can be beneficial to you and your family. Pensions can be a valuable way to help save for the future."
The FSRA poll also found that 78% of respondents signed up for their pension plan immediately when they joined their workplace and 64% said they contributed the maximum amount that is eligible for matching. However, 49% admitted they know more about their favorite TV show than about the inner workings of their pension plan.
"Given the current economic situation, it's more important than ever to engage with your employer or union to better understand your pension and what you are entitled to," said Blouin. "You could live up to one third of your life in retirement. We hope Ontarians understand the value of a pension plan, and the benefits of starting to save early to achieve personal financial goals."
To help generate greater awareness about the importance of saving and the benefits of workplace pensions FSRA is marking its first-annual Pension Awareness Day on February 16, 2023. During the day, all Ontarians are encouraged to take a few minutes to spread the word and engage family, friends and colleagues in a conversation about retirement planning.
If you have a pension plan, find out what type it is and if you can, take steps to increase your contributions if you decide it aligns with your plans. It's all about striking a balance between living well today and planning for tomorrow. If you don't have a pension, consider making a pension or retirement savings plan part of your job search criteria. If you are starting a new job, ask your employer if they have a pension or retirement savings plan. Your future self will thank you for having thought about taking action now. Our survey shows that 6 out 10 people believe the right time to start saving is in your 20's and that a workplace pension plan provides peace of mind for the future.
The FSRA poll also found that:
- Overall, a third of respondents (36%) retired or plan on retiring before age 65, a quarter (27%) plan on retiring or did retire at 65 years old, and less than a quarter (12%) feel they will never be able to retire.
- More than half of respondents (56%) know how much they need to save to retire comfortably.
- The majority of respondents (80%) have a retirement plan.
- 6 in 10 respondents (61%) believe the right time to start setting money aside is in your 20's.
- Those with a workplace pension (48%) is nearly evenly split with those who don't have a workplace pension (47%).
- The top three benefits of a workplace pension are: employers contributing to the pension plan (63%), provides peace of mind about the future (61%) and allows people to save regularly (58%).
The poll was conducted between November 11th and November 27th, 2022 and the sample size was 1,028 people across the province.
For more information about Pension Awareness Day, visit: www.fsrao.ca/PensionAwarenessLearn more:
- FSRA Pension Savvy Videos & Podcasts
- What is a pension?
- 6 Reasons Why It's Important To Ask About A Pension Plan When You're Job-Hunting In Ontario
FSRA continues to work on behalf of all stakeholders, including consumers and pension plan members, to ensure financial safety, fairness, and choice for everyone. Learn more at www.fsrao.ca.
I recently had a brief chat with Caroline Blouin, FSRA's Executive Vice President, Pensions to introduce myself and help them get the word out.
In case you haven't noticed, I'm a huge proponent of well-governed defined-benefit plans and think Canada would be much better off if all our citizens had access to a DB plan. MUCH better off.
And I'm not a left-wing communists, far from it, I am center-right in my social and economic views and fiercely, fiercely independent (Charles Taylor, Isaiah Berlin and other great minds are my intellectual mentors but I think critically all the time and read a lot to form my own informed opinion).
Also, unlike the Canadian pension elites I cover here -- all of whom make millions in compensation every year no matter how well they perform, can count on a gold-plated defined-benefit plan giving them half a million+ a year in guaranteed retirement income for life, and a golden parachute if things don't go well and they are forced to resign -- I have ZERO income and NO pension.
All I have are my brains and balls to kill what I eat trading and write brutally honest comments on pensions and investments and ask that pensions contribute financially to support my efforts (most do, but they should all be contributing a minimum of $5,000 a year and shame on them if they're not).
On top of this, I have a ton of health problems: progressive multiple sclerosis, Grave's Disease (hyperthyroidism), recurring sciatica that cripples me with unbearable pain for weeks sometimes, and really shouldn't be doing this every day.
Yet every day, I get up early at 6 a.m. to stretch, read, analyze markets, read some more, stretch some more, talk to smart people, trade, post thoughtful posts on LinkedIn like where I'm invested now and why that I posted yesterday afternoon:
So I get asked a lot: "If you're so bearish where do you put your own money?" I have no problem sharing this with you. I see the next 2 years being really, really ugly.
Right now, I am long US dollars. After an incredible start of the year taking risks in some biotechs and not sleeping well, the bulk of my money is now invested in the Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund (UUP).
I'm back to sleeping like a baby, recuperating from brutally painful sciatica, feeling A LOT better (will one day write a post on addressing sciatica as I hate it with a passion).
Next, I am waiting for the yield on the US 10-year Treasury note to climb above 4.5%, maybe even above 5%, after which I will put the bulk of my money into the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT).
Going into a crisis and with the Fed and other central banks still in tightening mode, I see a beautiful trade setting up for long bonds and am in no mood to risk more than 5% of my capital, and even that.
There will be plenty of trading opportunities along the way, no doubt about it -- like trading Tesla Long and mostly SHORT -- but you need to be really good to take advantage of those opportunities, and you need to stay disciplined and sweep the table when you're up big (and cut losses fast).
Most hedge funds and other alternatives funds will get creamed during the subsequent two years, I'm pretty confident of this.
Have a great rest of Hump Day! 😁
I actually did put up a post on sciatica on LinkedIn and it was extremely popular as many contributed helpful advice and I added more helpful links in the comments.
Anyway, after I finished posting my comment yesterday, this guy called Dave Jordan, Global Head Leveraged Finance at State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), who is NOT part of my 17,500 connections started coming at me in a cheeky way in the comments, so I crucified him and publicly shamed him.
If you're going to come on my posts on LinkedIn and try to embarrass me acting like a conceited jerk, I'm taking you down hard:
Did you catch that last part:
I suggest you buckle up and focus on career risk, winter is coming and if you're not prepared, you're going to get your head handed to you and SWIB will lose billions: http://pensionpulse.blogspot.com/2023/02/beware-we-are-entering-brutally-cold.html
Enjoy your cushy job while you still have it.
The gall of this guy, he probably knows the days of leveraged finance are numbered and he came at me to act like a hot shot and didn't realize who he's messing with.
I have zero tolerance for arrogant, snotty jerks like him and I'm surprised SWIB hired him to head up their leveraged finance department (buddy, don't you have something better to do with your time?!?).
Anyway, where am I going with all this?
Oh yeah, managing your own money is very difficult, especially when you're in a position like I am because it requires taking concentrated bets and when you're wrong, and you will be wrong, it stings ten times more than sciatica!!
Not to mention trading for a living isn't a hobby, it's a full-time job, it sucks all your attention away and it's mind numbing and stressful as hell.
That's why after 4 p.m., I want to focus on pensions and long-term investments, it helps me get out of looking at charts and price action on stocks and focus on the bigger picture.
Most people don't have the time, knowledge and expertise to manage their own money properly.
I even see experts making silly mistakes and track some good traders on Twitter, but at the end of the day, I make my own decisions and live with the consequences, and sometimes I'm right, like the first 6 weeks of this year, and sometimes I'm wrong.
And if you think I'm tough on hedge fund managers when they lose money and try to blow smoke my way, I'm much, much tougher on myself when I lose money and penalize myself like a self-imposed trading moratorium when I lose big.
When you lose money, you should STOP and ask yourself, Where did I go wrong? Did I read the market right but picked the wrong stock or sector? Was it vice versa or both? Was it something else?
The market is a bitch, a real bitch. Sometimes you'll be lucky and sometimes she will slap you silly and make you curl up in a fetal position.
I don't care who you are, Stan Druckenmiller, Soros, Simons, Dalio, unless you have experienced the pain and humility I am talking about, you're not ready to face this market bitch.
And? What does this have to do with Ontario’s first annual Pension Awareness Day, spearheaded by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) to create more awareness about the importance of workplace pensions and retirement planning?
It's my long-winded way of saying you don't want to be stressing about money, especially not your retirement money.
Trust me, life is going to bring you a lot of curveballs, on the job front, on the health front, on the personal relationships front, you're going to have enough to stress about, the last thing you want to do is add managing money to your list of stressors (even if you think you're good).
And with inflation still running hot, and a looming economic crisis on its way (just check out housing market, recession is coming and it will be a long and deep recession).
Markets are just entering the brutally cold phase of the bear market, the last hing you should be doing now is taking stupid risks with your retirement money.
In these markets, you want pension experts to manage your retirement money professionally, to diversify across public and private markets and to manage risks.
In short, you want to be part of a large well-governed defined-benefit plan which aggregates investment and longevity risk (so you don't outlive your savings) and that offers you peace of mind no matter what happens in the bloody stock market.
And it will get bloody, trust me on this, been a round a long time and the earnings recession is just getting underway (last year was an appetizer, higher yields leading to multiple compression, the really ugly part will be the upcoming historic and painful earnings recession, that's when you'll see carnage and fear).
This is when Canada's large pension funds will use their brains, brawn and might to scoop up assets on the cheap, and their members will benefit over the long run.
Since Lehman failed, EVERY single meaningful counter-trend rally in US equities required ONE thing to get stocks through overhead supply, QE* and promised rate cuts.— Lawrence McDonald (@Convertbond) February 17, 2023
*Balance sheet expansion by the Federal Reserve. Now the Fed is hinting at 50bps of rate hikes and doing QT. pic.twitter.com/Bx9NOQGVVA
Does any bull remember last June, when the CPI/PPI ran too hot and the Fed had to come out and tell everyone to expect larger rate hikes?— Mac10 (@SuburbanDrone) February 17, 2023
Because that's what happened today:https://t.co/FgHP1Ll3rq pic.twitter.com/0kKijXXsf4
So, on Ontario’s first annual Pension Awareness Day, take it from me, you want to learn a lot more about workplace pensions at OpTrust, CAAT Pension Plan and get a lot more informed on workplace pensions in general by reading about the value of a good pension.
Canada desperately needs a pension champion and if you ask me, it also needs a healthcare champion.
I welcome Ontario’s first annual Pension Awareness Day, spearheaded by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) and hop we can make it across the country.
It's really ashame how so many Canadians are completely clueless about financial markets and their retirement, trusting experts with their money who are equally clueless.
Before I forget, let me plug INTEGRIS Pension Management here:
About Us"We've built the best asset protection and tax deferring vehicle in Canada"— Jean-Pierre Laporte, CEO
What is INTEGRIS Pension Management Corporation?
Offers incorporated business professionals (and C-Suite Executives) the most tax-effective way of saving for the future. INTEGRIS acts as a fiduciary between government and regulated companies in Canada to provide its clients with a high caliber Personal Pension Plan (PPP®). While INTEGRIS does not invest assets, it designs and implements pension strategies tailored to the individual’s needs and maintains the plan’s compliant status over a lifetime.
The PPP® is the most effective tax-savings solution permitted by Canadian tax legislation and generates the highest levels of wealth in Canada for its clients eclipsing all other savings vehicles such as TFSAs, RESPs, RRSP, and IPPs.
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