Many of us focus on retiring by age 65 but the thought of living off the nest egg we’ve built, rather than receiving regular employment income, can be daunting to say the least. Good news. There are many benefits available to help you stretch those dollars and hold onto your retirement dreams. Here are nine of the best financial benefits you can enjoy after turning 65.
Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security
The most obvious benefits are the federal Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS). The maximum CPP payment for 2017 is $1,114.17 per month for people aged 65 who are receiving benefits for the first time. Typically, people start to receive the CPP at age 65. However, one can elect to receive CPP at a reduced amount as early as age 60, or an increased amount if they delay taking the pension after age 65 up to age 70.
The OAS monthly maximum is $583.74 per month and payment is determined by how long you have lived in Canada after the age of 18. It is considered taxable income and subject to a clawback if your individual net annual income is higher than the net world income threshold set for the year. There is no benefit received after an income of $121,279.
Also, if you are eligible for tax breaks such as the pension income deduction and the age amount tax credit for seniors 65 and over, you’ll decrease your tax bill.
Most banks no longer charge fees to seniors on bank accounts, drafts or money orders. They also receive discounts on their safety deposit boxes, or may not be charged a fee if a minimum account balance is maintained. Many credit unions have discounted accounts for seniors, but ATM access is typically more limited.
Health and medical expenses
Many drug stores, such as Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharma Plus, have a Seniors Day once a month and offer 20% off most items in the store. These stores also offer a program that will call seniors when it is time to renew their prescriptions. Many pharmacies offer senior discounts of at least 10% on non-prescription merchandise, and some even offer a free delivery service to its customers.
Each province or territory offers a unique drug benefit plan to provide seniors with enhanced coverage for high drug costs. For more details, contact your provincial or territorial health care ministry.
Products and services
Many big box stores have a Seniors Day once a month and offer discounted savings for that day. Savings differ by store, as well as when the event is held each month.
While too numerous to name, many restaurants offer a seniors menu as early as age 55. Selected items provide discounted options compared to the regular menu.
For seniors who are not ready for condo life or apartment living, many companies that offer snow removal or grass-cutting services provide discounted rates for seniors.
Most local transit systems offer seniors special rates at age 65 or earlier. If you’re 60 or over, you can save 10% when travelling on VIA rail on the Economy Plus fare and on regular Sleeper, Sleeper Plus and Touring fares.
Passenger buses such as Megabus do not offer discounted rates at age 65 but, beginning at age 62, a 10% discount on any unrestricted Greyhound passenger fare is available. Rental car agencies such as Avis, Budget and Hertz offer discounted rates on car or truck rentals, but airlines do not offer special rates.
If you’re 62 years or older, you can save 15 % or more on your room rate at more than 3,600 Marriott hotels worldwide, seven days a week. Other hotels that offer discounted rates or services for seniors, are DoubleTree, Best Western, the Radisson, and Wyndham Hotels. Memberships in groups like the Canadian Automobile Association and the Canadian Association of Retired People offer a whole range of additional discounts on hotels, rental cars and vacation packages.
Arts and leisure
Many galleries and museums have special Seniors Days or discounts. Likewise, some movie theatres have reduced pricing for those 65 and over.
There are two types of lifelong learning (or continuing education) opportunities for seniors. You can either pay discounted tuition fees and join younger students in regular credit or non-credit courses, or mingle with other retirees in non-credit, mostly daytime, senior-specific programs.
Several universities will waive all or part of your tuition fees if you are over 60 and want to return to school. Tuition regulations are province specific, so you should contact the school of your choice to see if the program you’re seeking is eligible for a fee adjustment.
If you are a professional or belong to a trade, you may have to pay hefty annual fees to remain in good standing. For example, Ontario lawyers practising law full-time in 2017 must pay $2,165.08 to the Law Society of Upper Canada. A non-practising lawyer will still pay half that amount each year. However, at age 65, a non-practicing lawyer can apply to be exempt from all future fees and filing requirements.