Enough to Live On (2011)

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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Jack's Girl » 06 Jun 2011 20:37

Here's an interesting twist, compared to last week's profile of someone who is saving and not living.

Amanda Lang spent beyond her means in order to buy a lifestyle, contacts, experience and it paid off, big time.

http://www.moneyville.ca/article/100131 ... means?bn=1

Of course, we can't ignore her fortunate birthright. There was always the family safety-net that not everyone has.

On Small Dead Animals there's a debate about whether she's out of line or not. There's a recurring theme there as well about the lack of value one gets when one goes for a degree, especially masters or doctorate. I'm thinking the money she spent was about the equivalent of a doctorate and has paid off in spades, proving there are many ways to achieve success.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby kcowan » 06 Jun 2011 21:04

Jack's Girl wrote:Here's an interesting twist, compared to last week's profile of someone who is saving and not living.
Amanda Lang spent beyond her means in order to buy a lifestyle, contacts, experience and it paid off, big time.
... proving there are many ways to achieve success.
It is an interesting case study for sure. When I was posted to Europe with the forces, I spent big. Bought a car. Travelled every weekend: Paris, Brussels, Zurich, London. Basically bought an education before graduating UofT (with a Masters).

Did it help me later on? I have no idea because the life I had incorporated all those experiences. It was never something I could point to as being separate. I had a more worldy outlook for sure.

As for Amanda, I think it may have been the right thing to do. But it is very hard to isolate the impact. But living in NYC is different than surviving in NYC!

(But I still think she is hot and that does not hurt! When Diane Buckner stands in for her on The Exchange, everything is the same except for Amanda. It is not the same.)
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Shine » 06 Jun 2011 23:38

Are you aware that Amanda has an identical twin sister? It is true. Her sister is a lawyer while Amanda studied architecture...how she transited from architecture to media/business tv somewhat of a mystery to me.( I recall her providing disclosure one afternoon, can't remember if it was BNN or her new gig on CBC, but her husband is a director of communications for Barrick.)

I think there is a son also who is a doctor. Otto and the Mrs Lang raised a fine brood.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby kcowan » 07 Jun 2011 11:03

Shine wrote:I recall her providing disclosure one afternoon, can't remember if it was BNN or her new gig on CBC, but her husband is a director of communications for Barrick...
Here is a background article that tracks her career and family (Adrian, Victor Borg)
Amanda Lang: Making it her business (CB)

We have not heard the end of that lady! Thankfully.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby kcowan » 15 Jul 2011 11:04

Crying towel for senior
Trying to live on OAS/CPP but without moving to subsidized housing. BC offers a rental subsidy which she does not receive.

“How do you move; who pays for it; how do you get everything boxed up and done? The reality of moving when you’re alone and poor, you know, it’s easy to say but hard to do.”

She said she didn’t like the prospect of moving to Langley or another unfamiliar town where rent would be cheaper because it could be isolating.

“I like my apartment. I don’t really want to give it up, you know?” said Anson.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby BRIAN5000 » 15 Jul 2011 11:34

GIS ? I know its horrible but what about a room mate or a student, might be better then moving to Langley. Not sure how much cheaper rent would be in Langley anyway.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby AltaRed » 15 Jul 2011 11:35

kcowan wrote:Crying towel for senior
Trying to live on OAS/CPP but without moving to subsidized housing. BC offers a rental subsidy which she does not receive.

What about GIS as well? As some of the posted comments to the story said, where is her family in all this with respect to helping her optimize/maximize her benefits? Where is her family in helping her move if that should become the best option? That said, such media articles are more than a little bit biased and incredulous.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Flights of Fancy » 15 Jul 2011 11:43

I find these kinds of stories a little troubling. While wealth inequality is rising in Canada, this article is layering another variable on - age - which complicates the issue.

Over the past few decades, census data tells us that the family structure which has seen the largest relative declines in wealth is families with children under the age of 18 (Stats Can actually uses the phrase "drastic changes" to describe the relative declines in wealth for this segment of the population between 1984 and 1999) - while relative wealth gains have gone to families whose major income recipient is over 55.

I understand that the story is accurate for this one person. But the overall picture of wealth inequality in Canada given or implied by that article is inaccurate.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby AltaRed » 15 Jul 2011 11:56

It also appears she worked at manual labour jobs all her life and she did not make sufficient contributions to CPP to secure a larger payout (nor able to put some savings away for retirement), but why should society be responsible for that? Someone working at, for example, Safeway* for 40 years as a cashier or stockperson would have done better than that.

* I know because I had an aunt do that for a lifelong career.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby izzy » 15 Jul 2011 13:02

AltaRed wrote:It also appears she worked at manual labour jobs all her life and she did not make sufficient contributions to CPP to secure a larger payout (nor able to put some savings away for retirement), but why should society be responsible for that? Someone working at, for example, Safeway* for 40 years as a cashier or stockperson would have done better than that.

* I know because I had an aunt do that for a lifelong career.



Someone has to do the s--t jobs in our society you know! It usually ends up being immigrants or people with learning disabilities etc.Even working at Safeway requires a certain degree of literacy and maybe she doesn't qualify.Some people fall through the cracks-doesn't mean all seniors are in that boat of course but the journalist had to construct a story that the editor would accept!
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby cedeebee » 15 Jul 2011 14:15

AltaRed wrote:
kcowan wrote:Crying towel for senior
Trying to live on OAS/CPP but without moving to subsidized housing. BC offers a rental subsidy which she does not receive.

What about GIS as well? As some of the posted comments to the story said, where is her family in all this with respect to helping her optimize/maximize her benefits? Where is her family in helping her move if that should become the best option? That said, such media articles are more than a little bit biased and incredulous.

You seem to be assuming that everyone has a family. I don't recall there being any mention of children in the article and not everyone lives in the same city, province, or country for that matter, as their immediate family anyway-- assuming at that age they have one left. :wink:
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Brix » 15 Jul 2011 15:57

Flights of Fancy wrote:Over the past few decades, census data tells us that the family structure which has seen the largest relative declines in wealth is families with children under the age of 18 (Stats Can actually uses the phrase "drastic changes" to describe the relative declines in wealth for this segment of the population between 1984 and 1999) - while relative wealth gains have gone to families whose major income recipient is over 55.

I understand that the story is accurate for this one person. But the overall picture of wealth inequality in Canada given or implied by that article is inaccurate.



Yes, the story would have been more useful had it included a brief sketch of the distribution of income and wealth among those over, say, age 55. We might then get some idea of the proportion of seniors (especially, it's usually said, women) in more or less the situation described.

My hunch would be that the increasing imbalance of income and wealth distribution over recent decades likely increases yet further with advancing age.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Flights of Fancy » 15 Jul 2011 16:21

I went back and re-read the story. I haven't read the study/report the story is referencing. However, at first glance, though, I note it is careful to say that the *number* of seniors living in poverty is increasing, and a disproportionate number of those poor seniors are women.

However, this is of very little value; the number of *seniors* in Canada is increasing, so the fact that the number of seniors living in poverty is increasing doesn't tell us very much.

The proportion of seniors living in poverty may well *not* be increasing, but remaining stable or even improving.

For people (women) at the very lower ends of earning power, OAS + GIS provide a stable base. Those people might actually have better fortunes than pre-retirement. I do have to wonder about the woman profiled - I suspect her overall financial well-being might have improved once she hit 65, despite what she is saying. She no longer has to find employment.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Flights of Fancy » 15 Jul 2011 16:28

If you dig into the actual report, it says:

- Canada's elderly poverty rate is the second-lowest of 17 countries surveyed, and Canada gets an "A" on elderly poverty (no improvement necessary)

- Poverty among the elderly in Canada is at 5.9 per cent, much lower than for children or working-age populations.

- After 20 years of reductions, Canada’s elderly poverty rate rose between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s.

More from the report: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/Detai ... px#poverty

Dalhousie University economics professor Lars Osberg has called the reduction in the elderly poverty rate over the past three decades “the major success story of Canadian social policy in the twentieth century.”

The span of OECD data used in the report card for this indicator is quite limited, extending only as far back as the mid-1990s. According to this data, Canada’s elderly poverty rate increased from 2.9 per cent in the mid-1990s to 5.9 per cent in the mid-2000s. The biggest jump occurred in the group of elderly persons living alone—most likely widowed women.

The Luxembourg Income Study, however, has Canadian data going back to 1971 (but only extends to 2004). Using this data set, Canada’s elderly poverty rate fell by an extraordinary 30 percentage points—from 36.9 per cent in 1971 to 6.3 per cent in 2004.
The pronounced decrease in Canada’s elderly poverty rate has largely been attributed to the implementation of the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan in 1966. Pensions as a proportion of disposable income among Canada’s elderly more than doubled between 1980 and 1996, from 21 to 46 per cent. The first cohort to receive full public pensions turned 65 in 1976. The generation that followed became the first beneficiaries of private occupational pensions that were expanded between the 1950s and the 1970s.

/quote

Now. Is that the message you got from that Vancouver Sun article?
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby izzy » 15 Jul 2011 18:06

Flights of Fancy wrote:If you dig into the actual report, it says:

- Canada's elderly poverty rate is the second-lowest of 17 countries surveyed, and Canada gets an "A" on elderly poverty (no improvement necessary)



Now. Is that the message you got from that Vancouver Sun article?

Apart from the fact that there is ALWAYS room for improvement in some peoples opinion it would not have made as "good" a story told that way.
Reporters have to earn their bread and butter and sometimes the slant makes the story more "interesting" :(
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Brix » 15 Jul 2011 19:04

Flights of Fancy wrote:
Dalhousie University economics professor Lars Osberg has called the reduction in the elderly poverty rate over the past three decades “the major success story of Canadian social policy in the twentieth century.”
[...]
The pronounced decrease in Canada’s elderly poverty rate has largely been attributed to the implementation of the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan in 1966.
[...]

Now. Is that the message you got from that Vancouver Sun article?


In a way, at least in relation to the core snippets I've cherry-picked. :)

It was something of a cautionary tale -- if not in so many words -- about what can happen if you don't have much in the way of CPP entitlement (and/or retirement savings to supplement/replace them). You'll substantially miss out on the general improvement of the situation of Canada's elderly.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby kcowan » 15 Jul 2011 20:02

I gather that the woman never married and so is a spinster in our vocabulary. I think the point they are making is that she should be OK and is not. The fact that she is unwilling to move supports the fact that she has to in order to eat.

So the support systems that we provide do not adequately account for inflation in costs. Certainly, OAS has not kept pace with rents in Vancouver nor food prices. Maybe there is a case for regional adjustments so that the Maritimers get what they need while the west coasters do as well.

But I think she might be good for a few more years if she downsized and moved and applied for rental assistance. Then we can all hope that she dies before she outlives her meagre income. :oops:

(The sister of our friend moved from Victoria to Cape Breton from an apartment to an oceanfront house. She is unhappy because the locals are not very friendly, and the house costs more than she thought - $90k but with taxes/upkeep et al.)
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Jack's Girl » 15 Jul 2011 20:54

kcowan wrote: Then we can all hope that she dies before she outlives her meagre income. :oops:


How do you outlive your income?

Since hers is CPP and OAS, it will come in as long as she's alive. There was no mention of savings and I suspect there are none or they are minimal since she's been on disability for a long time. She rents so she has no home as an asset and she doesn't own a car.

Tough situation but in cases like this, the powers that be will tell her to move into subsidized housing. Which in most cases is scary unless she can find a seniors-only building.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby kcowan » 16 Jul 2011 09:46

Jack's Girl wrote:
kcowan wrote: Then we can all hope that she dies before she outlives her meagre income. :oops:


How do you outlive your income?
...
By living long enough to see rent and food increase faster than income.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby AltaRed » 16 Jul 2011 12:06

cedeebee wrote:You seem to be assuming that everyone has a family. I don't recall there being any mention of children in the article and not everyone lives in the same city, province, or country for that matter, as their immediate family anyway-- assuming at that age they have one left. :wink:

You make the assumption I meant children exclusively. Everyone has someone relatively close to them. The point being there will be a few people somewhere (family and/or friends) who should be giving this woman some helpful advice. At the very least, we have quickly and easily identified subsidized rents plus GIS as two items she does not appear to be accessing today.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby blonde » 16 Jul 2011 12:10

The Lady must be commended with many an Atta-Lady.

The Lady has the skill to Study the System and 'Use' the System for all its worth.

The Lady was able to take a 'poor-person' situation and massage-it into an 'Opportunity'...with the formative stage by drawing onto the media to give that special-spin-Free-publicity needed to Milk-the-Systems. A surprise should not be warranted when the socialist-Do-Gooders tap the taxpayer for Money to meet ALL the needs, and a bit more, demanded by both the Lady and Do-Gooders. In addition, the Lady could take-it-up a notch by writing a book about her hardship/s focusing on how tuff the boomers will have moving forward.

Living W/O Money is not that easy, eh? If there is any doubt...try-it.

Needless to say, most taxpayers will LUV-IT.

It is ALL about MONEY, Folks!!!

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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Jack's Girl » 16 Jul 2011 12:14

kcowan wrote:By living long enough to see rent and food increase faster than income.


Got it.

I still live in fear of inflation like there was when I first started out on my own. My uncle retired on a non-fully indexed pension that year. He was basically blue-collar his whole life but an excellent saver and non-spender so had what looked like a great retirement with a 36' cabin cruiser, 28' travel trailer pulled by a Cadillac. Not one of those items was built after 1965 (this was early 80's.) Even those frugal luxuries quickly had to be downsized as him real income shrunk. The trailer was parked in Florida because towing back and forth was too expensive, the boat was sold, as was the house, and a tiny house bought for summers here. It was a tough slog and a long retirement (almost 30 years) made tougher by the hit his spending power took in those first few years of retirement.

I suppose one advantage to not having a pension is that the payout can't be eroded by inflation!
Now that I'm semi-retired, I keep hoping for higher returns on my investments. In the meantime, I spend-spend-spend on travel while the US dollar is so low. That will give me something to cut from budget when I need to!

AltaRed Not everyone has family close to them. We are on the 'call' list for an Ancient in Scott's Valley, CA, we made sure her senior's complex will let us know if she needs something. My dh befriended her 30 years ago and we still visit as often as we can. When we are there, we check things out as best we can but that's not the same as being there on a regular basis. And if she needed to move, she'd never dream of asking us to come. Her nearest blood relative is slightly closer, in Colorado, but I think we visit more often because our traveling lifestyle makes it easier to drop into SFO when flying Westbound for work.

And, this doesn't apply to the women in the article, but my grandmother told me how lonely she was as she aged. All her friends and family were gone, and then her children's friends started to die off. She was about 98 when she told me that. I was 28 and it made a heck of an impression on me. It is possible to outlive not only your money and your income, but also all your family and friends.
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Zipper » 16 Jul 2011 12:20

blonde wrote:The Lady must be commended with many an Atta-Lady.

The Lady has the skill to Study the System and 'Use' the System for all its worth.

The Lady was able to take a 'poor-person' situation and massage-it into an 'Opportunity'...with the formative stage by drawing onto the media to give that special-spin-Free-publicity needed to Milk-the-Systems. A surprise should not be warranted when the socialist-Do-Gooders tap the taxpayer for Money to meet ALL the needs, and a bit more, demanded by both the Lady and Do-Gooders. In addition, the Lady could take-it-up a notch by writing a book about her hardship/s focusing on how tuff the boomers will have moving forward.

Living W/O Money is not that easy, eh? If there is any doubt...try-it.

Needless to say, most taxpayers will LUV-IT.

It is ALL about MONEY, Folks!!!

Don't Trust Anyone.

Everybody's in Sales.
:roll:
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby Norbert Schlenker » 16 Jul 2011 17:06

On the Vancouver Sun article, I find the numbers not credible. Having done a lot of tax returns for low income seniors the past two years, numbers around $1000/month for singles who spent their working lives in Canada (from the article, very likely) are almost impossible. GIS will top up any income like that to something more like $1250-1500, admittedly not princely either, but not the "I only have $30/month left for food and hydro" the article implies. BC also has a program called SAFER that would subsidize her rent, probably to the tune of $300-350/month, which takes more pressure off.

Jack's Girl wrote:And, this doesn't apply to the women in the article, but my grandmother told me how lonely she was as she aged. All her friends and family were gone, and then her children's friends started to die off. She was about 98 when she told me that. I was 28 and it made a heck of an impression on me. It is possible to outlive not only your money and your income, but also all your family and friends.

Yeah. Where's the government program that can help with that? If only Jack Layton were Prime Minister, this problem would be solved!
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Re: Enough to Live On (2011)

Postby flywaysuzy » 18 Jul 2011 00:54

Maybe her GIS doesn't kick in until she has been off her disability income for a year. I had a friend who had to wait a year. If GIS is based on last year's income, this senior will hopefully get that benefit next year. Not a very sensible way of bridging into GIS benefits, if that's true...
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