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Sask. seniors feeling pinch of inflation

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With increasing cost of living, seniors are finding they have to stretch their finances more than expected.

Seniors’ advocates say it may be affecting rural seniors especially, but it shows the importance of financial planning.

With rising inflation and cost of living, seniors are feeling the effects on their retirement plans.

“That inflation has remained sticky here in Canada and South of the border and it eats away your purchasing power of your money,” said Jillian Bryan, senior portfolio manager with TD Wealth.

“So if you think about it, if you're retired, your investments need to beat inflation and provide you income when you're retired or you're basically eating into your capital your retirement funds.”

Those who have retired are looking at the rising cost of things while their income remains static.

“If you're on a fixed income, that's usually their main concern is if there's rising costs, usually their fixed income though that income isn't increasing, right,” said Shannon Wright, secretary, and treasurer with Saskatchewan Seniors Association Inc.

“So there's rising costs due to groceries or all of a sudden you have a prescription that you have to pay for monthly that's another added cost.”

Bryan says on average, men without a financial plan will outlive their savings by 10 years while women will outlive their savings by 13 years. But living longer means more unexpected healthcare costs.

“Unexpected health care costs tend to be very high for Canadians,” Bryan said. “And Canadians in general are typically not factoring these costs into the retirement planning.”

And Wright says seniors in rural settings are affected more than those in urban centres when it comes to access, and cost of healthcare.

“Most of our members live in rural Saskatchewan,” she said.

“And so their concerns are about needing to leave the rural areas to move to the major centres if they need health care. We do see that a lot of our members move to Regina or Saskatoon, just to be closer to a hospital.”

She often hears from seniors around the province who reminisce about how things were better before.

“They often reminisce about how things used to be better than they used to get,” said Wright.

“Foot care service that we cut off to the rural communities that they used to have this or that. So there is this sense of things used to be better. And it's just that there's been a loss of funding or services for a lot of these things. So that's the frustration from seniors.”

Bryan says an unfortunate truth she has to tell clients is that some may have to keep working longer than they expected to.

“For some clients, there is a shortfall when we do these plans,” she said. “And in this case, the solution to that is most clients will have to work longer. And that's not an easy conversation to have with clients.”

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