I’ve been asked many times about the taking your Canada Pension Plan (or CPP) early. It’s one of the issues facing seniors and income management of their retirement funds, my conclusion is that it makes sense to take CPP as early as you can in most cases. Again there are a number of factors that can determine this process and they should be considered. We can help you understand which makes the most sense for you. Contact us at Henley Financial & Wealth Management.
In seeking the answer of when to take your CPP – ask yourself these five questions…
1) When will you retire?
Under the old rules, you had to stop working in order to collect your CPP benefit. The work cessation rules were confusing, misinterpreted and difficult to enforce so it’s probably a good thing they are a thing of the past.
Now you can start collecting CPP as soon as you turn 60 and you no longer have to stop working. The catch is that as long as you’re working, you must keep paying into CPP even if you are collecting it. The good news is that paying into it will also increase your future benefit.
2) How long will you live?
This is a question that no one can really answer so assume Life Expectancy to be the age factor when considering the question. At present a Male has a life expectancy of 82 and a female has a life expectancy of 85. These vales change based on lifestyle and health factors but it gives us a staring point.
Under the old rules, the decision to collect CPP early was really based on a mathematical calculation of the break-even point. Before 2012, this break-even point was age 77. With the new rules, every Canadian needs to understand the math.
If you qualify for CPP of $502 per month at age 65, let’s say you decide to take CPP at age 60 at a reduced amount while instead of waiting till 65 knowing you will get more income by deferring the income for 5 years.
Under Canada Pension Plan benefits, you can take income at age 60 based on a reduction factor of 0.6% for each month prior to your 65th birthday. Therefore your benefit will be reduced by 36% (0.6% x 60 months) for a monthly income of $321.28 starting on your 60th birthday.
Now fast-forward 5 years. You are now 65. Over the last 5 years, you have collected $321.28 per month totalling $19,276.80. In other words, your income made until age 60 was $19,276.80 before you even started collecting a single CPP cheque if you waited until age 65. That being said, at age 65 you are now going to get $502 per month for CPP. The question is how many months do you need to collect more pension at the age of 65 to make up the $19,276.80 you are ahead by starting at age 60? With simple math it will take you a 109 months (or 9 years) to make up the $19,276.80. So at age 74, you are ahead if you start taking the money at age 60, you start to fall behind at age 75.
The math alone is still a very powerful argument for taking CPP early.
So, “How long do you expect to live?”
3) When will need the money?
When are you most likely to enjoy the money? Before the age 74 or after age 74, for most people, they live there best years of their retirement in the early years. Therefore a little extra income in the beginning helps offset the cost of an active early retirement. Some believe it’s better to have a higher income later because of the rising costs of health care and this is when you are most likely to need care. Whatever you believe, you need to plan your future financial security. It is hard to know whether you will become unhealthy in the future but what we do know is most of the travelling, golfing, fishing, hiking and the things you want to do and see are usually done in the early years of retirement.
4) What happens if you delay taking your CPP?
Let’s go back to age 60 you could collect $321.28 per month. Let’s you decide to delay taking CPP by one year to age 61. So what’s happens next? $3,855.36 from her CPP ($321.28 x 12 months), but chose not to, so you are able to get more money in the future. That’s fine as long as you live long enough to get back the money that you left behind. Again, it comes back to the math. For every year you delay taking CPP when you could have taken it, you must live one year longer at the other end to get it back. By delaying CPP for one year, you must live to age 75 to get back the $3,855.36 that you left behind. If you delay taking CPP until 62, then you have to live until 76 to get back the two years of money you left behind.
Why wouldn’t you take it early given the math? The only reason I can think of is that you think you will live longer and you will need more money, as you get older.
Any way the math adds up… you can always take the money early and if you don’t need it put it in a TFSA and let it make interest. You can use it later in life if you choose.