Pensioners and debt
Pensioners relying on CPP, OAS and GIS have about $1,100 per month of income. The Canadian government has established the poverty line (Low Income Threshold) at over $2,100 per month, effectively setting seniors up to fail.
We live in an aging population with an increasing number of Canadians becoming entirely dependent on government pensions as retirement looms for many baby boomers. CBC recently reported that Canadians are withdrawing RSPS at a wholesale rate to cover the down payment for housing, pay for living expenses or to manage debts.
Low incomes make seniors very vulnerable, especially for managing debt. For some, a relatively small debt can be extremely unmanageable. We see increasing numbers of seniors getting behind on credit cards or stuck in the cycle of payday loan abuse.
Some seniors are taken advantage of by other family members who may use their credit cards and never repay the amounts borrowed. Seniors are easily exploited by banks because they tend to trust what they are told by front line staff.
Prescription drugs compound financial problems for seniors both because they may add (dispensing) costs to living expenses and because many medications can cause functional cognitive impediments especially in interaction with each other.
In any event, seniors are increasingly vulnerable and finding themselves faced with debt problems never previously experienced.