The Third Rail: Confronting Our Pension Failures

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9780771046636: The Third Rail: Confronting Our Pension Failures
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Over the next 20 years more than 7 million Canadian workers will retire. Baby boomers, the 45- to 65-year-olds who account for 42% of the country's workforce, will join the largest job exodus in Canadian history, moving to the promised land of retirement. Unless our crumbling pension system is reformed, many of these retirees will find this dreamland a bewildering and disappointing mirage.

In the early 1980s, consumers were setting aside 20% of their disposable incomes to their retirement plans; today the savings rate is a threadbare 2.5%. Retirement savings plans meant to build Canadians' personal war chests for their final years have failed to live up to their cheery promises of early retirement "freedom" - market returns are low, and financial fees are climbing. Moreover, retirement plans are now being compromised by high pension obligations and a shrinking workforce.

Canada has the capacity to diffuse this ticking pension time bomb with some hard choices, posits Leech. It's time for businesses, governments, unions, and employees to face these options and fix - and ultimately save - our pensions system, taking examples from Holland, New Brunswick, and Rhode Island - places in which new laws have been adopted to repair the pensions programs.

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About the Author:

Before becoming president and CEO of the OTPP in 2007, JIM LEECH was president and CEO of Unicorp Canada Corporation, one of Canada's first public merchant banks, and Union Energy Inc., then one of North America's largest integrated energy and pipeline companies. During the 1990s, he guided two start-up technology companies -- DisysCorporation and Kasten Chase Applied Research - to the revenue generation stage. Leech serves on the boards of Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation, the MasterCard Foundation and was a founding director of Right To Play International. He also chairs the advisory board of the Queen's School of Business and is on the advisory board for The Learning Partnership, the advisory council for the Toronto Region Board of Trade and the Toronto Financial Services Leadership Council. In 2012, Leech was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of his work with the True Patriot Love Foundation.

JACQUIE McNISH is a senior writer with the Globe and Mail and regular host on BNN, Canada's business news network. She is the winner of five National Newspaper Awards and the author of two bestselling books.

Review:

       · "Possibly clearer than any book on pensions thus far.... This is a powerful message for Canada's ministers and their officials to contemplate.... The book should be required reading for our political leaders before they meet."--Globe and Mail 

   · "Leech and McNish's book will be a helpful road map for both policy makers and the public at large."--Literary Review of Canada 

   · "The authors not only describe the causes of the impending crisis and its potential consequences, they offer solutions to avert the disaster."--Winnipeg Free Press
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