Pension Plan
June 5th, 2016

Canada Pension Plan – Should You Take it Early?

The new rules governing CPP were introduced in 2012 and they take full effect in 2016.  The earliest you can take your CPP Pension is age 60, the latest is 70. The standard question regarding CPP remains the same – should I take it early or wait?

While you can elect to start receiving CPP at age 60, the discount rate under the new rules has increased.  Starting in 2016, your CPP income will be reduced by 0.6% each month you receive your benefit prior to age 65.  In other words, electing to take your CPP at age 60 will provide an income of 36% less than if you waited until age 65.

CPP benefits may also be delayed until age 70 so conversely, as of 2016, delaying your CPP benefits after age 65 will result in an increased income of 0.7% for each month of deferral.  At age 70, the retiree would have additional monthly income of 42% over that what he or she would have had at 65 and approximately 120% more than taking the benefit at age 60.  The question now becomes, “how long do you think you will live?”

Assuming that an individual has $10,000 of CPP pension at age 65, and ignoring inflation (CPP income benefits are indexed according to the Consumer Price Index), the following table compares the total base income with that if benefits are taken early or late:

CPP Benefit Commencement

Total benefit received

Age 60

Age 65

Age 70

One year

$ 6,400

$ 10,000

$ 14,200

Five years

$32,000

$ 50,000

$ 71,000

Ten years $64,000 $100,000 $142,000

 

If your choice is to delay taking the pension until age 70 instead of 65, the crossover would not be reached until age 85.The question of life expectancy can be a factor in determining whether or not to take your CPP early.  For example, according to the above table if you take your pension at age 60, by the time you reach age 65; you would already have received $32,000 in benefits.  With $10,000 in pension income commencing at age 65 the crossover point would be age 73 (the point at which the total income commencing at age 60 equals the total income commencing at age 65). If you were to die prior to age 73, you would have been better off taking the earlier option.

Some individuals may wish to elect to take the pension early and invest it hoping that the income from age 60 combined with the investment growth will exceed the total income that would be received by starting at 65.

Remember, if you elect to take your pension before 65 and you are still working, you must continue to contribute to CPP.  After age 65, continuing contributions while working are voluntary.  On the plus side, these extra contributions will increase your pension under the Post-Retirement Benefit (PRB).

Reasons to take your CPP before age 65

  • You need the money – number crunching aside, if your circumstances are such that you need the income then you probably should exercise your option to take it early;
  • You are in poor health – if your health is such that your life expectancy may be shortened, consider taking the pension at 60;
  • If you are confident of investing profitably – if you are reasonably certain that you can invest profitably enough to offset the higher income obtained from delaying your start date then taking it early may make sense. If you are still continuing to work, you could use the CPP pension as a contribution to your RSP or your TFSA.

Reasons to delay taking your CPP to age 70

  • You don’t need the money – If you have substantial taxable income in retirement you may want to defer the CPP until the last possible date especially if you don’t require the income to live or support your lifestyle;
  • If you are confident of living to a ripe old age – if you have been blessed with great genes and your health is good you may wish to consider delaying your CPP until age 70. Using the earlier example and ignoring indexing, if your base CPP was $10,000 at 65 then the pension, if delayed until age 70, would be $14,200. If you took the higher income at 70, you would reach the crossover point over the age 65 benefit at age 84 and after that would be farther ahead.

This information should help you make a more informed choice about when to commence your CPP benefits.  Even if retirement is years away it is never too early to start planning for this final chapter in your life.  Call BlueRock Wealth Management if would like to discuss your retirement planning.