Patrik Marier is concerned about your financial future. Will retirees have enough money to live in the mid-and long-term?
As a professor in Concordia’s Department of Political Science, Marier’s research focuses on the policy implications of our changing demographics. These days, he’s analyzing the implications to pension, health care and labour policy, and working on a book about Canada’s preparations for aging populations.
“A large cohort of seniors have incomes barely above the poverty line,” he says. “And a substantial number of baby boomers carry impressive amounts of debt into retirement.”
Gender defines another worrying pension issue, Marier adds: women tend to have more career interruptions than men and therefore are more than twice as likely to rely on the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
Yet it’s a complex issue. Governments in Canada and elsewhere are certainly aware of the potential future crunch on pensions. Marier, the holder of a Canada Research Chair in Comparative Public Policy, feels we’re not necessarily headed toward a disaster. “We must take care not to frame the issue as a crisis, a tsunami,” he says. “Public authorities should act on the challenges, but need to understand that adjustments are already taking place. For example, the data show people are already retiring later.”