CHANGING FACE OF FAMILY WEALTH HAS ENSURED FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION OF SINGLES

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

Preface:  The basis for this blog post is from the following article which shows that the increased poverty of unattached singles is due to changes over the last two decades on social assistance policies.  This blog post expands on this by showing how the definition of family and wealth has changed resulting in unattached singles increasingly becoming unable to achieve the same financial success of families.

“Improving our Knowledge of and Responses to Singles on Ontario Works in Toronto”  report by Toronto Employment and Social Services (Singles-Study-) states ‘Over the past two decades, significant changes have taken place in the composition of social assistance caseloads in Canada, with unattached individuals (singles) replacing lone parents as the “new face of social assistance….. Rather than a public policy priority, low income singles more often represent the “forgotten poor…..singles have limited options for support and are often outside or on the margins of policy discussions.’  This same report was cited by the Institute for Research on Public Policy in a segment on BNN Bloomberg re study on ‘Canada’s Forgotten Poor?  Putting singles living in deep poverty on the policy radar’ (forgotten-poor).

WEALTH IS NO LONGER OBTAINED FROM WAGES

Unless workers have very high wages, it has become near impossible for singles and poor families to save for emergencies and retirement.  Today, the wealthy and wealthy married are achieving their wealth through wealth enablers other than wages such as paid for housing which has become a commodity and is exploding in terms of increasing value, tax free and tax avoidance schemes, a rising stocks and bonds market and benefits given primarily to the married (with and without children) and those with children.

It is impossible for a single person with a $50,000 income to pay for the three major life expenses at the same time, these being purchasing a used vehicle, saving for down payment for a cheap condo and saving for retirement.  They have to pick and choose which one or two of these purchases they can afford.  They certainly can’t save for many of these if they have student loans to pay.

The above wealth enablers include the top wealthy group of about 30 to 40% of all Canadians most of which was married.  This  does not even include the top 1% who are able to use other offshore and tax evasion and avoidance schemes to achieve their extreme wealth.

The top 30 to 40 per cent of Canadians who are mostly married and have wealth above $1 million consider themselves to  be middle class.  Yet they often have multiple properties, recreational cottages, RVs and recreational toys.  What does that mean for the rest of Canadians?  It means that unattached singles and low income families are exactly that – in the lower financial class.

THE FAMILY LIFE CYCLE HAS BEEN TURNED UPSIDE DOWN IN THE LAST FEW DECADES

The ‘leave it to  beaver’ early marriage and one income 50s family allowed mothers to stay at home to raise their children while perhaps earning extra income through baking, sewing, etc.

Now the family life cycle has been altered so that young adults are remaining single longer (can’t afford to date or get married?), possibly marrying in the mid thirties year of age, raising children during parents’ ages late 30s to 60s, and if they have accumulated wealth possibly retiring somewhere between ages 55 and 65.

The financial reality of this changed family cycle is that singles are often forced to struggle financially if they never get married (or are early in life divorced persons).  If they have children they will receive Canada Child benefits, but when children are grown they may still face a difficult financial lifestyle and even as seniors.

For the upper middle class married from ages 35 to 60 with double incomes, they have a 20-30 year mortgage after which their houses are paid for, they receive multiple child and marital government benefits and often are able to maximize their RRSP and TFSA accounts times two.  Many married couples are able to have one spouse retire early with both retiring early often before the age of 65.  (In some cases one spouse retiring early might mean that net income will be lower and will therefore trigger higher Canada Child Benefit payments if they have children under the age of 18).

One has to ask  the question, how is this possible?  Raising a child is not the biggest expense especially when housing is not included in the child expense equation and parents are receiving Canada Child Benefits.   Everyone has to have housing regardless of whether they have children.  Housing is the most expensive item of any Canadian during his/her lifetime unless he/she is lucky enough to have inherited a fortune or a house.

The article: “Couple with big age gap forced to contemplate impact of early death” (couple-with-big-age-gap-worry-prosperity-is-fragile) is an example of family life cycle being turned upside down.  It states that couple, aged 64 and 55, with grown children have managed to accumulate financial assets of $1,741,500 including $650,000 house, TFSAs, RRSPs, non registered, GICs and cash.  At husband’s age 65 couple’s estimated income is $72,000 net income after eligible income splits, tax free TFSA distributions and reduced income tax to average 15 per cent.  They spend $17,000 annually on travel and entertainment (repeat $17,000 or almost 25% of their total net salary!).

This couple would have been able to accumulate much of their wealth even while raising children born presumably on or before his age 45 and on or before her age 35 if children are at present at least twenty years of age.

Review of other Andrew Allentuck financial planner articles within the last year reveal that above premise of parents raising child at a later age to be true – 1) parent 1, age 45, raising three children in their teens; 2) parent 1, age 59, raising two children age 12 and 13; 3) parent 1, age 57, and parent 2, age 47, raising two children ages 13 and 17; 4) parent 1, age 47, and parent 2, age 51 raising one child age 14; 5) parent 1, age 46 raising one child age 10; 6) parent, age 56, raising one child age 17; 7) parent 1, age 37, and parent 2, age 40 raising two children ages 4 and 1.

Re wealth differences between the married and singles, an IMF Report highlights ‘marriage gap’ between rich and poor Canadians (marriage-gap-between-rich-and-poor-canadians) – In what it bills as the first-ever analysis of marriage and income done in this country, the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (Canadian_Marriage_Gap) found that marriage rates among the wealthiest Canadians, or the top 25 per cent of income earners, “remained remarkably stable” over the 30 years that were studied: 1976 to 2011. In contrast, the number of married and common law couples among middle- and low-income earners declined.

In the last year of data included in the study, 2011, 86 per cent of the top quartile (or top 20%) of income earners reported being married or in a common law relationship. Only 12 per cent in the bottom quartile said they were married or living common law.  About half of middle-class families include a married or common-law couple, the report found. The study also found that the marriage gap widened after 1976 as marriage rates remained high among high-income earners, but declined among middle- and low-income earners in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, marriage rates have increased among middle- and low-income earners, but only slightly…..’the “marriage gap” matters because research has found that marriage offers a variety of economic and social benefits.’

It is the opinion of this author that it could also be implied that with the increased social justice and acceptance of gay/lesbian couples (a good thing) this will also contribute to increased wealth of married/coupled families.

HOUSING IS THE BIGGEST LIFETIME EXPENSE

Families and politicians live in tunnel vision bubbles and cannot articulate that children are not the biggest lifetime expense.  Housing is the most expensive lifetime expense, especially rental, since it spans an entire adult life. Rent of $1000 per month will total $720,000 over sixty years from age 20 to 80 adult lifespan, $840,000 over seventy years from age 20 to age 90, and $960,000 over eighty years from age 20 to 100 years.  Renters are not able to accumulate wealth from housing.  Those who are fortunate enough to be able to purchase homes are also accumulating wealth through home purchase.

OAS AND OAS CLAWBACK

Canada provides a very generous social program for seniors through the Old Age Security (OAS) program. Employment history is not a factor in determining eligibility.  Any Canadian can receive the OAS pension even if he/she has never worked or is still working.

For persons living in Canada to receive OAS, they must: be 65 years old or older, be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident at the time their OAS pension application is approved, and have resided in Canada for at least 10 years since the age of 18.

For 2020 the maximum monthly OAS benefit per eligible senior is $613.53 ($7362.36 annual).  It is indexed to inflation. 

OAS Clawback – OAS benefit may be reduced by a clawback if an individual’s net income for the previous calendar year exceeds $79,054 for 2020 (also indexed to inflation). If the net income exceeds this amount, 15% on the excess income must be paid back up to a maximum of the total OAS benefit received. This deduction is like an additional 15% tax on top of the current tax rate.

In the above article ‘Couple with big age’ If husband dies early, financial advisor estimates wife could lose $17,008 gross annual income and potentially pay higher taxes.  Partial loss of the reduced income could result from loss of husband’s OAS.  Some financial planners gaslight by stating this will be a great financial loss, but fail to acknowledge that senior unattached singles live on one OAS every single day of their senior lives and, above all, this is a very generous pension program which married and financial planners now want to grift by lobbying politicians to give more OAS to wealthy widowers.

OAS CLAWBACK OUTRAGEOUSLY ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UPPER MIDDLE CLASS MARRIED OR COUPLED SENIORS

Occasionally, there are topics that give one pause resulting in questioning as to the efficacy of the  formulation behind the topic of financial equality.  The OAS Clawback (proper name is OAS Recovery tax as per Canada Revenue Agency) and the financial discriminatory properties behind the program is one such topic.  One way to resolve the questioning is to look at the topic in detail.

OAS is a federal social program designed to provide a very modest pension to low- and middle-income retirees.  It is part of the Universal government benefits for seniors (pillar 1) to ensure income security for senior Canadians.  In 2020 the annual OAS is $7,362 for a single person and $13,760 for a couple. OAS clawback which began around 2011 does very little to clawback the income of upper middle class persons, particularly married or coupled family units.  The clawback of OAS benefits in 2020 starts with a net income per person (and not  including TFSA income) of $79,054 (couple $158,108) and completely eliminates OAS with income of $128,137.  The repayment calculation is based on the difference between personal income and the threshold amount for the year. The repayment of OAS is 15 percent of that amount.  All OAS is clawed back if personal income is over $128,137.

According to Human Resource Development Canada, only about five percent of seniors receive reduced OAS pensions, and only two percent lose the entire amount.  This program benefits wealthy couples and widowers the most.  There are not many ever single seniors, early divorced in life seniors and single parent seniors who could ever hope to achieve a net income of $79,054; however, for wealthy widowers this may be easier to achieve and they are the ones who complain about clawback.

Many financial advisors will give strategies on how to avoid the clawback while benefiting married or coupled family units the most.  This is just another example of financial marital manna benefits and manipulation of assets that within the legal limits of Canada Revenue Agency’s laws allows married or coupled person to increase their wealth (Six Reasons Why Married People Able To Achieve More Power (Wealth) Than Singles – six-reasons).  This also is just another example of the upside finances perpetuated in this country by politicians, government and businesses that benefit married or coupled persons the most (regressive-tax-expenditures-financially-discriminate-against-singles-and-poor-families/).

From a financial advisor comes this statement (claw-back):  “I also want to put the impact of the claw back into perspective. Although no one likes to give up $6,600 in free money, it’s not like you were going to get to keep it all anyway. As the OAS is taxable, most people in the claw back zone would have paid back over 30% of it in taxes.

Secondly, some clients look at paying claw back as the cost of doing business; while they may not love it, they look at it as a price of their own financial success and as money they really don’t need anyway. Moreover, they might correctly see that in some cases combatting the claw back isn’t worth the effort. For example, although the rest of the article will focus on how dividends are often bad news for retirees trying to avoid the claw back, these same people might also be reluctant to modify their investments to produce other types of investment returns, especially if that means unnecessarily courting more investment risk or triggering a big capital gain in order to rebalance their portfolios”.

From another financial planner (minimizing-clawback):  “At the end of the day, more people’s concern over OAS clawback will not be such a big deal simply because there are not a lot of people over the age of 65 making more than $72,809 of income. The people that do may have significant pensions or continue to work and earn an income over the age of 65. There will also be a group of people that trigger significant capital gains from the sale of second property or investments but the good news is they will only lose part or all of their OAS in the one year that the capital gains is realized and reported on the tax return. But if you happen to be one of the few that will get affected, make sure you plan ahead accordingly”.

The OAS clawback (implemented by Conservative party) is just another example of how politicians and government have ensured that senior upper middle class married or coupled family units with incomes between 2020 $79,054 and $158,108 net income and not including TFSA income will benefit more from the OAS government program. These same politicians and government agencies have financially discriminated against ever single seniors, early divorced in life seniors and single parent seniors by ensuring only five percent of seniors will receive reduced OAS pensions, and only two percent lose the entire amount.  Note we have specifically stated upper middle class married or coupled family units because wealthy married/coupled and widowed family units have already been excluded from receiving OAS pension by virtue of the $158,108 net income limit.

To add further insult, politicians and government have ensured that the upper middle class will receive benefit upon benefit upon benefit to reduce the effects of the OAS recovery tax program.  The Liberal party (now ruling federal party) implemented a 1.5% reduction in income tax for incomes between $45,282 and $90,563.  These are upper middle class incomes, not incomes of the poor. Pension splitting is another program that reduces the possibility of OAS clawback.  As stated above, past governments have also ensured that marital manna benefits and the ability to manipulate assets have been given primarily to married or coupled family units all within legal limits of financial laws.  All of these benefits perpetuate an upside-down financial system where the upper middle class and the wealthy are able to achieve greater wealth than ever single, early divorced in life and single parent seniors.  In other words, the OAS Recovery Tax program is a failed program which ensures greater wealth for the upper middle class and greater poverty for singles and the poor.

INDEXING OF SOCIAL PROGRAMS

Most government programs are indexed for inflation, and are generally more advantageous for the married/coupled since indexing for them occurs times two, including paying less taxes with pension-splitting while getting more benefits, (and they still keep wanting more while married and as surviving spouses or widows).  Indexing ensures wealth spread between married and singles will continue to widen.

An egregious example of failure of government is Alberta Premier Jason Kenney eliminating indexing this year for social programs for persons living with disabilities.

TAX FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS (TFSA) AND PENSION-SPLITTING TAX AVOIDANCE IN RELATION TO OAS AND MARITAL FINANCES IN GENERAL

Re TFSA – If $11,000 TFSA (average of $5,500 over eleven years since inception of TFSA time two per couple) is invested for one year at 3.5% annual interest, it will double in about twenty years to $22,000.  If $11,000 is invested every year for 30 years at a 3.5% return, it will be worth $568,893.

Re pension income splitting (P.I.S.) – first, married seniors, who have never had children, using P.I.S. pay less taxes just because they are married even though it costs singles more to live (Market Basket Measure – MBM).  Second, married seniors with equal incomes cannot use P.I.S. and, therefore, pay more taxes.  Third, poor married seniors benefit less as they have less income to split.  Fourth, senior singles and lone parents cannot use P.I.S., ever.

TFSA income from investments will never be taxed and will never affect OAS payment because TFSA income is never declared as income under present CRA rules.  Pension splitting allows wealthy married to avoid the possibility of OAS clawbacks.

SURVIVING SPOUSES AND WIDOWS NEED TO STOP IDENTIFYING THEMSELVES AS ‘SINGLE’

When discussing financial matters, surviving spouses and widowed persons need to stop calling themselves ‘single’.  According to Canada Revenue Guidelines surviving spouses and widowed persons are classified as ‘widow’, not ‘single’.  The ‘single’ classification is for those persons who have never been married or lived common-law.  Widows and surviving spouses receive more benefits than singles.

SINGLES ARE NOT CLAIRVOYANT ABOUT WHETHER THEY WILL EVER MARRY

Some  singles don’t marry because of severe sexual/physical and other abuse at the hands of parents and/or other public at large, or because of poor parenting skills by their parents.  Some singles don’t marry because they feel they don’t have what is required to be good marriage partners and/or parents.  Some never marry because it just never happened.  In a worldwide obsession with marriage and children, why should singles be faced with the financial injustice that is placed upon them by the same people who are obsessed with everyone needing to be married and/or have children?

Singles are not clairvoyant-they can’t predict whether they will get married, not any more than the married can predict they will be divorced (even though they may receive some inkling of this in premarital counselling sessions).  Unattached singles deserve the same social justice and financial equality throughout their lifetimes while single and regardless of age as has been afforded to the married without and without children and single parents.

CONCLUSION

The above article “Improving our Knowledge of and Responses to Singles on Ontario Works in Toronto” outlines how unattached singles being affected by extreme poverty includes all ages, genders and education levels of singles.

It is very apparent from that dramatic changes in the life cycle of married/coupled persons and altered family life cycles over the last several decades requires a dramatic change in social programs for and inclusion of unattached singles in the family definition.

If social Conservative Erin O’toole’s suggested family platforms can provide thousands of dollars in Child Care, CCB, and refundable tax credits and (Liberals in their throne speech) then politicians can for damn sure give equal housing benefits to unattached singles.

Band-aid solutions by politicians, think-tanks, and opinion writers will not work.  Canada’s financial system is broken and needs to be reworked in its entirety as occurred in the Carter Commission.  But poor unattached singles cannot wait for the many years it took for commission to be completed.  They need solutions now!

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

UNATTACHED SINGLES ON SOCIAL ASSISTANCE OFTEN FACE EXTREME POVERTY

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

Online research shows that more unattached singles are facing extreme poverty.  Canadian singles without dependents are the fastest growing family type on social assistance.  If ten Albertans are receiving social assistance seven of them will be unattached singles.  Food Banks usage is also increasing for unattached singles.

RIGHT WING PERCEPTIONS THAT PRESENT SOCIAL ASSISTANCE SYSTEMS FOR SINGLES ARE ENOUGH

The following article reveals how many right wing think tanks, politicians and families negatively view financial assistance for impoverished unattached singles.

A Fraser Institute’s article (bc-welfare-payments-are-adequate) stated that ‘BC welfare payment for singles [$610 in 2018] are adequate – Fortunately, the B.C. government has set welfare benefits so that total social assistance roughly coincides with the basic needs level. And even in situations where social assistance is not quite enough to meet all of the basic needs it doesn’t mean that these British Columbians are starving or go without adequate shelter. Further, the basic needs income level assumes families have out-of-pocket health (i.e. health premiums) and dental care costs that, in the case of low income British Columbians, are often covered by charitable organizations, community clinics and governments.  In fact, the only cases in which social assistance is significantly below the basic needs level is for single employable individuals. This, however, is deliberate. The level of benefits available to single employable recipients reflects the fact that they are not expected to collect welfare on a long-term basis. Single employable British Columbians should be working and welfare should not be an attractive alternative for them.’

‘Rather than raise welfare benefits, a much better way to help those on welfare, including single employable individuals, is to give them an incentive to work.  For starters, the B.C. government should allow those on welfare to work and keep a certain amount of what they earn without a reduction in their welfare benefits. This would bring balance to the welfare system by helping people in a tough spot while ensuring the program does not create dependency.  Welfare was always intended to be used as temporary assistance for the truly needy, not a permanent source of income.’

TWO REPORTS THAT SHOW HOW UNATTACHED SINGLES HAVE REPLACED LONE PARENTS AS THE NEW FACE OF SOCIAL ASSISTANCE

The following two reports provide excellent data and research on how unattached singles are being financially compromised with present Canadian financial policies and programs.

“Improving our Knowledge of and Responses to Singles on Ontario Works in Toronto”  report by Toronto Employment and Social Services (Singles-Study-) states ‘Over the past two decades, significant changes have taken place in the composition of social assistance caseloads in Canada, with unattached individuals (singles) replacing lone parents as the “new face of social assistance….. Rather than a public policy priority, low income singles more often represent the “forgotten poor…..singles have limited options for support and are often outside or on the margins of policy discussions.’

‘In addition, singles are rarely the focus of detailed research on social assistance. Notable exceptions include Stapleton and Bednar’s study which noted the rise of a new ‘family bias’ in the amounts of money paid to low-income people, evident not just in basic benefits, but also in the design of refundable tax credits such as the Harmonized Sales Tax and the Working Income Tax Benefit where singles receive significantly less. The study also highlighted important economies of scale that, for example, leave single people paying significantly more for accommodation than other household types. More recently, Food Banks Canada (2017) provided an overview of challenges facing singles (see Box 1).4 Describing singles as being at the leading edge of need, with a high risk of negative physical and mental health outcomes, lacking family supports, and without access to income supports that cover even basic needs, the report concluded that Canada is “utterly failing this population.’

‘From a government program perspective, singles have few places to turn and seem to have been largely forgotten by federal and provincial governments. Indeed, government transfers to singles have declined from 23% of after-tax income in 1994, to 14% after 2007.

‘Strikingly, therefore, although singles represent the largest proportion of the caseload, experience the deepest poverty, and have access to the fewest financial supports outside social assistance, few studies, if any, have developed a detailed understanding of the characteristics of singles on the caseload, and documented their experiences and needs.’

‘In confirming that singles are staying on assistance for longer than was previously the case, the research underlines a simple but significant point – that detailed assessment of need, rather than family type, should be the primary driver of services’.

 The report ‘stressed the need to transform existing income security programs and services to address emerging labour market realities and risks’.

Benefit and financial assistance programs benefiting wealthy married with and without children need to be replaced with programs based on financial need with inclusion of all family types.

TRADING PLACES Single Adults Replace Lone Parents as the New Face of Social Assistance in Canada” (trading_places) by the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation at the University of Toronto in 2011 states:  ‘This paper examines changes in social assistance caseloads coming out of the major economic recession that began in the fall of 2008. In Ontario and the western provinces, eligibility rules for both Employment Insurance (EI) and social assistance have greatly tightened. Far fewer people can access social assistance, whether they apply before or apply after exhausting an EI claim. Comparing 2007 to 2010, asymmetric EI eligibility has resulted in uniformly lower social assistance caseloads from Quebec to the East Coast but higher caseloads from Ontario to the West Coast. Other changes are resulting in far fewer lone parents receiving social assistance, while single people become the most prevalent social assistance applicants.’

‘From 1990 to 1996, dramatic changes to Employment Insurance (EI) legislation profoundly altered the face of those on welfare in Canada. Equally important cutbacks to social assistance across Canada were made from 1993 to 2001, starting first in Alberta and ending in British Columbia. EI has become a much smaller benefit program than in the past. EI is time-limited, while social assistance benefits are not. For those who do not qualify for, or exhaust, their EI, cannot find work, and cannot get help from family or other networks, social assistance is the only recourse. Now, many more Canadians are in this situation. The shift is most noticeable in the provinces where EI coverage is the least comprehensive. It has been intensified by the recent recession [2008].’

‘In the post-recession world, single people, the majority of them young men, are emerging as a major public policy concern. A number of factors contributing to this need further study. For example, a shifting economy that has eliminated many traditionally male, blue collar jobs and created jobs in the service sector that are largely going to women. The result, however, is clear. Far more young males are forced to rely on social assistance, with incomes that are close to destitution levels—much lower than in other developed countries.’

It is clear that the mix of programs available to lone parents, most of them mothers, is working to help people move out of poverty. For single people, it is the opposite. The only additional income they receive is federal and provincial tax credits. Clearly, targeted changes to Canada’s support system for the unemployed are needed to better and more fairly support those in need while encouraging a more efficient labour market and meeting the human capital needs of a dynamic economy.’

‘Although lone parent caseloads increased during the recent recession, there has been a long term downward trend. This trend is consistent across Canada, regardless of local economies. Lone parents have become a success story, in the sense that fewer are receiving social assistance than at any point in the last three decades. The proportion of lone parent families living in low income is at the lowest point since 1976 (Figure 1). Lone parents are getting education and work. They are accessing child support and child benefits and cobbling these benefits together with income from work. Single people are the major public policy concern in the post-recessionary period. There are many more singles receiving social assistance all across the country. They receive basic incomes that are close to destitution levels—much less than in other developed countries (Immervoll, 2009a: 10). They are not getting work and they are losing ground.’

‘With the advent of child benefits, there is a new and striking ‘family bias’ in the amounts of money paid to low-income people. A two person, parent plus child unit receives $18,351 a year, more than twice the amount ($7,878) paid to a single person. Family bias is not just present in basic benefits. It is also prevalent in the design of refundable tax credits such as the new HST credit in Ontario. A family of two is eligible for more than twice what a single person receives. Added to this is the problem of economies of scale in a household. When single people on welfare live alone, rather than in shared accommodation, they must pay the costs of the household on their own.’

CONCLUSION

The prevailing attitude of many opinion writers, right wing think tanks, families and politicians that unattached singles financially deserve less and should always be working fails to recognize that singles may also have life altering situations where they may suffer unemployment for extended periods of time.

If newly elected Conservative leader Erin O’toole’s suggested financial platforms for families can provide thousands of dollars in Child Care Benefits, Canada Child Benefits, and refundable tax credits then politicians can for damn sure eliminate the $,8000 taxes that unattached singles have to pay on $50,000 (if-human-rights-say-they-cant-help-in-financial-discrimination-of-singles-who-can).

Government, politicians and families need to eliminate the financial “family bias” where unattached singles in extreme poverty receive less financial assistance than lone parent families and married with and without children.

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

CHARITABLE CAUSES AT THE EXPENSE OF LOW WAGES  INCREASES POVERTY OF SINGLES OVER WEALTHY AND MARRIED PERSONS

 

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

Wages and taxes have been separated from and are considered to be less important than capitalistic wealth creation of rising housing prices, huge inheritances and the stock and bond markets.  The wealthy and married are more likely to achieve wealth because they are more likely to own all three wealth creators of owning homes/property, participating in stock and bond markets and receiving huge inheritances.

As stated previously singles don’t get to income split, pension split, etc. so they are forced to pay more taxes.   It is impossible for singles to save for retirement on a present day $50,000 income plus they are forced to live on very frugal wage incomes after taxes and EI/CPP deductions.  A single person with a 2019 $50,000 Alberta gross income ($25/hr. and 2,000 worked hours) and $11,000 tax, CPP and EI deductions results in a net income of $39,000 ($19.50/hr.).  When young millennial singles are faced with purchasing a used vehicle, trying to save for house purchase and retirement and possibly pay off student loans all at the same time these wages do not allow for accomplishment of all of these financial goals; they have to pick and choose.  Throughout their entire employment lives it will be difficult to maximize $9,000 RRSP and $6,000 TFSA contributions (35% of $39,000 with tax reductions for RRSP) even though many believe $50,000 is a good income for unattached individuals and single parents.  (Single parents do receive Canada Child Benefits until children reach the age of 18).  No median income family spends 35% of their income on savings and 10% for emergencies leaving 55% for living expenses.  As seniors these singles will likely be living only on CPP and OAS benefits.

Singles are not fortune tellers and, therefore, cannot forecast whether they will marry (excluding those who do not wish to marry ever) or if they will get divorced.  According to research, (see following articles from USA) at least 25 percent in mid-40s to mid-50s have never married, so why do society and governments continue to make them pay more and receive less than their married counterparts?

Liveable wages are being replaced by the graft and greed of capitalism which ensures the wealthy are becoming wealthier and married at the expense of keeping wages low for singles and the poor.

“Winners Take All-the elite charade of changing the world” book by Anand Giriharadas (HOW THE ELITE SABOTAGE) describes how the Marketworld and thought leaders of capitalism instead of addressing poverty believe poverty can be addressed by writing cheques.  ‘ “But inequality you can’t, because inequality is not about giving back, but how that money is made in the first place.”  To fight inequality means to change systems as a group of people.  With charity the elite work ALONE.

From behind private gates, schools, and jets the elite promote their private world-saving behind the backs of those to be saved through organized philanthropy while getting tax credits and maintaining their wealth.  For all the good they do they are marred by their own “narcissism.”   “When help is moved into private spheres, even when efficient, the helping context is a relationship of inequality:  giver and taker, donor and recipient”.

“Thought leaders” have permeated higher learning institutions by purposefully changing the language in which public spheres think and act.  Young people are taught to see social problems in a “zoom in” fashion by confining questioning to what socially minded businesses they can start up like “buy one, give one”, but not inequality.  Many right and left political leaders have bought into this ideology.’

Interestingly enough one presenter at the civil rights activist John Lewis funeral called the graft and greed of capitalistic wealth achieved at the feet of black slavery ‘plantation’ capitalism.  Today, it could be said that wages are being replaced by the charitable organizations of the capitalistic wealthy instead of increasing wages to liveable wages.  

Yes, it could be said that the “WE” charitable organization and its founders Marc and Craig Kielburger with head office in Toronto have had considerable success in their reduction of poverty goals.  But, when one researches the wages that the Kielburgers pay their employees, the lower salaries appear to begin at $30,000 to $31,000.  The minimum wage of Ontario is slightly higher than $14 per hour.  How does a single person with a $30,000 salary ($15 per hour and 2000 worked hours) begin to survive in the atrocious housing and rental prices of Toronto?  Meanwhile the Kielburgers appear to each receive $125,000 as the heads of the “WE” organization or four times more than the salaries of their lowest paid employees.

CONCLUSION

The Covid-19 pandemic crisis has highlighted how low minimum wages and lack of full time jobs have been detrimental to society as a whole.  One great example is nursing home wages where low paid employees were never allowed to be full time employees so that employers would not have to pay benefits  Suddenly with the crisis, these employees had to be reclassified as ‘essential’ employees and paid a higher wage so the Covid infections would not be spread between nursing homes.

In order to increase financial fairness and equality of low income persons, it is imperative that more value be placed on increasing wages instead of the wealthy increasing their wealthy through owning properties, stocks and bonds and huge inheritances and replacing wages with charitable causes.

 

https://time.com/3422624/report-millennials-marriage/ by Belinda Luscombe, 2014

‘Fewer young people are getting married and many are getting married later. About 20 percent of Americans older than 25 had always been single in 2012, up from 9 percent in 1960. In the black community, the numbers are even starker: 36 percent of black Americans older than 25 have never been married, a fourfold increase from 50 years ago.

PEW 2014 report authors Wendy Wang and Kim Parker state for each decade, the percentage of people of marriageable age who are single has grown. “When today’s young adults reach their mid-40s to mid-50s, a record high share (roughly 25 percent) is likely to have never been married,” they write. “This is not to say that adults in their mid-40s to mid-50s who still haven’t married will never marry, but our analysis suggests that the chance of getting married for the first time after age 54 is relatively small,” adds Parker….The three main reasons people give for their singleness are that they haven’t found the right person (30%), aren’t financially stable enough (27%) and are not ready to settle down (22%).’

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/07/case-against-marriage/591973/ by Mandy Len Cantron, 2019

‘While marriage is often seen as an essential step in a successful life, the Pew Research Center reports that only about half of Americans over age 18 are married. This is down from 72 percent in 1960. One obvious reason for this shift is that, on average, people are getting married much later in life than they were just a few decades earlier. In the United States, the median age for first marriage rose to an all-time high in 2018: 30 for men and 28 for women. While a majority of Americans expect to marry eventually, 14 percent of never-married adults say they don’t plan to marry at all, and another 27 percent aren’t sure whether marriage is for them.’

 

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

COVID CRISIS UNMASKS HOUSING DISCRIMINATION THAT SINGLES FACE EVERY DAY

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

We have talked many times in the past about how singles are being forced out of the housing market.  Crises such as the Covid crisis further amplifies this issue.

Regardless of whether singles are in their younger years or seniors they are being forced into smaller and more expensive housing both from a rental and a purchasing perspective (affordable-housing-discrimination-for-singles-perpetuated-by-misinformation-and-lack-of-knowledge).

As children, social service agency rules generally dictate that when they reach a certain age they should have their own bedrooms.  When these same children reach the age of majority formulas such as living wage formulas generally imply that singles only need studio apartments  without a separate bedroom.

Apartments and condos for singles are becoming smaller in size, some with only bar fridges and microwaves with no laundry facilities or storage space.  There is little doubt that during crises such as the Covid crisis singles will experience claustrophobia and restricted space especially if they are forced to work from home in these spaces.

As seniors the Covid crisis further amplifies how crowded Canadian nursing home spaces increased the number of senior deaths as outlined in article “Hundreds of COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented by eliminating four-person nursing-home rooms: study” (multi-bed-rooms-in-nursing-homes-could-have-saved-many-lives-study)

As stated: ‘The study by University of Toronto, McMaster University and Public Health Ontario scientists, found a clear association between the degree of crowding in homes — how many people share a room and lavatory — and the virus’s spread.  Residents of the most tightly packed facilities were twice as likely to get infected and to die as those in the least-crowded homes, concluded their paper.  And yet, one in four long-term-care residents were in four-bed rooms when the pandemic hit, they say.’  ‘COVID-19’s disastrous toll on nursing homes has been the central story of the pandemic in Canada, accounting for about 80 per cent of the country’s 8,500 deaths.’

Some standards have been introduced that state new facilities should only have no more than two people per room.

The irony of the above is that while it is quite acceptable for couples to share a room, singles would still be forced to have a roommate even when they have for much of their lives always lived by themselves and do not wish to have a roommate.  As stated in the article, ‘past surveys indicate that 80 per cent of residents would choose to have a private room over a shared one’.  Senior singles are often forced to pay more per person than coupled persons, but singles only have one income.

CONCLUSION

It is high time that families, politicians and governments realize that singles are part of the family and deserve to live in the same reasonable housing spaces as the married and their children expect to live in.  Singles regardless of where they are in their life cycle should not always be the ‘losers’ in the setting of housing standards.  They should not be forced to have roommates when they don’t want roommates and their spaces should be of a reasonable size. Anything less is a violation of the civil rights and family values for singles.

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

EVEN IN DEATH FINANCIAL FORMULAS (LIKE CPP) FINANCIALLY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SINGLES

The Covid pandemic further amplifies the financial discrimination that singles never married, no children (also includes divorced/separated) face even in death (CPP death benefit) (CPP INCREASE FOR WIDOWS APRIL FOOL’S JOKE) One saving grace, if one can call it that, is that the young appear to be less afflicted by the Covid virus.

Canada Revenue Agency rules for receiving the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit reveal that the deceased must have made CPP contributions for at least: – one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period for the base CPP, but no less than 3 calendar years; or – 10 calendar years.  It is difficult to determine how this is calculated but it appears that the estates of deceased persons meeting these requirements will receive a one time $2,500 death benefit which doesn’t even cover the cost of a funeral.  Deceased persons with less than the equivalent of 10 CPP calendar years receive nothing? The $2,500 death benefit is not indexed to inflation.  (The maximum contribution to the base CPP for employees in 2019 was $2,748.90 based on an earnings ceiling of $57,400.  If singles contributed the maximum for ten years CPP contributions would total $27,489.00). 

Further analysis of rules shows that deceased singles (especially those with incomes under $50,000 before the age of 30 or 35) will likely not even receive the $2,500 even though they have been employed and contributed to CPP since some young CPP contributors will likely not meet the 10 calendar year CPP contribution requirement.  They also will likely not have been able to put aside money for savings (to cover their funeral costs)  since they are likely paying off student loans and spending income on establishing themselves as young adults.

Singles deceased after the age of 30 to 35 with over ten years employment may probably receive the $2,500 death benefit but this still doesn’t cover the cost of a funeral.

So how do singles, who have been personally responsible by being employed, pay for their funerals which can cost between $6,000 to $10,000?  Many immediate family members, especially those with low incomes, would have great difficulty paying for this.

The question then remains: what happens to the CPP contributions paid by singles above and beyond $2,500?  Answer: Contributions would remain in the CPP ‘pot’ to be probably primarily used by the married and widowed regardless of age.  Examination reveals that the widowed under the age of 35 now may be eligible for CPP survivor benefits since the rules have recently changed to include these individuals.  The amount they will receive depends on how much, and for how long, the deceased contributor has paid into CPP.  Dependent children  of the widowed are also eligible for CPP survivor benefits.

Over time with life span now decreasing instead of increasing, collapsing financial markets and the further increasing burden of CPP survivor benefits being placed on CPP resources, will the CPP plan be able to sustain itself?  Will widowed also possibly receive extra 25 per cent survivor CPP benefits because Trudeau has sent out a trial balloon re this intent while singles receive nothing equivalent to this amount?

Analysis of the obituaries reveals there are many individuals who expire before the age of 85 through illness – cancer, heart and stroke, autoimmune diseases, flu, dementia, etc. Covid deaths can now be added to the list.  Accidental deaths and homicides also need to be included.  Young adults may decease from diseases like asthma and Type 1 diabetes.

Young adults who are deceased deserve to benefit from their CPP contributions just like widowed over and under the age of 65.

To eliminate the gross financial abuse of singles’ CPP contributions by the married (including the wealthy married), the financial formulas should be changed so that CPP survivor benefits are replaced with mandatory life insurance for the married/coupled (some employees do receive life insurance benefits if employed by companies providing this benefit).  Since singles never married, no children can only be personally responsible to themselves they do not need life insurance.  (Singles may purchase life insurance on a voluntary basis if they wish to financially assist someone close to them).

Mandatory life insurance should make the private sector very happy since it would promote private sector insurance businesses and stocks markets for the insurance industry.  Mandatory life insurance for the married would mean they would take sole personal responsibility for their death benefits without robbing singles of their CPP contributions by ‘robbing from Peter to pay Paul’. This would mean that beyond the CPP death benefits CPP benefits would exclusively only be used for CPP retirement benefits.

It is a known fact that once benefits are introduced by politicians it is almost impossible to eliminate them for fear of loss of votes perpetuated by their own partisan greed (Liberal and Conservative).  It is a known fact that the married will usually financially win over singles since singles as a minority have no voice and have no one to speak for them.

SOLUTION:  Since we know the grifting of CPP survivor benefits where the married benefit the most will not change anytime soon it is imperative that financial abuse of singles CPP benefits be at least partially eliminated by increasing the CPP death benefit to at least $6,000 to cover the cost of funerals and be indexed just like widowed CPP survivor benefits are.  Life insurance should be mandatory for married and common-law households instead of increasing CPP survivor benefits by twenty five per cent as has been trial ballooned by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

 

SINGLES NEED A FINANCIAL “RUTH BADER GINSBURG” TYPE HERO

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

EXAMPLES OF RUTH BADER GINSBURG’S FIGHT AGAINST GENDER DISCRIMINATION

https://www.history.com/news/ruth-bader-ginsburgs-landmark-opinions-womens-rights-supreme-court

Brilliant judge and lawyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has built her career on the fight for women’s rights and gender discrimination.  Before her days as a judge, she acted as general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she argued over 300 gender discrimination cases—six before the Supreme Court—and cofounded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. As a civilian, Ginsburg earned a reputation as a dogged advocate for gender equality. As a judge, first during 13 years as a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, then more than 25 years as a Supreme Court Justice, she’s built upon that legacy.

A case that hinged on gender discrimination and government benefits was Frontiero v. Richardson. The 1973 case was the first Ginsburg argued before the Supreme Court. When a woman in the U.S. Air Force applied for benefits for her dependent husband, she was told she’d have to prove he was a dependent, even though men in the Air Force didn’t have to prove that their wives were dependent on them.

https://time.com/5247283/ruth-bader-ginsburg-rbg/

She made her mark on gender discrimination jurisprudence with a male client.  In the case Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld (1975), Weisenfeld was a self-employed consultant and male homemaker, who was denied his late wife’s Social Security benefits to support their son because that money only went to mothers.  Stephen Weisenfeld brought a lawsuit, which Ginsburg argued, charging that this provision of the Social Security Act denied him equal protection and violated the due-process clause of the Fifth Amendment….“It is no less important for a child to be cared for by its sole surviving parent when that parent is male rather than female,” the court ruled. The unanimous decision in Wiesenfeld’s favor led to a new class of Social Security payments.

IT COULD BE ARGUED THAT RBG CASES ARGUED AS MUCH FOR MARTIAL STATUS RIGHTS AS FOR GENDER DISCRIMINATION

In the first case the person was married and female.  In the second case the person was widowed and male.

In the Frontiero v. Richardson case, the woman who applied for benefits for her dependent husband, she had to prove he was a dependent, even though men in the Air Force didn’t have to prove that their wives were dependent on them.  In this case the person was married and female.  As for single marital status persons, were the benefits that single persons received equivalent to married persons benefits where applicable?

In the Weinberger v. Weisenfeld case, Weisenfeld was a self-employed consultant and male homemaker, who was denied his late wife’s Social Security benefits to support their son because that money only went to mothers.  In this case, the person was widowed and male.

WHO WILL BE THE FINANCIAL HERO THAT WILL FIGHT FOR FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST SINGLES?

We have shown many times in this blog how singles are financially discriminated against in many different ways.

It has been shown that a single person with a 2019 $50,000 Alberta gross income ($25/hr. and 2,000 worked hours) and $11,000 tax, CPP and EI deductions results in a net income of $39,000 ($19.50/hr.).  This is a bare bones living wage that does not allow for savings, vacations or entertainment.   It is impossible to maximize $9,000 RRSP and $6,000 TFSA contributions (35% of $39,000 with tax reductions for RRSP) even though many believe $50,000 is a good income for unattached individuals and single parents.  As seniors these singles will likely be living only on CPP and OAS benefits.  There is no median income family that spends 35% of their income on savings and 10% for emergencies.

Some of these financial discrimination issues for singles have been submitted to the Canadian Human Rights Commission   (DISCRIMINATION OF SINGLES). They said they couldn’t help. If they can’t, who can and who will?  Who will be the financial hero?

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

WEALTHY MARRIED AND FINANCIAL ADVISORS GASLIGHT ON ‘PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).


Many espouse ‘personal responsibility’ but base it on gaslighting and entitlement (personal-responsibility).

Andrew Allentuck article “Couple with a big age gap forced to contemplate impact of early death” (couple-with-big-age-gap-worry-that-their-prosperity-is-fragile) states couple, aged 64 and 55, with grown children have financial assets of $1,741,500 including $650,000 house, TFSAs, RRSPs, non registered, GICs and cash.  At husband’s age 65 couple’s estimated income is $72,000 net income after eligible income splits, tax free TFSA distributions and reduced income tax to average 15 per cent. They spend $17,000 annually on travel and entertainment. Singles with similar income, should they be so lucky, could pay 25 per cent in taxes. This financial profile receives five out of five stars.

 If husband dies early, financial advisor estimates Lori could lose $17,008 gross annual income and potentially pay higher taxes.  Reduced income could result from 1) loss of husband’s OAS, 2) part his two work pensions, 3) most of his CPP benefits and 4) inability to split income, but 5) still have $650,000 house.  Most of these are not available to never married singles throughout entire senior lives. The advisor gaslights by over embellishing potential losses of surviving spouse which are far less than gains achieved as a couple.

How wealthy married abdicate their ‘personal responsibility’:  1) retire at age 55 with no acknowledgment that they haven’t fully contributed to EI/CPP even though they have used maternity/paternity EI benefits but possibly will receive extra 25 per cent survivor CPP benefits because Trudeau has sent out a trial balloon re this intent  2) complain that most of husband’s CPP benefits would be lost, but they haven’t contributed fully to CPP 3) spend $17,000 annually on travel and entertainment 4) calculations based on age 90 and 100 when 2018 average life expectancy is 82.8 years.

Lori could take ‘personal responsibility’ by working till age 65, reducing excessive spending and saving that money to be used if husband dies early.  How about paying fair share of taxes and Lori maintaining frugal standard of living that many singles never married have to live every day of their lives?

Even Ayn Rand betrayed her ‘personal responsibility’ philosophy by using social benefits in her elder years.

Gaslighting of ‘personal responsibility’ smacks of individualism and entitlement instead of betterment of society as a whole.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

CANADIAN SINGLES FACE TERRIBLE FINANCIAL FUTURE UNDER CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL PERSONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEMS

 

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

For this discussion singles include millennials not yet married age 18 to 34, singles never married no children age 35 to 65, and early in life divorced persons with no children.  Early in life divorced persons are unable to accumulate the same wealth as married persons who have two incomes and benefits times two over many years.

First and foremost, governments, society and married people have no concept about how difficult it is for ‘singles’ to live decent respectful financial lives.  Canadian financial system has been setup to give benefits compounded on benefits to the wealthy and the married but leave ‘singles’ out of financial formulas and exclude them from the family definition.

SINGLES DO NOT BENEFIT FROM THEIR INCOMES IN THE SAME WAY AS THE MARRIED AND THE WEALTHY

Singles don’t get to income split, pension split, etc. so they are forced to pay more taxes.   It is impossible for singles to save for retirement on a present day $50,000 income plus they are forced to live on a very frugal bare bones living wage income.  A single person with a 2019 $50,000 Alberta gross income ($25/hr. and 2,000 worked hours) and $11,000 tax, CPP and EI deductions results in a net income of $39,000 ($19.50/hr.).  This bare bones living wage that does not allow for savings, vacations or entertainment.   It is impossible to maximize $9,000 RRSP and $6,000 TFSA contributions (35% of $39,000 with tax reductions for RRSP) even though many believe $50,000 is a good income for unattached individuals and single parents.  As seniors these singles will likely be living only on CPP and OAS benefits.   

Singles are only able to achieve full contributions to RRSP and TFSA with $80,000 income but only can do so while living on a bare bones living wage of $39,000, 18% RRSP of $14,400 and $6,000 TFSA contribution with RRSP tax savings of $4,400 or extra income of $366 per month.

This is completely unrealistic since both OECD and Canadian median income statistics show median incomes for unattached individuals is considerably lower than $80,000 and indeed even $50,000.  The OECD calculator (oecd) shows that the median income for Canadian one person households is between $32,621 and $43,495 and income for one person households begins at $86,990 for the top 10%.   Canadian median income by households in 2015 (vanierinstitute) shows the total median household income in Canada was approximately $70,300 before taxes ($61,300 after taxes), and $34,200 before taxes (just under $30,900 after taxes) for individuals.  The Canadian Market Basket Measure (MBM) or OECD equivalence scales (OECDEquivalenceScales) show that it costs more for singles to live than two person households – if singles have a value of 1.0, it is only 1.4 for two person households, not 2.0.

There are many other ways in which singles are forced by government, society and families to contribute to family financial formulas without being able to benefit themselves from these contributions.

SINGLES DO NOT RECEIVE SAME LEVEL OF BENEFITS AS MARRIED/WEALTHY

From the time a married or coupled with children family unit begins at marriage until death of one of the spouses, it is possible they will receive shower, wedding and baby gifts (there is no such thing as ‘singles showers’), maternity/paternity leaves, child benefits, TFSA benefits times two, RRSP benefits times two, RESP grants, reduced taxes, pension-splitting, no OAS clawback, Involuntary Separation payments and possible survivor pension benefits.  There also are probably a great number of years where they never pay full taxes while increasing wealth and many can retire early before the age of 65.  Singles are not able to achieve these same level of benefits and tax relief.

Married people fail to realize that they get two inheritances (it is quite funny watching married people struggle with this fact until you tell them one heritance comes from the wife’s side and the second from the husband’s side)  Singles get one inheritance.

EI CONTRIBUTIONS AND BENEFITS

Government, families and society fail to recognize or even realize that singles often contribute to EI without ever using these benefits in their employment lifetime.  Instead contributions (estimated $35,000 at $800 to $900 EI contributions over forty years – investment potential not included) are forfeited to be used by other persons particularly for maternity/paternity benefits.  Singles are forced to help pay for maternity/paternity benefits for not only one generation, but possibly two generations.  Question:  when do EI maternity/paternity benefit payouts outpace the contributions of two working parents, especially when they retire early at age 55 and not contribute their full share to EI?

CPP CONTRIBUTIONS AND BENEFITS

The CPP death benefit is maxed at $2,500, is not indexed and not increased for many years.  After forty years of employment with average $2,500 annual CPP contributions will total $100,000.  If a single person dies one day after the age of 65 the deceased single person’s estate will only receive $2,500 death benefit which doesn’t even cover funeral costs.  Total of $100,000 contribution is forfeited to be used by the survivors of married or coupled households.

And now Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau wants to increase surviving spousal CPP benefits by 25% while singles will not receive equivalent increase???  Conservative Party’s Motion 110 proposes investigation to ensure parents with early infant deaths do not suffer undue financial or emotional hardship due to government programming design, particularly from Employment Insurance Parental Benefits.  Both Conservatives and Liberals continue to implement financial death formulas that benefit only families and the married.

SINGLES AND EMPLOYERS PENALIZED FOR OVERCONTRIBUTIONS OF EI  AND CPP

When singles attempt to increase their financial worth by working multiple jobs, they will not be able to contribute to EI and CPP beyond the individual maximum limits.  Meanwhile, married persons with both spouses working can contribute to maximum limits time two.  This means singles will never be able to achieve the same EI and CPP benefits afforded to married households but Market Basket Measure shows it costs them more to live than two person households.

The irony of singles having to receive a rebate of EI and CPP contributions is that the rebate is paid to the employee, not the employer.  In other words, the employer will have also  made an overcontribution, but is not able to collect a rebate on the overcontribution.  Their overpayment will be forfeited and added to benefits pot.

(Caveat:  Uncertain how recent changes to CPP contributions will affect overpayment levels).

ENTREPRENEURS WHO HAVE A MARITAL STATUS OF ‘SINGLE’ WILL PROBABLY PAY MORE INCOME TAX SINCE THEY CAN’T “INCOME SPRINKLE”, etc.

Personal responsibility espoused by Conservatives equals gaslighting in its purest form.

Re small business earners, excerpt from a newspaper article states that “Small business owners, including incorporated professionals such as doctors, lawyers, accountants and others, will likely face a higher tax bill in the years ahead as a result of (Liberal) Finance Minister announcement this week targeting several common, and until now, perfectly legal, tax strategies used in conjunction with private corporations.

The strategies under attack can be categorized into three main areas: income sprinkling, earning passive investment income in a corporation and converting a corporation’s ordinary income into tax-preferred capital gains.

Among these changes, it’s the first one — income sprinkling — which is perhaps deemed the most offensive of the three and the one that will likely have the broadest financial impact on small business owners and incorporated professionals”.

What this newspaper article fails to recognize is that information is only talking about families.  It fails to show how entrepreneurs who are single cannot use these benefits since they can only be personally responsible only to themselves since they have no children or spouses.  They, therefore, will likely pay more taxes and will possibly be more likely to have business failures as entrepreneurs.

“Income sprinkling” describes how some families use private corporations to sprinkle income among family members. In a typical example, dividends that would have been received by the primary owner/manager of the private corporation, say, mom or dad, would instead be paid to the spouse, partner or kids of the primary shareholder, who are often in lower tax brackets than the primary owner/manager and thus the family’s total tax bill would be reduced.  When it comes to income sprinkling of salary income, this rule is meant to prevent a parent who owns a corporation from paying his spouse or child an annual salary when he or she doesn’t actually perform any work or provide services to the business.   In the past transferring dividends to children under the age of 18 was eliminated (this blog writer’s opinion – this was the right and fair thing to do as children would benefit from double dipping while using multiple combined medical and educational services and receiving concomitant tax free Canada Child Benefits). 

Conservatives in the recent election promised to reverse some of these entrepreneurship rules changed by the Liberals, however, the election resulted in Liberals winning a minority government (example of Conservatives doing the wrong thing that would increase financial discrimination of single marital status entrepreneurs).

Since singles never married no children, millennials not yet married and early in life divorced persons without children in their financial circles can only be basically financially responsible to themselves, ‘Income sprinkling’, distribute dividends to family members, etc. is of no benefit to these entrepreneurs so they will pay more taxes.  Why would singles and millennials not yet married even try entrepreneurship when they know from the get go that they will not have the same advantage, Alberta or otherwise, to married and wealthy entrepreneurs with spouses and children?  Singles are forced to be more personally responsible since they do not receive equivalent benefits in financial formulas.   Tax fairness needs to be ensured regardless of marital status and how income is earned.

Income, taxes and benefits, etc. define who employees are and how loyal they are to their employers.  Without change to where there is fairness and equality for single employees in pay, pension, taxes, benefits, etc. the trend where young single employees have no sense of loyalty to their employers (revolving door of quitting and applying for job after job after job) will only continue and get worse. This also applies to senior single employees who have tried lobbying and using righteous anger regarding financial discrimination and singlism in the workplace and in society but get nowhere because their employers, politicians and society choose to blatantly not listen.

THE FINANCIAL HYPOCRISY, GREED, SELFISHNESS OF THE MARRIED AND THE WEALTHY AS SHOWN IN FINANCIAL ANALYSTS EVALUATIONS WHERE IMPACT ON NEVER MARRIED SINGLES IS COMPLETELY ABSENT AND INVISIBLE

Financial Post article “Couple with a big age gap forced to contemplate impact of an early death” (alberta-couple-with-big-age-gap-worry)

Article states wife (Lori) could lose $17,000 a year in income if her husband dies first since there is a ten year age difference.  They have financial assets of $1,741,500 including a $650,000 house.  At age 65 couple is estimated to have income of $6,000 per month ($72,000 annual net income after splits of eligible income, no tax on TFSA distributions and reduced income tax to average 15 per cent.  How does single person ever only pay 15%?

 If husband dies early, the financial planner estimates that Lori could lose $17,008 in gross annual income per year and potentially pay a higher tax on her remaining income.  The reduced income could result from 1) loss of husband’s OAS, 2) part of two of his work pensions, 3) most of his CPP benefits and 4) the inability to split income, but 5) still have $650,000 house.  All of these are not available to singles throughout their entire senior lives.

It is distressing to never married singles that this couple should be worried when it appears they are spending over $15,000 annually on travel and entertainment.  If they are so worried that Lori’s standard of living will be reduced, why can’t they take personal responsibility,  work till age 65, reduce some of their excessive spending and save that money to be used if husband dies early?  How about paying fair share of taxes and maintaining lower standard of living that singles never married have to live every day of their lives?

It is also distressing to never married singles that Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau and other politicians are obsessing about benefits for surviving spouses.  He is talking about increasing CPP benefits for surviving spouses by 25%.  Twenty five percent!  Will never married singles get same equivalent amount?  Who is paying for this increase?  Lori retired at age 55 so why should she receive an extra 25% when she hasn’t contributed to the full amount of CPP?

Michael Lewis, author of “The Undoing Project” book, describes how a Nobel Prize-winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.   Two Israeli psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s work created the field of behavioral economics which revolutionized thinking of how the human mind works when forced to make judgements in uncertain situations.  An example is outcomes of surgery where there might be a 5% chance of death versus 95% chance of surviving the surgery.  When patients are presented with 95% chance of survival rather than 5% death rate, they are more likely to go through with the surgery.  The same judgement should apply to the hypocrisy of the wealthy.

For upper class and wealthy, please don’t ‘cry me a river’.  Wealthy need to look at what they have left after taxation instead of what is being taken from them in taxation.

EFFECTS OF LOW INCOME ON BRAIN AND MENTAL HEALTH ESPECIALLY THE YOUNG

Government, politicians and society need to educate themselves on the effects that low income has on the brain by reducing connective white matter and increasing worse structural integrity as outlined in first article listed below.  The second article outlines how Alberta university students are facing food insecurity and even homelessness.  One of the reasons in particular for increased university costs is the massive increase in textbook costs   – American data suggest textbook costs increased by more than 800 per cent between 1978 and 2013.

The information from the two articles has been submitted as an attachment.  

1) “UNPREDICTABLE EMPLOYMENT MAY BE BAD FOR BRAIN HEALTH” by Lisa Rapaport, October10, 2019 (unpredictable-income) and 2) “FINANCIAL AND MENTAL HEALTH PRESSURES MOUNT ON STUDENTS” by Joel Schlesinger (unable to attach link).

THE CANADIAN PERSONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM IS FRAGMENTED AND BROKEN

There is a complete fragmentation of the Canadian personal financial system where politicians through upmanship throw money at certain populations, include the wealthy but exclude certain populations such as singles, the only reason being to get votes.

Conservatives continue to talk ad nauseum about socialism of the left, but are ‘brain dead’ to the selective privileged socialism they practise every day for the wealthy.

The wealthy often aren’t employed for as many years as singles, yet they believe they should be able to get full CPP benefits and even extend these to surviving spouses (Trudeau to increase by 25% for surviving spouses) some of whom haven’t even been employed for 75% of the employment lifetime of singles.

The Canadian financial  system for personal finances is broken.  Continuation of overspending for the wealthy and the married will lad to bankruptcy of the personal financial system.

Solutions:  

Instead of having a Minister for the Middle Class, a non partisan committee with participation by all political parties is needed to annually review financial formulas and  personal benefits based on application of MBM/OECD.  (See oecd for handy calculator by country and the number of persons in households).  More ‘zooming out’ and balance between ‘right and left brain thinking’ (see below for explanation) needs to replace the present narrow focus of only financially privileging the wealthy and the married.

To counterbalance the net income, tax avoidance and tax free selective socialistic privileging for the married and the wealthy, it is crucial that lifetime federal and provincial income tax be immediately and exclusively completely eliminated for singles and single parents with incomes under $50,000 so they also can save for their retirements.  (This change would be the equivalent of about $7,000 and would not exceed the many privileges such as CCB benefits and tax loopholes for the wealthy and the married).

Instead of singles subsidizing the married, the married should have to purchase mandatory term life insurance just like vehicle and house insurance.

The ‘financial pimping’ of singles and millennials not yet married by the married and the wealthy has to stop.   Singles are tired of being financially pimped by their own wealthy parents, wealthy married siblings and wealthy married fellow employees.  When singles are forced further into poverty to the point of homelessness, what will you do then?

The financial imbalance between the rich and the poor, singles and married only leads to populist anger, male millennial suicides (Alberta) and despair.  There already has been created a genocide of indigenous peoples.  We don’t need a financial genocide of singles.

TWO THEORIES ON WHY FINANCIAL SYSTEMS ARE FAILING AND INDEED MAY RESULT IN THE DEMISE OF CIVILIZATION

Governments, politicians, and society continue to manipulate the financial system so that selective socialistic benefits are given unequally to the married and the wealthy.  Some believe continued progression of this inequality will lead to the degradation of civilization and, indeed, may even the demise of civilization.  Indeed, even higher educational institutions of learning have migrated to teaching that is focused more to the narrowness of ‘left brain thinking’ (enormous capacity for denial and capacity to ignore things and keep them shut out – students specialize in narrow fields.  Theories, and categories become important) and ‘zooming in’ (think smaller by focusing on vulnerability of poverty, not the wage of inequality) without ‘zooming out’ (getting people to care about problems first by ‘zooming in’ on a vivid person and then getting them to care by ‘zooming out’ from persons to systems”.  To fight inequality means to change systems as a group of people).

‘Personal responsibility’ smacks of individualism instead of betterment of society as a whole.

Further explanation of the two theories outline why this may be happening.

The first is by Iain McGilchist and “The Divided Brain from the Documentary Channel.  He states that imbalance towards left brain hemisphere thinking gives narrow, sharply focused attention to detail without understanding the larger context resulting in bureaucracy, excessive concentration on money and wealth, bad politics and warped economic systems.  Reduced role of right brain hemisphere thinking results in decreased ability to relate to things and understand them as a whole.  

The second theory by Anand Giriharadas, “Winners Take All” says the same thing but in a different way.  He refers to ‘zooming in’ and ‘zooming out’.  ‘Zooming in’ causes us to think smaller by focusing on vulnerability of poverty, not the wage of inequality.  ‘Zooming out’ causes us to care by ‘zooming out’ from persons to systems”.   To fight inequality means to change systems as a group of people.

Both theories show how higher learning institutions have been affected by a narrowed focus on learning which then translates into a narrowed kind of thinking by politicians and society when these graduates get out into the real world.

Synopsis of Iain McGilchist and “The Divided Brain from the Documentary Channel

The two hemispheres of the brain have styles or takes on the world, they see things differently, have different values, prioritize differently.

The left hemisphere’s goal is to enable us to manipulate things (like a calculator) whereas the role of the right brain is to relate to things and understand them as a whole ( like a tree branches growing out of the ground and sprouting out and upwards).  Two ways of thinking about things are both needed but at the same time are compatible.

McGilchrist claims that the left hemisphere is gradually colonizing our experiences of the world with potentially disastrous implications.  The way of thinking which is too mechanistic has taken over our way of thinking.  We behave like we have right hemisphere damage.  Do we pay a price for being too left brain centered?   It has made us enormously powerful; it has enabled us to become wealthy, but it also means we have lost the means to understand the world.

Could the problems of the modern world be influenced by an imbalance of the human brain?  And what does that imply about our future?  For McGilchrist the problem is not only bad politics or a warped economic system.  The problem is inside our modern brain.

Experiments showed that each hemisphere had a different way of looking at the world.  The left talks and is analytical and the right pulls stuff together.  Each hemisphere engages in everything, so each hemisphere, right and left, is involved in reason and language and emotion but in crucially different ways.  

Why does the brain have two centres of consciousness, each capable of maintaining consciousness on its own but in a different way?  The left brain will recognize parts i.e. (picture of a human cut in pieces) of a body to recognize a human , but the right brain requires the correct position of  the human body to recognize it as a human.  Both hemispheres are doing an excellent job and both hemispheres can contribute and both hemispheres can decide human or non human but both do it with different cognitive strategies.

He observed that the left hemisphere gives narrow, sharply focused attention to detail without understanding the larger context.  It sees objects in relation to their usefulness.  It is in charge of the right hand which has the power to manipulate things such as tools and to technology. As it can’t make human connections it does not not understand relationships, humor and tone of voice.  Things and people are not unique and individual but groups that it can organize, sort and file in a system of rules and linear connections.  On its own it has no sense of the whole.  Even people are seen as body parts.  The world of the left hemisphere is lifeless.  It shatters the world into an assortment of bits without meaning.

The right hemisphere by contrast sees the broad view of the world.  It is the master of the brain.  It perceives an interconnected world.  It understands relationships, body language, facial expressions and implicit meaning.  The right hemisphere engages with life, understands movement, story and metaphor.  It perceives how humanity fits into the whole of creation.  

The divided brain give us two types of attention, two ways of engaging with the world.  It has made us the most powerful species on earth.

But the left hemisphere’s narrow kind of attention reminded McGilchrist of something else.  Our world!  I began thinking how everything in public life has become more regulated, more rule bound, more explicit.  For the last hundred years the way of thinking which is reduct to mechanistic has taken us over.  It has enabled us to manipulate the world, to use resources, to become wealthy, but it has also meant we have lost means to feel satisfaction and fulfillment through our place in the world. We have created outside ourselves a world which looks very much like the interior world of the left hemisphere, rigid lines of things that were rolled out mechanically and were non unique.  Bureaucracy is in its element.  It depends on qualities which the left hemisphere provides:  organizability, animity, standardization, uniformity, abstraction and so on.  Systems designed to maximize utility with loss of cohesion socially because the left hemisphere needs control.  There is a lack of trust and a lot of paranoia with the use of CCTVs and monitoring of all kinds .

The left hemisphere is the quick and dirty one because it has to make action.  It likes things to be black and white.  People think that, well, the left hemisphere surely is the basis for intelligence, it is the one that does all that analysis.  But that is not the case.  There is a lot of evidence that that the really critical one from the point of view of intelligence is the right hemisphere.   Another important difference, a very important difference, is that between fixity and flow.  Things in the left hemisphere are fixed whereas in the right hemisphere flow is what it sees and understands.  Now that is very profound.  That actually changes the whole nature of what life is.  Nothing is just isolated.  It is always part of a flow.  Things can only be understood in context when you take them out.  They change when you grab them and put them in the spotlight of attention and make them explicit.

“One of the primary features of the left hemisphere is that you find this enormous capacity for denial, this capacity to ignore things and keep them shut out. The left hemisphere that wants to slice and dice and execute quickly.  To make quick decisions the left hemisphere relies on abstractions, categories and models of the world.

Economics detached from a robust resourceful picture of human well-being is very dangerous and that is what we are living with in large parts of the globe.  We seem to take it as absolutely self evident that unlimited material growth is the best thing that we could hope for.  The biggest single task is thinking again through that question of growth and why it is so obvious and target why some kinds of growth are privileged over the notion of growth of real human well-being and understanding.

The school curriculum moves away from the right hemisphere resulting in an imbalance between right and left hemisphere learning.  In universities the learning becomes even more left hemisphere dominant.  The student specialize in narrow fields.  Theories, and categories become important. 

McGilchrist: (Consequences- riots, protests) What certainly would not happen is that things would be calm because the left hemisphere is emotional and one emotion that lateralizes particularly clearly is anger and it lateralizes to the left.  Discourse in public will become marked by anger and aggression.  But, according to the right hemisphere everything is connected to everything else.  It is about the relationships.

McGilchrist notes three periods where there was a flourishing of civilization in the west – Athens in the sixth century, the beginning of the empire in Rome, and early Renaissance.  The civilization in these three cases showed a marvellous balance in the right hemisphere and left hemisphere ways of thinking, but in each case it ended up with a movement further and further towards the left hemisphere after which the civilization collapsed.

What McGilchrist’s work can do is point us in the direction toward a solution.  If we can get better at seeing things more holistically, more specifically, more in context, if we can get better at systematically resisting attempts to turn things into algorithms, to always measure, to always quantify, if we can get better and more robust at doing that, the world will begin to steer towards a better place.

We need a better balance between the right and left hemisphere.  We need to look at the world in a different way.

Einstein said the rational mind is the faithful servant, but the intuitive mind is a priceless gift.  We live in a world that honors the servant that has forgotten the gift.  We do need a paradigm shift, it is not about little things here and there.  It is about the whole way we can see what a human being is, what the world is and what our relationship to it is.

Synopsis of “Winners Take All” by Anand Giriharadas (italics are blog author’s comments)

MarketWorld (capitalism) believes social change should be pursued through free market and voluntary actions without public life, law and reform of systems that people share in common.

MarketWorld “thought leader” thinkers (capitalists) promote so called ‘world-changing’ ideas with little risk to themselves.  Their ideas cause us to “zoom in” and think smaller by focusing on vulnerability of poverty, not the wage of inequality.   They don’t like “social justice” and “inequality” words, but rather use “poverty” and “fairness” while speaking of “opportunity”.

“Public intellectual” thinkers (conscious capitalists) counterbalance this thinking and change the trajectory of MarketWorld “by getting people to care about problems first by ‘zooming in’ on a vivid person and then getting them to care by ‘zooming out’ from persons to systems”.   To fight inequality means to change systems as a group of people.

“Thought leaders” have permeated higher learning institutions by purposefully changing the language in which public spheres think and act.  Young people are taught to see social problems in a “zoom in” fashion by confining questioning to what socially minded businesses they can start up like “buy one, give one”, but not inequality.

To counteract and provide balance to MarketWorld “our political institutions–laws, constitutions, regulations, taxes, shared infrastructure:  these million little pieces provide a counterbalance to help hold democratic capitalistic civilizations together.”

Blog author’s thoughts on this theory:  The one-sided financial hegemony of MarketWorlders has created the present day ‘graft and greed’ college financial scandal, FAA allowing Boeing to “self-inspect” and SNC Lavalin corruption.

One word comes to mind–brainwashing, or at the very least gaslighting.  MarketWorlders have done a very good job of gaslighting the political, financial and higher learning powers that be.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).