(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.)

This post addresses financial gaslighting which seeks especially to spread financial untruths about the disadvantaged such as singles, the poor and minorities.  Two articles at the end of this post give the history of gaslighting and how it affects society.


From Wikipedia ‘gaslighting’ is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.


Middle class definition – Middle class rhetoric says middle class are financially doing poorly, but rhetoric doesn’t include the poor.  Gaslighting occurs when the wealthy won’t admit they are rich.

Poor create their own poverty – Dr. Ben Carson, who grew up in poverty and Trump appointee as USA Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has made statement that the poor create their own poverty.  This statement is so false, in fact poverty is created for them and they are forced deeper into poverty by decisions and policies of the wealthy, right leaning politicians and society in general.

Children are expensive – Real truth is housing is biggest lifetime expense, not children (at present time though things could change if housing prices drop significantly). Monthly $1000 rent over sixty year adult lifespan to age 80 equals $720,000 negative net worth, seventy year adult lifespan to age 90 equals $840,000, eighty year adult lifespan to age 100 equals $960,000.  Home purchases and child expenses occur only over twenty to twenty five years. While home purchasers may have child expenses they are also accumulating wealth, renters aren’t.

Even one right wing think tank, Fraser Institute, has published article describing why children basic costs are gaslighted and conflated by making them higher than they really are because poor budgeting principles are applied in establishing the costs.  They state cost of raising children per year only costs between $3,000 and $4,500 (cost-of-raising-children).   Statement from second article provides further explanation: (explaining-cost-raising-children)

“Families are generally left free to decide how to raise their children and how much to spend. And families at all income levels have successfully raised children and continue to do so. Most of us will know friends and colleagues who were raised in lower income families. The amount you spend on your child is not the measure of the quality of your parenting. It would be a shame if we discourage prospective parents by insisting that it costs $12,000 to $15,000 (or more) per year to raise a child.”

Singles are told it costs them less to live – Families and married or coupled households without children believe it costs them more to live, one major factor being they are uneducated in the financial realities of what it costs ever singles (never married, no kids) to live.  Gaslighting occurs when households believe married or coupled households have double the expenses and families with two adults and two children have four times the expenses.  However, Low Income Cutoff (LICO) (cost-of-living) and Market Basket Measure (MBN) show if single person is given a value of 1.0, expenses for married or coupled households are 1.4 and for two adult, two children households around 2.0 or 2.2.

Gaslighting of definition  of what family is – An example of singles not being included in family definition is a chart showing family unit description of five stages of family unit life cycle comprised of childhood, early adulthood, married and rearing of children, empty nest and senior stages.  It is disconcerting to note that this chart did not include ever singles (never married, no kids) in the family unit.  After the childhood and early adult stages, singles were not included and were, in fact, invisible in the family unit chart.  Financial gurus often talk about singles, when they really are talking about widowed persons resulting in ever singles being left out of the discussion and false financial advice being perpetuated.

Gaslighting of millennials and future generations – In present political situation future generations are in for a huge financial shock re paying for the financial excesses that have been given to previous generations.  Some of their parents will have been able to accumulate significant wealth in their homes and egregious benefits like Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) and pension splitting not paid for because insufficient tax has been collected to pay for this financial wealth.

Their parents say they want to leave something to their children, but children will be getting less because they will have to pay the taxes their parents didn’t pay.  An example is TFSAs. When one spouse is deceased TFSA will be transferred to surviving spouse with no taxes deducted. However, when TFSA is transferred to children as an inheritance taxes will be deducted, some at a very significant rate if TFSA amount  is substantial.

Square footage of housing for future generations is getting smaller and smaller. Millennials apparently are saying they don’t want live in the McMansions of their parents but it is unrealistic to think anyone will be happy living in 100 or 200 square foot apartments.  It is inhumane to stick anyone into housing that is the size of two jail cells.

Present political financial policies are ensuring benefits and tax loopholes are benefiting wealthy and married and coupled households more while pushing singles and poor households further towards poverty.


Shea Emma Fett wrote in Everyday Feminism:

“I believe that gaslighting is happening culturally and interpersonally on an unprecedented scale, and that this- gaslighting- is the result of a societal framework where we pretend everyone is equal while trying simultaneously to preserve inequality”.

The financial gaslighting phenomenon appears to be a result of an ‘only me is important’ thinking and lack of critical and balanced thinking on how financial issues affect all segments of society, not just the middle class, married or coupled persons and families with children.  This financial dysfunction is perpetuated by political systems where vote getting appears to preserve the thinking that they are trying to ensure everyone is more financially equal while simultaneously preserving financial inequality.  Financial policies may appear to help low income persons, but same policies also make the rich even richer (Tax Free Savings Accounts).  Charity has become an ever increasing gaslighting method of helping the poor, but charity only masks poverty, it does not solve causes of poverty.



From Theater to Therapy to Twitter, the Eerie History of Gaslighting by Katy Waldman (history_of_gaslighting) – the following are excerpts from the article which gives a history and discussion of gaslighting.

‘In the 1938 play Gas Light a felonious man seeks to convince his wife that her mind is unraveling. When she notices that he’s dimmed the gaslights in the house, he tells her she is imagining things—they are as bright as they were before. The British play became a 1944 American film starring Ingrid Bergman as the heroine, Paula, and Charles Boyer as Gregory, her abusive, crazy-making husband.

A match struck; a metaphor flickered to life. Gas Light reminded viewers how uniquely terrifying it can be to mistrust the evidence of your senses. Flame made an evocative figure for Paula’s consciousness—her sense of self guttering when Gregory insisted she hadn’t seen what she saw.

Today to gaslight means to overwrite someone’s reality, to manipulate her into believing she’s imagining things…..Prototypical gaslighter. The term can attach to anything surreal enough to make you question your sanity, like the political news cycle, but gaslight arose from psychoanalytic literature, where it described a specific “transfer” of psychic conflicts from the perpetrator to the victim. In a 1981 article called “Some Clinical Consequences of Introjection: Gaslighting,” psychologist Edward Weinshel sketched out the dysfunctional dance: One person “externalizes and projects,” while the other “incorporates and assimilates.”…..Shea Emma Fett wrote on Everyday Feminism, “I believe that gaslighting is happening culturally and interpersonally on an unprecedented scale, and that this is the result of a societal framework where we pretend everyone is equal while trying simultaneously to preserve inequality.” Members of minority groups that face stereotypes about poor mental competence are seen as especially vulnerable.

Gaslighting identifies a real phenomenon: the way critics of a line of thought sometimes try to discount the perceptions of the person producing that thought. Gaslighting equals misdirection, distraction, and the deliberate denial of reality……Donald J. Trump is more than a flickering gaslight (or gasbag)—he’s the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Republicans are moths in his flame.’

The Economic Gaslighting of a Generation by Anastasia Bernoullli  (describes herself as an aging millennial) – following paragraph is a  excerpt of an excellent worthwhile to read article (the-economic-gaslighting-of-a-generation):

“We are acting like a nation, and a generation, that feels guilty over screw-ups we did not commit. I obviously support the idea that everybody should live within their means, pay their bills, and be generally responsible, but when you’re doing your best, and you still can’t make ends meet, despite working full time, that’s a society problem, not a you problem. We need to overcome the lifetime of financial gaslighting we have received. Honestly take a look at your spending, and see if you’re as stupid as you’ve been lead to believe you are. I think it will be eye opening.”

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



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

There has been much discussion lately about Employment Insurance (EI) in Canada particularly in those provinces who have been hit hard by the crash in oil prices.

There is also much that is unequal in how EI is paid out and the ruling Liberal party has stated that they will be looking at reforming the EI system.  One example is most Albertans need 700 hours of work to qualify for EI in sharp contrast to the 420 hours of work required for most Atlantic Canadians.

With inequities in how EI is paid out, one also needs to look at how much EI is paid out for maternity/paternity leaves.  It is very difficult to find statistics on how much EI is paid out for maternal/paternal leave versus that paid for the rest of the population (those who have lost their jobs).

Current Rules

EI maternity benefits are offered to mothers who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth. A maximum of 15 weeks of EI maternity benefits is available. The 15 weeks can start as early as eight weeks before the expected date of birth, and can end as late as 17 weeks after the actual date of birth.

EI parental benefits are offered to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child. A maximum of 35 weeks of parental benefits is available to parents. The two parents can share these 35 weeks of benefits.

Many companies top up their EI benefits for maternal/paternal benefits to one year.

Who pays for EI?

Every employed person pays EI premiums up to maximum of $930.60 per year (in 2015) plus employer contributions.

How are EI dollars used in maternal/paternal leaves?

For maternal/paternal EI leave, all things being equal, it is understood that each working parent will pay EI premiums.

One could say that with the birth of two children, the EI premiums paid by each parent have been used up.  With the birth of each additional child after two children, the parents have not only used up their EI premiums and are now drawing from the EI system that has been paid for by their employers and other Canadians.  In addition, if they are unemployed and have used EI premiums for two children, they again are drawing monies from the EI system that have been paid for by their employers and other Canadians.

Now consider those persons who have paid EI premiums, have never had any children and have been gainfully employed throughout their entire lives without drawing any EI benefits.  These persons are supporting/subsidizing those parents who have taken maternal/paternal leaves for their children.

Singles are forced to help pay for maternity/paternity benefits for not only one generation, but possibly two generations (if single works from age 25 to 65 years, span of 40 years could mean paying for more than one generation).  In addition to being forced to help pay for maternity/paternity benefits, there is the expectation to contribute to wedding/baby shower gifts for fellow generations (again could possibly be for more than one generation), but singles never get anything in return.  (This paragraph was added to post on April 20, 2016).


The Liberal party, with the present crash in oil prices, has actually used some outside the box thinking and given extra EI benefits to those older employees who have never used EI benefits in the past.  Long-tenured workers in the 12 regions identified in the budget as suffering the sharpest jumps in joblessness will be eligible for an extra 20 weeks of benefits to a maximum of 70 weeks.

Another outside the box thinking idea should be rebating at least some EI premiums back to senior employees without children who have never used EI benefits throughout their working lives.  They deserve as much for having supported families for many, many years.


For a person (‘ever’ single and married/coupled persons without children) who has been gainfully employed for forty years and paid an average of $900.00 per year (which is now at a maximum of $930.60 per year), the Lost Dollar Value would be $36,000 per person.(Updated April 10, 2016 as review of data over a couple of decades reveals EI amounts have been as low of approximately $800.00 to high of over $1000.00.)

ADDENDUM  (April 7, 2016)

For some who have applied for EI benefits this can be a demoralizing process, particularly if the person processing the application on the other side of the table is not very helpful. Families using EI for maternal/paternal  benefits do not have to face these obstacles.

‘Ever’ singles (never married, no kids) are never recognized or thanked for the contributions they have made to support families, one big contribution being EI benefits.  Adding insult to injury, all political parties over the years have used extra EI monies collected from employees and employers to pad budgets not related to EI.

“Ever’ singles in their senior years face huge obstacles in attaining the same financial standard of living as families and married/coupled persons because they are always forced to pay more and get less.  They also are not given the same level of benefits such as pension splitting which can provide thousands of dollars in tax savings for married/coupled seniors.

Financial fairness for ‘ever’ singles requires outside the box thinking.  One idea would be to give ‘ever’ senior singles a $2,000 or $3,000 annual totally refundable tax credit that would provide an extra $200-$300 per month to compensate for the EI monies they have given to families over the years.  (It would be very easy to identify ‘ever’ singles as marital status  is a required piece of information on tax returns.)

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



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.


MoneySense, December, 2014, “The Cost of Retirement Happiness” by David Aston (couples) /the-cost-of-retirement-happiness/

MoneySense January, 2015, “Single Retirees: The Power of One” by David Aston (singles) /single-retirees-the-power-of-one/

Kudos to MoneySense-they are one of the few sources of information that identify what it truly costs singles to live in comparison to married/coupled persons.


The above articles for couples and singles were presented in two different timeframes by MoneySense.  financialfairnessforsingles.ca thought it would be an interesting exercise to combine the figures from both articles and complete an analysis of the figures for the married/coupled retirees versus the singles retirees.  (It is important to note that the definition of ‘single’ status by MoneySense is not the same definition used by financialfairnessforsingles.ca and Statistics Canada.  The only person who is truly single in the six profiles is Spencer as an ‘ever’ single person (never married, no children), while Reynolds is divorced and McDonald is widowed.  This is based on and justified by the Canadian Income Tax forms where the status of the tax filer has to be entered re status of married, single, divorced/separated or widowed and Statistics Canada definitions of marital status).

MoneySense Comments on Retirees Incomes

Couples – According to MoneySense author, a couple should be able to have a middle-class retirement lifestyle spending $42,000 to $72,000 a year including income taxes and assuming there is a paid-for home and no debt.  After tax, that will leave about $38,000 to $62,000 a year to spend as couples choose.  The minimum of about $38,000 (excluding taxes) should be sufficient to cover the basics, including operating a car and eating healthy.  Money Coaches Canada advises keeping annual spending on the basics within the $25,000 to $35,000 range, while trying to ensure there is at least $10,000 for extras, (Dec. /14, article).

Singles – According to MoneySense author, a middle class single retiree should count on spending approximately $30,000 to $50,000 a year including taxes and assuming there is a paid-for home and no debt.  This is about 70% of what is required for a couple since it costs about 70% of the couple’s rate for a single to maintain the same lifestyle as a couple.

For $30,000 income, taxes would be about $2,000 to $3,000 for older singles and $3,800 to $5,100 for younger singles below age 65.  After taxes and if budget is tight, singles should allow at least $20,000 to $25,000 a year for the basics (including shelter, groceries, transportation and clothing) and at least $5,000 for the extras like entertainment and travel, (Jan. /15, article).

Detailed Financial Information


Case #1 – It is stated that the Taylors live frugally but comfortably.  They have a paid-for three-bedroom home in a nice neighborhood and a ten-year old mid-level car. They eat out occasionally and take regular vacations.  They spend just over $25,000 on the basics, which leaves enough left over to spend almost $12,000 on the extras.  They both have university educations and held high-paying jobs in the technology industry while raising one child, who now lives independently.  Their modest spending habits allowed them to build their savings quickly while working, so they were able to retire in their early 50s and have a large nest egg.

Many advisers tell prospective retirees that they need to replace 70% to 80% of the peak income they had while working, but the Taylors live on less than 20% of the $250,000 they earned while working.

Case #2 – The Statscan couple depicts the average spending by senior couple.  (Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of household spending in 2010) plus inflation adjustments using the Consumer Price Index.

Case #3 – The Coopers, both close to 70, have lots of money to do the things they consider important, but don’t live a lavish lifestyle.  They spend modestly on the basics, which leaves plenty for the extras that give them the most satisfaction, like travel.  Their basic spending, at just under $45,000, isn’t much more than that of the Statscan couple.  But by economizing on the basics, they can afford to spend about $36,000 on the extras.  They learned frugality early on in life.  During their working years, they lived on his public sector professional salary while she had primary responsibility for the household and raising three children.  They also benefitted from his pension plan and saved by living well within their means and invested wisely. They have two vehicles (buy them used and keep them well beyond ten years).  Now they have far more money than they need to support their accustomed lifestyle.

The Coopers love to spend money for the benefit of their extended family.  They have a two-bedroom condo in the city as well as a vacation property.  They use their $16,000 travel budget for regular vacations.  They even spend some of their budget to cover the cost of extended family joining them on vacation.  They also contribute to their grandkids’ RESPs.  And while the $6,000 they budget for charitable and personal gifts is not enormous, they have distributed around $500,000 to their kids over the years to give them a good start.


Case #1 – ‘Ever’ single Spencer is in her early 60s and had to stop working at her physically demanding public sector job over a year ago due to a repetitive stress injury.  She hopes to return to work in some role, but even if she is unable to work again she feels she can live comfortably and sustainably on what she now has in savings, as well as government and employer pensions.  She has a $38,000 budget and pays $5,000 in income tax. Based on having a paid-for home she will spend about $23,000 on basics which leaves about $10,000 left for the extras.  She recently made the choice to move to a small town, mainly for the small town lifestyle, but also for the lower cost of living as well.  Money has been set aside to purchase a modest home.  (She does state that earlier in life she had some bad spending habits; however, she has learned to make careful, purposeful spending choices).

Case #2 – Reynolds in her early 60s (split up with her partner about ten years ago and no children?) is intent on making the most of retirement and has above-average means to do so.  Recently retired after a career in the public sector, she has a budget of $73,000 a year, including about $33,000 for the basics, and a sizeable $25,000 for the extras.  She likes to travel and has about $6,000 a year allocated to it.  In the early years of her career she was fixated on saving, which helped provide the ample nest egg she has today, including a group RRSP.

Case #3 – McDonald, a widower in his late 60s, has an above average budget of about $81,000, including $41,000 for the basics and $21,000 for the extras.  He uses his money to support hobbies, travel and spending on his two grown children and their families.  He is trying to find a balance between spending his money and leaving a large legacy.  He takes two to three trips a year with his $10,000 budget.  His budget also covers some travel for his children and relatives.  He spends quite a bit on groceries and restaurants, including paying for meals with extended family.  He happily spends less than his ample means would allow.

Qualifying Statements by MoneySense about the two articles

The MoneySense author along with Money Coaches Canada notes that the category ‘shelter’ includes property taxes, utilities, maintenance, house insurance, rent and mortgage payments.  Case #3 Statscan figures include a small proportion of costs attributable to a second home.  For the ‘vehicle’ category, $2,000 a year has been added for depreciation.  The category ‘home and garden’ includes cleaning supplies, furnishings, appliances, garden supplies and services.  The category ‘recreation and entertainment’ includes computer equipment and supplies, recreation vehicles, games of chance, and educational costs.

The author also makes the following qualifying statements: “If you are single, you know that retirement planning is tougher for you than it is for couples.  You have no one to rely on but yourself, and you can’t share expenses or split income.  As a result, you can’t just take the cost of retirement for couples and divide it by two. Situations vary, but a single person will need to spend roughly 70% as much as a couple to enjoy an equivalent lifestyle in retirement…The figure for couples isn’t twice the figure for singles–it is only about 40% higher because spouses are able to share costs for things like housing and cars.  The higher per-person income singles need also results in higher taxes”.


The following table combines the financial profiles of the three couples and three singles from the two articles into one table.

Following the table are financialfairnessforsingles.ca comments evaluating the results of the financial profiles.

moneysense cost of retiring well

Analysis of the Financial Profiles of Couples Versus Singles

Marital Status

First, it is important to get one fact straight.  Couples who divorce/separate and persons who are widowed are not singles.  The only person who is truly single in the six profiles is Spencer as an ‘ever’ single person (never married, no children).  The profile of the ‘ever’ single person shows that she is likely at the bottom of the financial status list in terms of wealth as she is the one with a modest home in a small town where it is cheaper to live.  The separated person likely has a better financial profile because she was able to accumulate wealth as a coupled person for twenty-five or thirty years and was separated later in life (if she had separated earlier in life, she likely would have a financial profile more equal to the ‘ever’ single profile).  All of the other profiles show that they have more wealth and homes in nice neighborhoods and even second homes (Coopers).


Marital status also determines who is likely to have more benefits.  It can be assumed that the couples have the higher financial status simply because they are married or widowed.  The married profiles will most likely pay less income tax than the single profiles because couples receive two of everything, have the ability to pension split and can get survivor benefits when widowed, etc.   As retirees, the two profiles that lose on benefits are the ‘ever’ single person and the person who is separated.

It is stated that most of the couples have lived so frugally that they now have more money than they need, but at same time have three bedroom houses in nice neighborhood, vacation home, and can retire in their 50s and 60s with a very comfortable lifestyles.  This implies, even with frugality, they had plenty of money to spend and save as married/coupled families with children.

The single person is the one that has to move to a smaller town to lower living expenses while others are living in what appears to be substantial housing.


On examination of the profiles, it is easy to see that the persons who are paying the most taxes are the ever single person, the separated person and the widowed person.  The Taylor couple pays the same taxes as the ‘ever’ single person (Spencer), but they have approximately $5,000 more in income and appear to have much more wealth in terms of assets (must be the pension splitting).  It pays to be married.  The Statscan couple pays less income tax (almost one half of the amount equal to 13.4%) than the separated Reynolds person (20%), but her income does not come even close to double of the Statscan couple.  The Coopers are paying only $20,000 on $100,000 income (20%).

The widowed person (McDonald) with all of his wealth is most likely receiving survivor benefits.  Did he pay extra for these benefits and why is he portrayed as being single?   If he is now single why should he receive anything more than the ‘ever’ single person and the separated person?

Benefits to Families of Coupled People

The profiles of the coupled persons and the previously coupled person (widower McDonald) blatantly state that they have more money than they can spend and have given generous monetary gifts, paid for the meals of their kids, grandchildren and extended family members, etc.

Married/coupled people or previously coupled people are often able to give exorbitant gifts, inheritances, etc. to family and extended family.  Does this not create a sense of entitlement for family, children and grandchildren who begin to expect this all the time? How does this extravagance teach frugality?

Emergency Monies

Where in any of these profiles has money been set aside for emergencies?  The person most likely to be unable to pay for financial emergencies due to illness, financial issues, etc. is the ever single person with the least accumulation of wealth.

Education, Education, Education!!!

It is beyond comprehension on how governments, families, society and think tanks lack knowledge and are financially illiterate on the true facts of how ‘ever’ singles and divorced/separated retirees are financially robbed to subsidize married/coupled retirees by paying more taxes while getting less benefits like pension splitting and widower benefits in this country.

Singles require 70% of the income/wealth of Couples

How many ways can this fact be stated and how many different sources of information does the government and society need to make changes on how singles are financially discriminated against in this country??  Do Members of Parliament ever think to include singles when making important decisions like pension splitting and benefits that benefit only the married/coupled and families of this country?  Government, businesses, society and media only ever talk about middle class families. Singles meanwhile have been financially discriminated against by their government and society.

 How expensive is it to raise a child?

So how expensive is it to raise one child, two children, and three children and still come out on top in terms of wealth in the personal profiles?  Governments, society and families, think tanks continue to talk about how expensive it is to raise a child, and yet many families are able to leave large legacies/inheritances to their children.  Unfortunately, based on the facts this seems to be based on the half-truths and lies of governments, society, families and think tanks.


Singles are often profiled as having excessive spending habits/lifestyles while married/coupled persons are usually profiled as being frugal.  Married/coupled persons in their retired state are still profiled as being frugal even though they can give extravagant gifts (in one case around $500,000) to their children and grandchildren and spend more money on items like vacations.

 Happy, happy, happy!!!!!

In both articles the profiles and the author comments seem to imply that everyone is happy, happy, and happy with their financial status.  ‘Ever’ singles and divorced/separated retirees are blatantly told they should be happy with what they have even though they have been discriminated against financially.

‘Ever’ single persons and divorced/separated persons not so lucky to have achieved equivalent wealth (70%) of married/coupled persons as shown in above examples wish to state they are not happy with being financially discriminated against on every level of government and society.  They are not asking for more than married/coupled people.  They are asking for financial fairness.


Governments, businesses, society, families, think tanks all maintain that the middle class is being affected most by poverty.  The real truth is that ‘ever’ singles, singles with kids, persons divorced/separated early in marriage/coupling, and families with low incomes are being affected most by poverty.  Singles (‘ever’ and divorced/separated) in this country are not happy with always being excluded from financial formulas and conversations.  They are human and in their humanity are equal to married/coupled people, and it is time that they are treated with the same financial fairness, dignity and respect as married/coupled people.

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



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

Married/coupled persons and families often receive ‘free money’benefits that financially benefit them much more than singles.

Two very good examples of these benefits are the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend and the ‘Ralph Klein $400 Bucks’ Program.

Alaska Permanent Funds Dividends

The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) program implemented in 1982 is an annual payment paid to individuals (children as well as adults) rather than households.  It is paid irrespective of any income from other sources and does not require the performance of work or the willingness to accept a job if offered.  Unlike social assistance programs, it is not means-tested.

The book “Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend:  Examining Its Suitability as a Model”, edited by Karl Widerquist and Michael W. Howard states the following:

‘…..In 2008, when the PFD reached its highest level at $2,069, the individual  poverty threshold in the United States was approximately $11,000; for a family of four it was approximately $22,000.  Thus, at its highest level, the PFD would have provided less than 20 percent of the income necessary for an to individual to reach the poverty threshold, but almost 40 percent of the income necessary for a family of four to reach the poverty threshold……Thus, on basis of its level alone, the PFD is at best a partial basic income…

Finally, because of its flat and universal nature, the PFD on its own makes a very modest contribution to the reduction of inequality.  But the PFD together with the elimination of the state individual income tax that was part of its founding has an overall regressive effect on income distribution.  To have a significant redistributive effect, the PFD would have to be recouped from wealthy individuals; in the absence of a progressive state income, consumption, or wealth tax, the PF would have to be distributed on a sliding scale with larger dividends given to those with less income from other sources, rather than as a uniform flat payment….

The PFD does serve as an excellent model for the conceptualization of natural resources as commonly owned—an important step along the path to acceptance of the idea of a basic income.  It provides a model of cash transfers to individuals without any stigma of dependence, fraud, waste, or failure—attributes often attached recipients of other government cash transfers.  The PFD’s funding source in natural resources rather than in taxes on individual income or wealth seems to exempt it recipients from any need to justify their use of the dividend, and to exempt the transfer as a whole from the ‘socialist’ label….’

It has been argued that it is preferable to have oil profits distributed broadly rather than end up in the pockets of only a few corporate executives, wealthy shareholders, and political cronies.

Alaska is the only state that does not collect sales tax or levy an individual income tax on any type of of personal income, either earned or unearned.  Every Alaskan, children as well as adults, receives a payment each year from the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.  The USA does not have child benefits, although there is a child tax credit system for parents or guardians of children under 17 who meet certain requirements.  (The PFD is taxable by the Federal government).

Further review of information shows that in 2002, the poorest 20% of Alaskans relied on their dividend for 25% of their total income….some Alaskans depend on their dividend for up to a quarter of their yearly income, especially Native Alaskans, who make up 15% of the population. Those in poverty brackets and many of those living a subsistence lifestyle cannot afford to lose the dividend as a source of income.

However, review of articles on this program also states that the sense of entitlement has been established where it is very difficult to reduce state spending in this particular benefit at the expense of politicians losing their jobs, because state residents view these dividends as ‘rights’, not ‘privileges’.

One could argue that monies are being given to children who have not earned that privilege.  They have earned no money and have not paid any taxes.

If one looks at the PFD contributions over a twenty year period (lifetime of a family with children) in comparison to singles /individuals, the financial unfairness becomes apparent very quickly.  From 1996 to 2015,the benefits have ranged from a low of $846 to a high of $2,072 annually.  For a family of four the twenty year total amounts to $113,156 and for a single/individual person the amount is $28,289.  A lot more can be done with $113,000 than $28,000.

Prosperity Bonus (‘Ralph Klein $400 Bucks’) Program

The Prosperity Bonus, also nicknamed Ralph (Premier of Alberta at that time) bucks, announced in September 2005, was the name given to a program designed to pay money back to residents of the province of Alberta as a result of a massive oil-fuelled provincial budget surplus.  This program gave $400 to every citizen of Albertan in the year 2005.

For a family of four, the benefit was $1,600, while a single/individual received $400.


‘Free Money’ Benefits allow families to achieve greater wealth than singles/individuals even though the children of these families have not earned any income or paid any taxes. Married/coupled persons without children also achieve greater financial benefits because of accumulated assets times two.


To achieve greater financial equality between singles/individuals and married/coupled persons and families, the following suggestions are submitted:

  • Eliminate children from these programs until they reach the age majority since they have not made any contributions to the coffers in the form of salaries or taxes; rather, they are using resources such as education instead of contributing to them.
  • Top up benefits to singles at rate of 70 percent 1.4 Market Basket Measure to that of married/coupled persons as it costs more for singles to live than married/coupled persons living as a single unit (updated August 31, 2018).

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




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

The Province of Alberta has once again released its Top 70 Employers for 2016.

In addition to the usual maternity, paternity leaves, day-care etc., perks that benefit families more than singles include the following:

  • Academic scholarship program for children of employees who are interested in pursuing post-secondary education, up to $1,000 per child. (This is in addition to federal and provincial education benefit programs).
  • Helps newcomers gain Canadian work experience with short-term internships, offered in partnership with Immigrant Services and Centre for Newcomers. (While it is recognized that this is a good thing for immigrants, this program should be offered equally to Canadians.  Immigrant families are favoured over single immigrants in relocation programs to Canada).
  • Compassionate top-up payments for employees who are called upon to care for a loved one. (The problem with this is often the definition of “loved one”.  It is often very inclusive to only close members of the family).
  • Parent employees with college-bound kids have access to an academic scholarship program, as well as summer, co-op and internship employment programs. (This program is again very inclusive to parent employees).
  • Academic scholarship program to encourage children of employees to pursue post-secondary studies (up to $3,000 per child). (While this employer does offer first perk of long-term development of its employees through tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions (up to $5,000), parent employees get second perk for their children on top of  third perk of federal and provincial education benefit programs for their children).
  • Offers parents-to-be a generous subsidy for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments up to $5,000.

Almost all employers offer some form of compassionate/bereavement programs (and this is a good thing).  However, these are often restricted to  close family members and in-laws.  Families often fail to recognize that they have double benefits as these programs compensate both sides of the family.  Singles tend to use less of these benefits, and therefore, it could be said that they are subsidizing families in this regard.  Singles through their taxes also support the mother/baby hospital care, maternal/paternal leaves and EI (employment insurance) programs for parents.

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



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

This post will discuss whether renting or affordable housing are good housing options for single and low income persons.


Rental costs from landlord perspective:  A review of financial information shows that in order to generate a 5% annual return on  a $250,000 rental property with no mortgage costs, the expenses incurred will be  as follows:

What Landlords think they need to make renting their spaces a revenue generating business at 5 percent profit in the Calgary market:

              rent charged (2 bedrooms)            $12,500

              condo fees ($325 X 12)                 $  3,900

              PT taxes                                        $  1,500

              upkeep (paint, carpet, etc.)            $  1,200

               extra cost of wear (kids/pets)       $  1,200

          TOTAL RENT PER MONTH             $20,300 divided by 12 months  = $1,700

This does not include costs associated with loss of income when property is vacant, cost of major upkeep such as replacing appliances, cupboards every 5 to ten years, damages incurred from kids and pets, eviction costs, insurance, etc.

Arguments for and against high rental costs from perspective of landlords and renters

A review of an online article “Calgary Landlords war against the poor?” (landlords) shows pro and con comments on why landlords think they need to charge the present rental amounts and why poor are left out because they cannot afford to pay the present high rental  amounts.  Arguments are also made as to whether or not mortgage payments should be included in the rental costs; if included, then even higher rents need to be collected.

Comments on the side of the poor and low income include:

  • ‘So then I ask you, where are these people supposed to go?  No offense, but the “it’s just business, nothing personal” should have no place when talking about human lives.’

  • ‘Gouging is a very common competent of a working free-market.  The right (Conservative and like) just don’t want to admit they’re are (…..) for doing it.  It is not about right or wrong.  The difference between a renter and a landlord is that the landlord has assets.  So even if you are living in a home and renting a condo,  having to shell out money for repairs doesn’t exactly cost you as much (in the long run) as it would a long term renter.  Because eventually you can sell that property and retire in comfort.  It is very hard for a person who is just starting out with nothing to build themselves up to your level  It is not that we don’t want to be there, it is just that there may not be as much opportunity for us so called “low-lives” as one may think.  So when your entire income goes to shelter, food and clothing, there is not much left to save for any sort of down payment on anything…’

  • ‘You are already making money by charging a tenant the mortgage, the land tax and the insurance.  The mortgage part is already profit.  An accumulated investment  Beyond that, maybe a little more, is gouging.  These people can’t see that is wrong.  If they could charge a million dollars a month they would.’

One of the last reader comments submitted was the following (it is interesting to note that this comment pretty much shut up any further comments being made):

  • ‘When, by gouging people for the necessities of life such as food and shelter, you contribute to the cost of living being higher than a working person can afford.  You force me as a taxpayer in a rather high tax bracket, I might add ,to pay for the subsidization required to keep these people from starving or being out on the street or alternatively imprisonment when they steal to live, or more cops to maintain social order with a starving underclass.  I’m tired of deadbeat free-riders trying to shuffle the externalities of their greed onto me.  It is time for some controls being placed on the ability of landlords to  raise rents.  Rental increases being limited to 5% or double to rate of inflation annually, whichever is lower, seems reasonable to me.

Some comments suggested that most people should stay away from the landlord game as it is not a profitable business for the lighthearted.

Landlord profile and Financial Planner Advice

Financial profile of a married couple is as follows:  Calgary Herald, December 12, 2015 (and Edmonton Journal) Financial Post “Oil Crash Forces  Fix for Couple” (edmonton-journal)

This summary is about Gary, 60 and Wendy, 67, an Alberta couple who grew prosperous with Gary’s work as a petrochemical  engineer often earning as much as $200,000 a year doing consulting.  However, his work is now history as a casualty of collapsed oil prices.  Wendy worked as an administrative assistant earning $24,000 a year before she retired in 1990 (well before age 65, by the way).  Their income at the present time is $2,175 a month and is $3,240 less than their total monthly expenses of $5,415.  (Part of their income is $590 after expenses from their two rental properties.) They say they need to know if they can survive.  The article does mention one child is renting one of their rental properties.

  • Their net worth is $1,867,238.  Their assets include residence $550,000, rental property #1, $460,000, and rental property #2 $430,000.  Their investments include Registered Retirement Savings Plan $132,616, USA 401K in Canadian dollars $250,000, Tax Free Savings Account $39,334, non-registered savings/GICs $174,288 and two cars $17,000.  Their total  liabilities are two mortgages of $186,000 on rental properties.

The profile states the largest problem is that the couple’s income properties, which make up 60 per cent of their invested assets, produce little cash flow.  One unit is rented to the couple’s son and its $1,150 monthly rent is below market values.  Their other rental property generates $1,300 a month before expenses.

The financial planner makes the argument:  ‘When Gary generated an income of $200,000 a year or more, they could afford to ignore investments, rent properties below market value and spend freely’. The financial planner’s recommendation is get rid of money losing rental property, cut expenses and reallocate assets to cut investment costs.  It doesn’t seem to matter to the financial planner that this couple has acquired huge financial assets in their rental properties ($700,000+ value).

Conclusions about Renting

Renting income properties from landlord’s perspective is that this is a business and needs to generate a profit even when renting to singles (son in above example)and the poor (many of whom cannot afford $1,700 for rent).  In other words, the goal of financial Utopia in a land of ‘milk and honey’ (Alberta) will never be achieved by the landlord with reasonable rents and certainly not by singles and the poor who are renting.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs principle for singles and the poor will also be violated when basic needs of shelter as well as food and clothing will not be realized.


For landlords and families who think singles and low income persons deserve only a single room‘ or ‘should live with someone’ they should read the January, 2009 study “Social Housing Waitlists and the One Person Households in Ontario” (cprn.org) on what it is like to live in these housing circumstances.  An excerpt from this study reads as follows:

‘many households turn to shelters or make do with what they are able to find in the private market, often spending more than 50% of their income on rent. The focus of this study is one-person households under the age of 65 who make up approximately 40% of the applicants on Ontario social housing wait lists. This cohort has the longest wait times. How does this demographic cope during these waiting periods? What are their housing experiences? ‘



From “Upside-Down Finances re Housing for Singles and Low Income – Part 1 of 3”, November 13, 2015 post (upside-down-affordable-housing), one example of housing shows condos presently being sold as follows:  1 bed, 1 bath, 1 patio micro-condo of 552 sq. ft. with starting price of $299,900 and $543 per square foot..   Two patio, 3 bed, 2.5 bath, 2 and 3 story 1830 sq. ft. condos priced from $649,900 to $749,900.start at $355 per square foot.

Singles and single parent with children are more likely to buy one bedroom housing.  Ripple effects are owners of micro-condos have to proportionately pay more house taxes, education taxes, mortgage interest and real estate fees on less house and less take home pay since these fees are based on price of property, not square footage of the property.  When it is sold, will seller recoup buying price?

Financial  world for singles and low income continues to be completely flipped upside-down and turned topsy-turvy for housing while the rich and middle-income families  pay less and get more.


As in many parts of the world, parts of Canada are heading for a crisis in affordable housing.  Different solutions have been proposed to avert this crisis.  One is Attainable Housing, (attainyourhome), for example in Calgary, which allows maximum household income of $90,000 for single and dual/parent families with dependent children living in the home and maximum household income of $80,000 for singles and couples without dependent children living in the home.  While this method allows singles and low income to enter the housing market with a low down payment, it does not alleviate the problem of insane upside-down pricing of housing as outlined in the example shown above.  Another solution that has been proposed is an affordable housing action plan of inclusionary zoning where a certain percentage of new housing units built  would be social and community housing partly funded by government programs, and a certain percentage of new housing units would be affordable rental or ownership housing units built by the private sector.  However, developers and the housing associations will argue this will not work (as only new purchasers will be participating) and neighbors continue to have a “not in my backyard” mentality (NIMBY).  Tiny house NIMBY mentality also extends to homeowners who don’t want tiny houses near their properties.

Calgary Herald “‘Nothing new’ from housing collective” article, December 16, 2015 (calgaryherald) is a 46 – page document – 18 months in the making – and calls on homeless and housing organizations, the development industry and governments to ‘work  together differently’ for at least two years, developing ‘Calgary-based solutions with blueprints for action’ and providing support as required.  The mayor, in addition to other parties, is disappointed at how long study has taken and states that ‘time for talk’ is over.

Conclusions about Affordable Housing

There is no affordable housing for singles and low income persons when they are forced to pay more for less space with less income than the rich and middle-class families.  Inaction and NIMBY continues to be prevailing principle for Affordable Housing.

Conclusion overall for Renting and Affordable Housing for Singles and Low Income

Options for both renting and affordable housing continues to become more and more out of reach for singles and low income.  



So, when both renting and affordable housing are out of reach for singles and low income persons, just what are they to do?

“Eggleton: Canada needs more affordable housing” September 20, 2015  (eggleton) article in the Ottawa Citizen states:

‘I think we all understand intuitively the importance of having decent shelter. A home anchors a person, anchors a family. It provides a foundation for people to move forward toward greater stability in the workplace or higher educational attainment. Health experts also tell us that adequate housing is a key determinant of health and long-term health outcomes’.

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





  1. I resolve to contact my members of government, policy and decision makers and educate them about the financial discrimination of singles.
  2. I resolve to question fees when married/coupled persons (adult to adult) are paying less person to person for two adults than for one adult. (Example:  gym memberships when married/coupled persons pay less per person than single persons.   It is recognized that children are expensive to raise and, therefore, fees for the children may be free.  However, it is financially discriminatory to charge a single adult and a divorced/separated adult with and without children more, adult to adult, than married/coupled adults.)
  3. I resolve to contact my members of government, policy and decision makers and insist that singles (ever) and divorced/separated individuals need to be included in financial formulas, not just married/coupled persons and widowers.

_________________________________________             _____________________

Name                                                                                                      Date



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

In the featured post of this blog ‘Six Reasons why Married/Coupled People are able to Achieve More Wealth than Singles’ (six-reasons),  the sixth reason states that married/coupled persons are able to achieve more wealth because they receive two inheritances, while singles receive only one.  (All  things being equal it is assumed that spouses will receive an inheritance from each side of the family).

Research suggests that the average Canadian inheritance is $100,000.  This does seem somewhat understated, especially since the average Canadian house is now worth $400,000 plus.

Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” (Capital_in_the_Twenty-First_Century) describes how inherited wealth is growing at a much faster pace than economic growth leading to not just a highly unequal society, but to a society of oligarchy, to a society where inherited wealth will dominate, and patrimonial capitalism.

At the present time inherited wealth is outpacing economic growth because capital is tending to produce real returns of 4 to 5 percent while economic growth is much slower at a rate of 2 to 3 percent.

Inherited wealth for married/coupled persons will develop at a much faster pace than inherited wealth for single persons not only because of two inheritances, but also because the rate of return (rule of 72) (Rule_of_72) will also increase the total net worth for the two inheritances. The result is that low income and middle class singles will more likely have difficulty maintaining a decent income level throughout their working lives and into their retirement years in comparison to married/partnered persons.

Outside the Box Thinking

All things being equal, since singles are at a financial disadvantage (investment potential, costs more for singles to live, married/coupled persons receive more in benefits,etc.) in comparison to their married/coupled siblings, parents should think about dividing inheritance between their children so that the single child receives an additional 20%-25% of his/her share of the inheritance.  (added January 14, 2016)


A value of $100,000 lost will be added to the list.  This is probably grossly understated since, first, inheritances are likely higher than $100,000, and second, the rule of 72 growth has not been added since it is not possible to calculate.  (However, using rule of 72, a rate of return of 3.5 per cent would double the original $100,000 in twenty years.)

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




These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

In the last four posts, financial discrimination of senior singles was discussed.  In addition, two reader letters and response to letters addressing assumptions of married people that singles can live with someone if they lack financial resources, and that financial problems of singles are because their lifestyles are too extravagant was discussed.

It is mind boggling as to why married/coupled people always seem to think that because they are married/coupled they have more financial intelligence and are able to manage their money better than single and divorced/separated persons.  They also almost can never put themselves into the financial shoes of single and divorced /separated persons.

Singles are one the fastest growing demographics in the country, yet they are left out of financial formulas and discussions.

leave it to beaver



In this post, the issue of marital status not defining financial intelligence will be discussed by reviewing three examples.

Example #1 and #2 show married/coupled persons are not any better at managing money than single and divorced/separated persons.  Example #3 talks about financial misconceptions about singles.

(Financial profiles from the Financial Post are an interesting study in how persons perceive wealth.  Anyone can submit an email requesting a free family finance analysis.  It is interesting to note that most of the married/coupled requests for financial analysis are from relatively wealthy persons.  These same requests always are requesting financial help because of worry that they will not have enough money to live and retire.)

Example #1, a financial profile of a married couple is as follows:

Calgary Herald, December 12, 2015 Financial Post “Oil Crash Forces  Fix for Couple” – (this profile can be viewed in full online)

This summary is about Gary, 60 and Wendy, 67, an Alberta couple who grew prosperous with Gary’s work as a petrochemical  engineer often earning as much as $200,000 a year doing consulting.  However, his work is now history as a casualty of collapsed oil prices.  Wendy worked as an administrative assistant earning $24,000 a year before she retired in 1990.  Their income at the present time is $2,175 a month and is $3,240 less than their total monthly expenses of $5,415.  They say they need to know if they can survive.  The article does mention one child who is renting one of their rental properties.

Their net worth is $1,867,238.  Their assets include residence $550,000, rental property #1, $460,000, and rental property #2 $430,000.  Their investments include Registered Retirement Savings Plan $132,616, USA 401K in Canadian dollars $250,000, Tax Free Savings Account $39,334, non-registered savings/GICs $174,288 and two cars $17,000.  Their total  liabilities are two mortgages of $186,000 on rental properties.

The financial planner makes the statement:

“When Gary generated an income of $200,000 a year or more, they could afford to ignore investments, rent properties below market value and spend freely”.

The financial planner’s recommendation is get rid of money losing rental property, cut expenses and reallocate assets to cut investment costs.  If they follow the planner’s advice, they should have a before tax income of about $74,000 per year.  With splits of pension income and application of age and pension income splitting credits, they would pay 13 percent tax and have $5,345 a month or $64,140 annual income to spend.  Compare that to reader letter#2, December 12, 215 post that suggested singles with rent or mortgage expenses can live comfortably on a middle class income of $27,000 a year.

It is interesting to note  that their food budget for two people is $1,120 per month and expenses for entertainment are $220 per month.  The financial planner suggests they cut their food budget by $400 and their entertainment budget by $100 per month.

Simple logic without seeking financial planner advice would imply that in order to increase their income they could sell one rental property,  live on the proceeds, then sell the next rental property and live on those proceeds, and finally start taking income from their investments.  They would still have their residence as collateral.  With all their wealth this couple still feel they need to seek financial advice.

If one compares this example to the suggestion from the recent posts that singles can live on $27,000 per year and $200 a month for food, one wonders why this couple would have any financial worries with the wealth that they  have.  Also, reducing their food budget by $400 still allows them to  have a food budget of $350 per person.

Example #2 is taken from a published article “Beyond the Blue Line” by the Canadian Scholarship Trust (CST).

The report showed that approximately 66 per cent of Canadian parents have, or know someone who has, borrowed money or used retirement savings to put their children through extracurricular activities.

In contrast, 48 percent of parents have invested in a Canadian RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan).

CST reported that 43 per cent of parents said they’d borrowed money on a credit card, line of credit, personal or family loan for extracurriculars like hockey. The remaining 23 per cent deferred their retirement or used their retirement savings for extracurriculars.

More than half of Canadian parents (57 percent) said they feel every child should have the chance to play hockey if they want to, ‘because it’s part of growing up in Canada,’ CST said. The percentage represents a drop of more than 10 per cent from last year, when 69 percent said all children should be able to play hockey.

Despite the high rate of borrowing for extracurriculars, nearly half of parents said they knew someone pulling their kids out due to the cost. Thirty per cent said they, or someone they knew, regret the amount of money spent on activities like sports.”

Parents will play financial roulette with their money even though there is less than one per cent chance of their children becoming professional hockey players.

Example #3

This example is taken from the National Post June 12, 2015, : “ They are one of Canada’s fastest growing demographics, so why are politicians ignoring the single voter?” by Claire Brownell,  (article is available online).

This article first talks about:

“Marcel Watier, a single 39 year old, who lives on his own in a rented basement apartment.  He earns a good salary, thanks to a full time job and a part-time job on the side.  He says people think he must be spending his money on stereotypical urban luxuries – dinners out, craft cocktails, a condominium with a pool and a rock-climbing wall – since he doesn’t have a partner or children.  ‘They just see a single guy working two jobs and think I must be rolling in money.  If I was rolling in money, would I be working two jobs?’

In addition to supporting himself, he helps his two sisters, who have eight children between them and a ninth on the way. (The article does not state why he has to do this.)

If those were his children and Walter were married, he would be eligible for a long list of tax breaks, benefits and programs.  As a single person, he’s on his own.  He states: It drives me up the wall to hear the whole ‘selfish single’ term.”

The word single is hardly ever used by politicians.

“The phrase ‘Canadian families’ has been spoken 5,669 times in the House of Commons since 1994″, according to OpenParliament.ca, with Conservatives (Party) accounting for almost half of those mentions.

If Canada’s singles were to get up tomorrow and decide it’s high time they stood up for themselves, they would form a formidable voting bloc.  Maybe it’s time to try.”


The above examples show that marital status does not define financial intelligence; rather it is the belief systems, moral values, and financial values instilled throughout lifetime that define how money will be spent and saved.

It is time that singles be included in financial formulas, not just families.  Instead of politicians promising things to only certain groups of citizens, they should be thinking about how to improve 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.