Duane Frerichs, 72, is an Air Canada pensioner who was a pilot for 24 years with the company, and retired 18 years ago.
Frerichs has lived in the same house in Georgetown for the past 41 years with his wife. He says even if he wanted to move, he “can’t afford it now.”
“I have a pension better than the average person,” he says, without divulging details. But he admits he is still worried he will outlast it. “If I look at my genes, I have another good 20 years to go. I don’t know if my pension will be around that long.”
BUDGET HOPES: If anyone has felt the impact of the economic downturn, it is seniors like Frerichs, a retired pilot and former military man who saw his nest egg, savings, and dreams of Freedom 65 disappear in a matter of days. He lost $25,000 in October, when his stocks fell in a matter of hours. His life has not improved since. He has been watching his money closely and was optimistic the government would address the growing concerns of pensioners and retirees who have been hard hit. in the budget.
He was hoping to see an announcement on pension protection, the elimination of mandatory RRIF withdrawals every month, and the creation of a universal pension plan for the “60 per cent of seniors who don’t get a pension.”
BUDGET REALITY: “It appears we didn’t win gold in this contest!” said Frerichs, shortly after the budget was laid out yesterday. “There’s not really a heck of a lot for seniors.” What is there are changes to the age credit, personal tax reductions and $400 million in funding to build housing for low-income seniors.
The biggest disappointment was that the government didn’t change the rules for RRIFs: “It was something that would be basically no cost for the government, to let pensioners withdraw from the RRIFS as they need it, rather than saying you have to take out so much each year whether you need or not it,” he said. “That is something that could have been easily justified and implemented, and was not.”
COALITION: Can’t say, but adds: “Probably the Liberals wouldn’t do anything either.”