25 November 2010

Interest Rate Policy Increasing Poverty Among Seniors

According to a new report, the number of seniors living in poverty soared almost 25 percent between the years 2007 and 2008.

Women have been the most affected. Up to 80 percent, suggests the report.

Daphne and I are, or soon will be, counted among those women.

At 60 years of age we don't yet officially qualify as seniors. However, with the Bank of Canada having kept interest rates ridiculously low over the past several years, we will be among the poverty statistics for seniors in future reports. Many of our friends already are or soon will be.

We are the women who worked for decades in low-paying 'female' jobs while child-rearing. We are the women who, out of our low incomes, scrimped and saved knowing that nothing was sure for tomorrow.

Now we are punished for saving because of an interest rate policy that values consumption, debt and a head-in-the-sand mentality over thrift, responsibility and the urge to maintain self-reliance.

The following is an excerpt from one woman's story. It could be duplicated many times over, by many other women:

I am tired. I have been working since I was 14. When I retire at 65, I’m going to have this little tiny government handout. It won’t matter how resourceful I’ve been. There’s no financial reward for that...

I am one of the working poor. The reward for that is more poorness. It's, "Sorry lady, you did a really good job. You raised those kids. You were only on Welfare for eleven months. Good for you, good for you - here are your pennies" (p47).

When will the Bank of Canada stop its insane interest rate policy? The result has been consumer interest rates so low that they don't even keep up with inflation. No surprise, then, that the people most dependent on hard-earned savings, largely senior women, are falling behind.

[Cross-posted at economicus ridiculous]

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