Discounts for seniors: Retired people have less income, but they can stretch their spending dollar with discounts such as on Via Rail and TTC
It’s important for retirees to find ways to stretch their dollar.
Experts typically say you will need from 50 to 70 per cent of your pre-retirement employment income to retire and maintain your current lifestyle. Of course, depending on your wants and needs, that number could be considerably more or less.
If you are mortgage-free and an empty nester, your cost of living will definitely drop in your later years. You will also no longer have to save money for retirement. And if you are eligible for tax breaks such as the pension income deduction and the age amount tax credit for seniors 65 and over you’ll pay lower taxes.
However, there are all kinds of other ways seniors can save money. Eight of the many possibilities are discussed below. Keep in mind that discounts are often off regular prices and other special promotions may actually be a better deal.
1. Banking: Until recently, all five major banks promoted no fee banking for seniors. In 2012, TD ended its practice of offering complimentary services to seniors but if you are age 60 or over you can ask for a 25 per cent discount on your monthly fees. RBC, BMO and CIBC still offer free bank accounts at age 60 and Scotiabank offers the same deal at age 59. Many credit unions have discounted accounts for seniors but ATM access is typically more limited.
2. Retail: The website Canadian Senior Years is a great resource for information about all kinds of retail discounts. Some examples include 10 per cent at the Bulk Barn on Wednesdays; five percent at M&M Meats on Tuesdays (plus 10 per cent if you spend more than $30); and, 20 per cent on the last Thursday of the month at Shoppers Drug Mart.
3. Transportation: Ten TTC tokens can be purchased for $27. But seniors over 65 and students with proper identification can purchase 10 tickets for $18.50. If you no longer commute to work by car, you will save on auto insurance, gas and car maintenance. A couple may also be able to go from two cars to one, particularly if they live near good public transit.
4. Travel: Many healthy seniors travel more frequently once they are no longer tied to a corporate vacation schedule. However, because they can get away in off-peak periods, the cost of their trips may be much lower. In addition, travellers 60 years of age or over can save year round on adult regular VIA rail fares in Economy class and beginning at age 62 a 10 per cent discount on any unrestricted Greyhound passenger fare is available.
5. Hotels: Canadian Senior Years lists several hotel chains that offer deals to seniors. For example, If you’re 62 years or older, you can save 15 per cent or more on your room rate at more than 3,600 Marriott hotels worldwide, seven days a week. Memberships in groups like the Canadian Automobile Association and the Canadian Association of Retired People offer a whole range of discounts on hotels, rental cars and vacation packages.
6. Movies: There are great discounts for older film buffs. For example, screenings before 5 PM at the Hot Docs Festival at the Bloor Cinema are free for seniors (60+) and students. Cineplex Odeon Eglinton Town Centre Cinemas list the regular adult ticket price at $11.99 with the price for seniors reduced to $8.50. DVDs of many movies can be borrowed from public libraries.
7. Professional fees: If you are a professional or belong to a trade, you may have to pay hefty annual fees to remain in good standing. For example, Ontario lawyers practicing law full-time in 2014 must pay $2,108.58 to the Law Society of Upper Canada. A non-practising lawyer will still pay half that amount each year. However, at age 65 a non-practising lawyer can apply to be exempt from all future fees and filing requirements.
8. Education: Several Toronto universities including York University and Ryerson will waive all or part of your tuition fees if you are over 60 and want to go back to school. Other colleges and universities in Ontario and across country also offer seniors a tuition break. For more information, contact the school of your choice.