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November 2003     Vol. 4, no. 11

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Finances in the golden years

Cara Williams

  • In 1999, the net worth of senior families was more than double that of non-senior families ($155,000 versus $69,000).
  • The median value of financial assets for senior families was more than twice that for non-senior families-$35,000 versus $14,000. The largest non-financial asset for senior families was their home-a median value of $120,000.
  • Few seniors have debts-only 27% of senior families had debt in 1999. Of these, 82% were comfortable with their level of debt.
  • Two-thirds of senior families have private pension assets. In 1999, the median value of these assets was $115,700.
  • For almost one-half (46%) of senior families, income exceeded expenses, indicating that some type of savings continues after the traditional age of retirement.
  • About 1 in 10 senior families had expenses greater than their income. However, 90% of these families were able to pay their bills on time.


Cara Williams is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. She can be reached at (613) 951-6972 or perspectives@statcan.gc.ca.

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