Two news stories this week gave differing views of how people get along day to day in this province. One national news story said a survey showed workers in this province would lead the country by getting an average four per cent wage increase next year because of demand for skilled workers in the resource sector.
The other item said senior citizens in Newfoundland and Labrador are entering “insolvency” at an alarmingly increasing rate.
Put simply, seniors are going broke more often than they used to. The rate has gone from a modest 4.6 per cent in 1989 to staggering 20.6 per cent in 2009. Those numbers should unsettle everyone. While wages are climbing rapidly for the lucky few, the cost of living here is hurtling out of control for all of us.
The national inflation rate may not show how fast the cost of living in this province is climbing, but bills here sure do.
Just look at your oil or power bill, grocery bill or municipal tax bill to see where costs are going.
Times have changed and the insolvency numbers in the story are likely proof of it. Seniors are not only trying to manage on fixed incomes in these times of increasing costs, they are also living longer, which puts even more pressure on their pensions ... most of which aren’t indexed to the cost of living.
Having one fifth of the people in this province over 55 years of age unable to pay their bills should be causing alarm at every level of society.
Our grandparents would have died at the thought of being in debt, much less not being able to pay back what they owed.
We have the oldest population in the country and these problems are going to increase as babyboomers continue to move into retirement while governments and companies provide stripped-down pensions. These numbers are unsettling and unacceptable.