Ralph Morris, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Sector Pensioners’ Association (NLPSPA), had a message at the group’s AGM on the weekend — be vigilant with your pension and against those out to take it.
Morris spoke particularly of local investment firms that were advertising for people about to draw their pensions to invest their money with them.
“Of course those investment firms and the people who work for them are something like snake oil salesmen,” he said, adding that they tell people what they’ll make by investing with them but never what they’ll lose.
Morris gave the example of one couple who did invest with a firm and were making $300 less than when they started when they told Morris about it. They had also lost group health insurance, and the wife had some high-cost prescriptions.
Nobody told the husband he would lose his group health insurance by giving his pension to an investment firm, and he didn’t know to ask, Morris said. The money they were making off their pension was only about enough to cover the cost of the prescriptions.
In the end, the NLPSPA took an ad out informing people of the ramifications of moving their pension elsewhere, and Morris said the investment ads then disappeared.
Another key topic of Morris’ talk was that widows in this province are getting hit hard with an increase in the cost of living while they try to survive on a fixed income.
“All you fairer group outlive all us men,” he said. “Those widows that are out there now are couch surfing from family relative to family relative.”
A line of defence is the ballot come election time, he stressed. Not letting the seniors’ income erode any further is imperative.
“it’s incumbent on all of us whether we’re here today from whatever organization or from no organization that we speak out. That we make sure that we’re heard and that we make sure that we’re heard loud and clear.”