PLEASE NOTE: This is NEXT WEEK’S column. To read the present weekly forecast, please scroll down the right side of this page and click on “Recent Posts – Dec. 29-Jan. 4”
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START NOTHING: 1:44 am to 11:455 am Mon., 8:22 am to 6:24 pm Wed., and 2:58 am to 4:26 am Sat.
Well, I wrote here last year that government pensions would be in trouble. Now the postal services in Canada and the U.S. are unable to support their retirees’ pensions….
BTW, the “Year Ahead” will be posted soon. Until then, let me grouse for a minute. The mandatory Canadian Pension Plan (like Social Security in the U.S.) is basically unfair. It discriminates against those who work for many years. For example, if you work 30 years and make the maximum contribution, your pension will be hundreds of dollars per month HIGHER than a person who worked 50 years (20 years more) and also made the maximum contribution during the last 30 years.
That’s because the government plan uses your average annual contribution in calculating your benefits. (Nowhere does the CPP do the simple thing: tie your pension to your total contributions over your lifetime, with an interest calculation that would consider when the contributions were made. That would be too simple, and too fair.)
So if you contributed, say, $ 10,000 from 1970 to 1985 (smaller due to lower wages) and then $ 45,000 from 1985 to 2015 (retirement age) you will get a smaller pension than someone who only worked from 1985 to 2015, and contributed only $ 45,000.
Using this example: because Pensioner A worked 45 years (1970 to 2015) and contributed $ 55,000 in total, his average contribution per year was only $ 1,222.
Pensioner B, who worked only 30 years (1985-2015) and contributed only $ 45,000 – ten thousand less – has an average contribution per year of $ 1,500 – and therefore receives a higher pension.
Almost everyone who worked in the 1960’s and 1970’s is getting ripped off in this manner.
The CPP people will say, “well, we recognize this, so we don’t count a person’s lowest 5 years of contributions.” That’s a band-aid on a stomach wound. For instance, in the rather mild example I gave above, if you cut out the lowest 5 years, Pensioner A would still have 10 years of sub-par wages and contributions, and still receive less than B, who chose wisely not to work for 15 years.
It gets even worse. If A was self-employed, he was required by law to contribute double what any employee contributes – yet only half his contribution counts toward his pension. So Pensioner A, if self-employed, contributes $ 110,000 to the Plan, yet still receives less than B, who contributed only $ 45,000.
In my case, I would now receive about $ 200 more in monthly payments if I had collected welfare and NOT contributed for my first 20 years!
Obviously, this is unfair and discriminatory: but the Canadian government – at least under its present PM Harper – is one of the cruellest in the developed world. For instance, if a soldier is severely wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, and has less than 10 years service (most combat vets have less than 10 years, as the young are sent first into battle) the Canadian Military discharges him/her, to ensure they won’t be eligible for a pension. They call them “unfit for duty” because they’ve lost legs or arms; and if you’re unfit before you hit ten years’ duty, you don’t qualify for a pension.
And the final strawberry on this shortcake? In Canada, you have to obtain the government’s permission to sue the government.
It all goes back to the original prediction for 2008-2024, that hierarchies will grow stronger, malevolent, and the masses will, in general, lose.
The accent remains on your ambitions, career, reputation, and prestige relations. This week is much calmer and easier than the last one. But remember, the underlying conditions have not changed – until late July, you still have to deal with feisty, unusually assertive people (gee, welcome to the mirror!) and until 2024, you still must wrestle with, or embrace, deeply changing career demands/situations. On the plus side, you could meet a true partner before August, and could rise meteorically in career. Optimism, eagerness, flexibility spark the plus side; anger, resentment, etc., lead to the downside. Lie low, rest and plan Sunday to noon Monday. Your energy, charisma and effectiveness surge Monday pm through Wednesday. These days are filled with disagreement or barriers – tackle them ambitiously, cut a charismatic swath! Chase money, shop wisely, Thursday/Friday. (Reject bad motives, should they arise.) Errands, friends, variety, visits, calls fill Saturday.
Mellow times return. Use this week and next to pursue higher education, publishing, broadcasting, international contacts, far travel, cultural events, and love. (You’re in a long phase, 2009-2024, when you are very likely, if single, to meet and marry your “true mate.” This person could be foreign-born, or your love could blossom in a foreign country.) Wish fulfilment, entertainment, social delights and light romance bring happiness Sunday, and a bit Monday. Retreat from competitive situations Monday noon through Wednesday. Contemplate, plan, meditate, deal with charities, spiritual venues, government and institutions (and your own head office). Your energy, charisma and clout rise very nicely Wednesday night through Friday. Check to make sure a partner or key person is onside, then start a significant project. Shop, chase money Saturday – all’s lucky except for a possible deception this morning.
There is still some strain on your money, income and net worth this week, Gemini – First, Sunday, when it’s hard to decide between making it, or investing, or between short-term and long-term goals. (This particular dilemma holds a break-through opportunity – if you see it, grab it.) And second, midweek (Wednesday) when your income or possessions (or your need to possess) interferes with your romantic hopes. These aside, this is an easy, productive week. Keep your focus on finances, investments/debt, net worth, health, sexual urges and intimate promises. Actions now have consequences; commitments have a future, and will change yours. Research, look beneath surfaces: you could find golden keys. Be ambitious Sunday – your luck’s good, stable. Wishes can come true Monday pm to Wednesday eve, when popularity, social joys, love, flirtation and optimism rise. Retreat Wednesday eve to Friday: contemplate, plan, rest. Your energy, charisma soar Saturday – chase something, someone.
The emphasis remains on relationships, relocation, negotiations, agreements, and opportunities. Last week’s upsets probably cleared the air, so you can charge ahead now with a fresh feeling. (Though it’s calmer now, nothing’s really changed: you remain lucky and overworked, your home remains friction-prone, and partners/spouse remain sweet, stubborn and inscrutable.) Sunday and Monday morn are mellow. Understanding, empathy, gentle love suffuse you – it’s a splendid time to form links, travel afar, apply for school or join in an intellectual or cultural project. Be ambitious – and cautious – Monday pm through Wednesday. Higher-ups are quick on the draw, impatient and temperamental. (They’re having trouble with a personal relationship.) Happiness flows in Wednesday night to Friday – your popularity and optimism climb, wish fulfilment and light romantic notions fill the air. Retreat Saturday: rest, protect health, ponder and plan.
The week ahead is relatively smooth and co-operative, allowing you to get a lot done – which is good, because you have a pile of work to tackle. Sunday’s mysterious; dig deep, research, detect, look for hidden keys and undiscovered sources of money (or new methods to make it). Your need for intimacy intensifies, and can be fulfilled – but don’t chase anyone who’s already attached. Monday morning carries the same influence, but now Sunday’s opportunity and growth ingredients have dissolved. This pm through Wednesday brings intellectual pursuits, far travel, cultural venues, and love – but all are marred by a series of minor glitches. (For example, every time you go for profundity, you end up spouting truisms and superficial comments. Ah, well. This will pass – but meanwhile, now to late July, use this: write light stories, entertain acquaintances, tell anecdotes, make conversation rather than “showcasing the Truth.”) Be ambitious Wednesday night to Friday: but examine your motives for flaws before Thursday noon. Saturday brings a true weekend – joy, popularity, entertainment, a good time!
The accent remains on romance, creativity, charming kids, sports and games, beauty, and speculation. You’ll ride a winning streak this week and next, Virgo, so shed your shyness and charge forth! If you’re attracted to someone, speak up. The only sure failure in love (now to July) will occur if you chase someone who’s already attached (or if you are) – and the failure will be even bigger, more hurtful, if you succeed. So stick to “ethically available” people. Sunday’s superb for relationships – a friend might introduce you to a fascinating someone, or will praise you to him/her. Be early – make that phone call. Those “ethically unavailable” sirens appear Monday pm to Wednesday: be honest, upright. You’re drawn to investments, but the auspices aren’t good. Use these days for research, examining options. Protect health and reputation. Wednesday night to Friday highlights intellectual progress, higher education, far travel, social rituals, culture (film, dance, opera, art, etc.) and foreign contacts – all’s good. Be ambitious Saturday: dress well.
The general emphasis lies on your home, family, property, garden, kitchen, and on security, retirement plans. In business, sales territory, premises and foundations become important. Last week was tense; this one relaxes. The problems that might have been revealed last week have not gone away, they have merely subsided, like alligators into the green water. You can work on them now, more steadily and slowly. (And someday you’ll be sporting alligator skin boots.) These problems include relationships, your own temper, career/reputation, and home – but chiefly home. Tackle chores Sunday. You’ll succeed, easily. Relationships draw you and challenge you Monday pm to Wednesday. Go forth cautiously, diplomatically. Yes, you feel assertive, brave, but that’s no excuse for making enemies. Intimacy, sexual urges, financial concerns – and life’s depths, mysteries – flow over you Wednesday night through Friday. Be moral, and you’ll succeed. Saturday, intellectual, travel and cultural themes – and love!
You remain busy and restless – and indecisive. You’re focused on errands, paperwork, applications, casual acquaintances, short trips, calls and visits. The indecision comes when you’re trying to “contact” (via those applications, calls, etc.) a major goal, opportunity, or significant relationship. Let this indecision guide you – perhaps it’s better to wait (until March or later). Sunday’s romantic, creative – beauty entrances you. Tackle chores Monday pm to Wednesday – cautiously, as various problems exist. Relationships loom large Wednesday night to Friday. Here, all is smooth, conversation is pleasant, others are receptive. In fact, the only one who’s prudent, cautious, in the mood to reject, is you. Be eager, forward, trusting if you want others to treat you similarly. Life’s depths, mysteries rise to the surface Saturday – it’s not time for romance, but intimacy, sexual “messages” are favoured. So is research, diagnosis, and financial actions.
The emphasis remains on money, possessions (including memory, which is a possession) sensual attractions and rote learning or “grade school” education. This area was under assault last week, but now things should smooth out. Earning money will be fortunate to March, and changeable (demanding change on your part) to 2024. Investing will be fortunate to July. Sunday nudges you to stay around home, embrace family, visit the hardware store, landscape the yard, etc. – all goes well. A good day to buy real estate. Romance calls you Monday pm to Wednesday. So do creativity, speculation, beauty and pleasure. But they all run into barriers and conflicts – proceed cautiously. Tackle chores Thursday/Friday: all’s well, as long as your motives are good. Relationships, exciting meetings slated Saturday (with a glimmer of successful romance). Seek new horizons, new people. All January/February, you might backpedal on a big financial move or an intimate relationship.
Your energy and charisma remain high. You’re very attractive to others now, even if some interludes seem to fade out before any significant “embrace” occurs. (This occurs because you’re indecisive about love/affection/partnership now, and others reflect this. The indecision continues to March – and could bring you an old flame, or someone who strongly reminds you of a long-ago love. The primary message is: if you’re unattached, you are very likely to meet a cheerful, optimistic, honest potential mate before July – this person will restrict you but also restore and mend you.) Sunday brings errands, visits, calls, paperwork, siblings and casual friends. (One of whom could be a future love.) Pay attention to your home and family Monday pm to Wednesday. There are problems here, so be affectionate, understanding and approachable. Romance, creative surges and speculative urges, beauty and pleasure fill Thursday/Friday: make sure your motives are pure. Tackle chores Saturday.
Remain in the background, Aquarius. Rest, nap, daydream, plan your future moves. You won’t have a lot of time during the busy year ahead, to deal with government (and quasi-gov) agencies, so do this now and next week. E.g., submit tax forms, or application for funding. A slow, steady approach will work well. Shop or make money Sunday; hold a garage sale, chase new clients, etc. You could spy a real opportunity, in work spheres or machinery. Short trips, errands, casual acquaintances, calls and visits fill Monday pm to Wednesday – be cautious, think before speaking, drive defensively. A legal/ethical “collision of minds” might occur. Ebb to low speed Thursday/Friday. Sink deeply into rest, protect your health, show affection to family, putter at home if you don’t need to work. All goes well. You could hear good news from the government or “head office.” Saturday brings a nice surprise: a day of beauty, a romantic meeting (or notion, since you aren’t very magnetic before Jan. 19) or some cultural pleasure – a great film?
The two weeks ahead bring more socializing. You might notice that your social life, your circle, is slowly transforming. Slowly, slowly (the process takes 15 years; you’re one-third into it) life is replacing the old with new, more mentally, morally compatible people. You’ll be able to have conversations, share ideas and experiences, that you never thought you could. Every January to 2024 brings more opportunities to bring new people into your gentle net. The past deserves respect, but not suffocating loyalty. Your charisma and energy stay high Sunday – get out, chase romance, beautify your life. Create something, express yourself. Take care with money, spending and possessions Monday pm to Wednesday. DON’T buy machinery, nor demand a pay raise. Errands, calls, visits, news, emails, paperwork, friends and short trips fill Thursday/Friday. All’s good – though one friend might step back. Be home Saturday: an easy, peaceful day. A secret is coming, perhaps news about a spouse or prospective one.