The two options:
- Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and its investment arm, the CPP Investment Board - thus my new acronym CPP(IB)
- RRSP / RRIF / LIRA / LRIF / LIF - the family of registered retirement plans available to individuals, first to save for retirement, and then to draw income from during retirement
First order analysis: What the alternatives deliver today, as promised and as possible. The CPP is very straightforward - once you are eligible and fill in the form to start payments, you receive a monthly cheque, indexed (increased but never decreased e.g. during deflation) for inflation, for the rest of your life. The registered plans are more complicated and the income must somehow be created from investments. I've assumed that the pensioner will follow what I consider to be the best available method to invest within the plans - a portfolio of passive index ETFs, possibly with annuities purchased at some point.
Below is a table with my comparisons and ratings. I haven't bothered with an overall score because the CPP is clearly and massively superior based on doing what it does now.
Second order analysis: drilling down beneath the surface, how sustainable and sure, and what are the risks of each alternative. Below is the table for those results. Again, the CPP is Victoria to St. John's distance ahead of registered plans.
Third order analysis: what investing challenges must be met, what effort and skills does each require to be successful. Big surprise huh? A pattern seems to have emerged as the CPP is again far superior to registered plans.
One could say that the CPP is the best thing since, and for, sliced bread.