VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As Canadians live longer and face tougher financial choices in their golden years, fewer than a third of respondents in a new survey plan to be fully retired by 66.
Sun Life Financial’s annual Unretirement Index poll found that only about three in 10 Canadians surveyed plan full retirement at that age.
Nearly five in 10 — about 48 per cent — plan to work part-time or freelance while they ease into retirement.
The poll results reflect what other public opinion surveys have shown for a while — that Freedom 55 is a thing of the past.
“Canadian retirement expectations are changing with many planning to work longer and almost half of Canadians looking to phase in their retirement,” explains Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada.
“These results are not surprising given the current economic volatility, increasing consumer debt loads, rising healthcare costs, longer life expectancy and lack of planning. We’re also finding that some Canadians believe they’ll have to work longer to be able to pay for basic living expenses.”
Around the world, a retirement crisis looms as debt-strapped countries scale back benefits, raise the retirement age or make other moves to deal with rising obligations and weak economies.
In Canada, the federal government wants to scale back the long-term costs of Canada’s Old Age Security program. It has met harsh criticism over suggestions Ottawa may raise the OAS retirement age to save money.
In the poll, about 61 per cent of those who said they expect to work past the traditional retirement age of 65 said they would do so because they have to, while 39 per cent said it’s because they want to.
The retirement issue is coming to the fore as the workforce ages and baby boomers are set to retire in the coming years, leaving fewer employees to pay into benefit plans and more drawing from them.
Canadians are also living longer, with average life expectancy now at 85, according to Statistics Canada. Retirees will need to factor that in to savings plans.