Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Four key trends have emerged in Canada regarding retirement

Since the first  Sun Life Unretirement Index in 2008, six years on, four key trends have emerged:

Few Canadians expect to be retired at 66.
In 2008, half of our respondents said they expected to be retired at 66. This year, a little more than a quarter of Canadians said they expect to be retired at 66. (We identify Canadians who tell us they anticipate working at 66 as planning a late retirement.) The average age of expected retirement right now: 65.7.

Unretirement means different things to different people
Some work past 65 by choice. They enjoy what they do, and they recognize the benefits of remaining active socially, mentally and otherwise. Increasingly though, Canadians who expect to keep working after the traditional retirement age will do so for economic reasons. They can’t afford to retire. Our current study shows that roughly two thirds of Canadians who expect to work past 65 said they’ll do so because they “need to.”

Pessimism followed the financial crisis, but it may be letting up. 
Between 2009 and 2010, the average age at which Canadians expect to retire jumped from 64 to 68. By the fall of 2009, it was clear we were facing prolonged low economic growth and stubbornly high  unemployment. By our 2011 study, the average expected retirement age had crept up to 69. Then the tide began to turn. Canadians expect to retire at 66 on average now. Our data suggest confidence is coming back, slowly.

Financial advice helps.
Each year, Canadians who work with financial advisers have told us they’re more optimistic about retirement and less worried about their finances. A late retirement will become the norm. Most Canadians expect to work past the traditional retirement age of 65. In fact, the number of Canadians who expect to be retired at 66 has declined by nearly half since 2008. Just 28% of respondents expect to be retired at that age, versus 51% six years ago. 

The gap between those expecting retirement and expecting full employment at 66 has closed substantially
since 2009. By 2012, the two results had landed in a statistical dead heat: 27% expected to be retired
at 66 and 26% expected to be working full-time. As we prepared for the 2013 study, we felt certain the trend would continue.

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