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More Canadians expect to work past age 65

Yasmin Jaswal
Pay Day
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18: An older job-seeker takes notes during an employment seminar at a "Work Search" event aimed at older unemployed people January 18, 2011 at a high school gymnasium in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. The event, sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), consisted of workshops for basic job skills like resume building targeted to an over-50 job seeking demographic. Unemployment for older worker has decreased slightly in the past year, though rates are still three times higher than they were a decade ago, when only 2.5 percent of people over 45 were jobless. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Canadians once thought they would be able to retire by 65. Now, almost 60 per cent of Canadians say they will be working past that age, according to the Sun Life Financial Unretirement index.

The poll shows only 27 per cent of Canadians between 30 and 65 years of age say they will be retired at 66, which is almost 50 per cent less compared to survey results five years ago.

Other highlights include:

  • 26 per cent of Canadians expect to be working full-time past 65
  • 32 per cent say they will probably be working part-time age 66
  • 15 per cent of respondents weren’t sure what their futures looked like

While some Canadians work to keep active or to have a little extra spending money, 63 per cent of respondents say they will work past 65 in order to cover expenses.

The 2008 financial crisis, low interest rates, and living longer have all made it more difficult to save enough money for retirement, says Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada.

“The last few years have been very hard on people and families, and caused them to either put off savings or to have to borrow a little bit longer,” he says.

A separate global study of 15,000 consumers by HSBC found that on average, people expect to run out of retirement savings within 10 years (11 years in Canada), which is just over half the 18 years (19 years in Canada) an average retirement fund is expected to last.

Fifty-five per cent of Canadian respondents say they are not preparing adequately enough to live comfortably in retirement. Furthermore, 42 per cent of Canadians report never saving for retirement, including some Canadians between the ages 55 and 64.

Financial difficulties during retirement were a big concern for a majority of Canadians surveyed. However, 41 per cent of Canadians who have yet to retire say they would rather save for a holiday than their retirement.

Dougherty says talking to a financial advisor and creating a financial plan, no matter how old you are, is always a good idea.

“People that have mapped out a plan do feel better about retirement, and do feel better about their financial circumstances,” he says. “It’s sort of a way of taking charge, taking control of some of your life.”