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Young Canadians think retiring at 65 is an outdated concept

Toronto's Financial District As Stock Market Bloodbath Kept At Bay In Canada With Gold Rally
Toronto's Financial District As Stock Market Bloodbath Kept At Bay In Canada With Gold Rally

Canadians’ views on retirement are shifting dramatically as the cost of living rises and longer life expectancies become the norm, with the idea of retiring at age 65 being one of the early casualties.

Seventy-four per cent of Canadians between the ages of 24 and 44 say the conventional retirement age — with the notion that it represents a hard stop on one’s working life — is an outdated concept, according to a national Leger survey published by Wealthsimple Inc.

”(Younger generations) are looking for flexibility, personalization and control over their future, rather than feeling controlled by conventional wisdom,” said Wealthsimple chief executive Mike Katchen.

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Many millennials and generation Z Canadians are aiming for a modern form of retirement that allows the pursuit of personal and professional passions throughout their adult lives, instead of a linear career path to retirement, the study said. This could mean a hybrid mix of work, travel, volunteering and entrepreneurial pursuits, or all of the above.

These evolving ideas on work-life balance come even as day-to-day life becomes less affordable.

Factors that supported previous generations on their path to retirement, such as buying a home or receiving employer-sponsored pensions, are not as accessible to Canadians today, Wealthsimple said.

Roughly 60 per cent of working Canadians do not have access to a workplace pension.

“This new outlook on retirement is motivated by more than a challenging economic climate,” said Katchen. “It’s a new perspective on the future.”

The survey said 41 per cent of 25-to-44-year-olds say they are motivated to retire well before age 55.

The respondents said this is so they can can chase bigger ambitions related to small business, consulting, not-for-profit work, passion projects or creative pursuits. The ambitions reflect a growing desire to “work to live” — rather than “live to work,” especially when it is for someone else.

More than half of all respondents feel that investing has given them more flexibility and choice than they could have imagined, the study said.

It found that 55 per cent of 18-to-24-year-olds see investing as a way to fulfill the ambition of retiring.

Only 19 per cent of 25-to-44-year-olds hope to grow their family, while 41 per cent of them are still saving to purchase a home.

Leger surveyed 1,501 Canadians online from Feb. 5 to 13.

• Email: dpaglinawan@postmedia.com

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