Three-quarters of Canadians keen on gradual retirement

Continued health benefits a critical incentive: Survey

Canadians increasingly want to retire gradually, either by reducing their regular schedules or taking longer vacations, according to a Desjardins Insurance survey.

Three-quarters of the 2,037 respondents said they planned to transition into retirement over time, rather than stopping work suddenly.

This is particularly true for people aged 18 to 39 (76 per cent) and 40 to 64 (66 per cent), while more than one-half of those aged 65 and up said they planned to retire gradually.

"The traditional notion of retirement — of packing up your office at the end of your last day and completely changing your life — is ending," said Angela Iermieri, financial planner at Desjardins Group. "Smart organizations will support this change in their workplaces to help address the huge pressures that will be created as baby boomers make this shift."

Facilitating gradual retirement will have benefits for everyone in the coming decade, she said.

"Supporting the most experienced, knowledgeable staff to remain in the workforce in a transitional way allows employers to take advantage of their strengths, while they mentor younger workers who bring new skills and energy. Demographic patterns will soon create a critical shortage of experienced workers that transitional retirement can help address."

The desire for a transitional retirement isn't determined by the respondents' perceptions of their financial situation, found Desjardins. Even those with excellent, very good or good financial security were as likely to prefer this method as those whose financial security is fair or poor.

More than one-half of respondents who planned to retire abruptly felt gradual retirement would not be an option for them. When asked how their employers could do to help them to transition into retirement, respondents suggested continued health benefits were a critical incentive. Other important incentives included:

• an interesting offer in terms of tasks, workplace and team

• a less demanding position

• a better salary

• new challenges.

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