Only 30 per cent of workers expect to be fully retired at 66

Almost one-half plan to phase in retirement: Survey
||Last Updated: 02/28/2012

Only three in 10 Canadians plan to be fully retired at age 66, according to Sun Life Financial's annual Canadian Unretirement Index. And 48 per cent plan to phase in their retirement by working part time or freelance, as concerns about having enough savings grow.

"These results are not surprising given the current economic volatility, increasing consumer debt loads, rising health-care 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,” said Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada.

Among Canadians who expect to work past the traditional retirement age of 65, 61 per cent said it’s because they would need to while 39 per cent said it is because they would want to.

Expectations for working later decrease as income rises, found the survey of 3,701 working Canadians. Those who expect to be working at age 66 include:
•60 per cent of those earning less than $50,000 annually
•55 per cent of those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 annually
•47 per cent of those earning more than $100,000 annually.

For Canadians planning to phase in their retirement:
per cent expect to start the process between the ages of 60 and 65, working either part time or freelance before they stop working completely
•22 per cent plan to start between the ages of 50 and 59
•8 per cent expect to start between the ages of 66 and 70.

"Interest in phased retirement has been growing over the past few years," said Ian Markham, Canadian retirement innovation leader at Towers Watson. "Baby boomers are looking at it as a way to prolong their careers, pay off some debts and make a smooth transition into retirement. Having additional income during this transition creates an additional financial safety net for Canadians — which we're seeing as increasingly important in today's economy."

Nearly one-half (47 per cent) of the respondents to the Sun Life survey said they are worried about debt in retirement. Forty-four per cent of Canadians said paying down debt is their number one financial priority, which ranks higher than saving for retirement (20 per cent).

When respondents were asked when they should have started saving for retirement, the average age to start was 24. Fifty-four per cent of those who work with a financial advisor said they are satisfied with their current level of retirement savings, compared to only 28 per cent for those who do not work with an advisor.

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