One-half of Quebec workers won’t be able to maintain standard of living in retirement: Survey

85 per cent would pay into employer-sponsored pension plan if available

Nearly one-half (46 per cent) of Quebec workers will see their standard of living decline once they retire, found a recent survey by the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA), Quebec’s HR association.

Less affluent workers — those with annual household incomes of $60,000 or less — will have the hardest time making ends meet after they retire. More than 55 per cent of these workers indicated that they won't be able to enjoy the same standard of living once they've left the workforce, found the survey of 642 workers in Quebec.

The survey also shows that 35 per cent of workers don't put anything aside for their retirement. This percentage is even more disturbing among workers with annual household incomes of under $40,000, with 54 per cent saying they aren't saving for their retirement years.

However, 85 per cent of respondents said that they would pay into a pension plan if their employer introduced one. This is a good sign for the voluntary retirement savings plans (VRSP) that are expected to be resurrected in the spring, said Florent Francoeur, president and CEO of CRHA.

Young workers (aged 18 to 34) are the most optimistic about retirement. One-third (30 per cent) of these respondents think they'll be able to maintain their standard of living when it's time to retire. In fact, some 60 per cent reported that they've already started saving for their retirement. When asked if they would participate in a pension scheme offered by their employer, eight out of 10 said they would.

"Like most industrialized countries, Quebec and the rest of Canada are experiencing a veritable retirement crisis. But the issue has an impact on more than just workers and organizations, and that's why it's crucial that society as a whole does some serious soul-searching about retirement," said Francoeur. "Although the financial aspect is fundamental, the debate should be expanded to examine other avenues, such as balancing work and retirement for instance."

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