Canadians not Prepared to Retire When They Want

January 5, 2012 ( - Canadians across three generations want to retire before 65, but don’t seem financially prepared to achieve that goal.

According to the TD Age of Retirement Report, 61 is the average age of expected retirement for Canadians, and the average is lower for those in Generation X (ages 31-46) who plan to retire at age 60, and those in Generation Y (ages 25-30) who plan to retire at age 59. However, nearly six in 10 (59%) Canadians say they have less than $100,000 in household financial assets.  

The research found more than half (53%) of Boomers (ages 47-64) and 62% of those in Generation X say they have less than $100,000 in household financial assets, not including company pensions, life insurance policies and home equity. Sixteen percent of Canadians say they have no financial assets whatsoever.  

In addition, half (44%) of respondents expect to have debt when they retire, including one in 10 (13%) who believe they will retire with a significant amount of debt. Most of the debt Canadians expect to carry into retirement is consumer debt (57%) followed by mortgage debt (48%).  

As for what retirement means, most Canadians anticipate retirement will either be a time to relax and really enjoy life, or to try something new, with only 15% saying they plan to work for the rest of their healthy lives.  For almost half (47%) of Canadians, retirement is a time where they can gradually slow down and enjoy life by spending more time with friends and family, while 38% say retirement is a time to explore passions and experience new things they weren’t able to while working.  

“An early retirement is only achievable if you take the steps needed to get there,” says Cynthia Caskey, vice president and portfolio manager, TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice.  “Our research suggests that many Canadians feel they are behind when it comes to getting their finances in order for retirement, but this doesn’t have to be the case.  Early retirement may be an option, as long as you take the time to do the proper planning, including a comprehensive financial plan, as well as disciplined investing over the long term. “  

Results for the TD Age of Retirement Report were collected through a custom, online survey fielded by Environics Research Group. A total of 1,006 completed surveys were collected with Canadians ages 25-64 who are not retired. Data was collected between November 22 and December 2, 2011.