Most Canadians Envision Adequate Savings to Choose Their Retirement Date

October 6, 2011 ( - Canadians anticipate saving enough to retire at age 63, and most see themselves entering retirement without debt, according to a new CIBC poll. 
The poll also shows that as Canadians draw closer to retirement, they become less optimistic about reaching their savings goals and see it as more likely they’ll carry at least some debt into retirement.

Findings from the poll include:

•  On average, Canadians believe they will retire at age 63.

•  When asked why they would ultimately retire, the most popular answer among Canadians was that they will have saved enough money to choose their retirement date (37%).

•  Only 22% of Canadians believe they will carry some debt into retirement,  however past CIBC research shows that among retired Canadians, 54% hold some form of debt.

•  Boomers on the verge of retirement in the 55 to 64 year old age group were less likely to believe they would be able to choose to retire based on their savings (only 21%), and more likely to believe they would carry debt into retirement (31%).

“Our CIBC Poll shows that Canadians set out with a vision of building up their savings and eliminating debt to retire at a time of their choosing, but with each passing year they feel less optimistic about their plans,” said Christina Kramer, Executive Vice-President, Retail Distribution and Channel Strategy, CIBC.

A key finding of the poll is that as Canadians near retirement, their optimism in reaching their savings goals for retirement drops:

For example, 43% of Canadians aged 25-34 feel they will be able to choose to retire based on the savings they will accumulate over their working life. However, for those at the leading edge of the baby boom (aged 55-64) that number is cut in half to just 21%.

“As Canadians get closer to retirement, many are finding they have not achieved the retirement savings goals they set for themselves, which could lead to Canadians either working longer than they anticipated, or making adjustments to their retirement such as reducing expenses to stretch their income further,” added Kramer.

Canadians also see their debt being repaid by the time they retire, but as retirement draws closer this also is viewed as somewhat less likely. For example, only 15% of those in the 25-34 age group believe they’ll carry any debt into retirement. That number doubles to 31% for those 55-64 years of age.

Past CIBC polls show that Canadians believe they will be debt free by age 55, but many don’t reach this target. As debt is carried closer to Canadians’ target retirement age of 63 outlined in this poll, it can restrict the cash flow available for savings and may lead to Canadians missing the savings goals they have set for themselves.