Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadians Want to Retire Early, but Many Unprepared, TD Survey Suggests: Canadians Unprepared for Retirement: TD Bank

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadians Want to Retire Early, but Many Unprepared, TD Survey Suggests: Canadians Unprepared for Retirement: TD Bank

Article excerpt

OTTAWA - Canadians appear to be on a collision course with harsh reality when it comes to their increasingly unrealistic expectations for retiring early and comfortably.

As evidence mounts of underfunding in company pension plans, and rising household debt, a new survey conducted for TD Bank suggests Canadians haven't adjusted their notions about retirement.

The survey of Canadians spanning three generations shows on average workers want to retire at 61, and the younger they are, the earlier they want to retire. Those in the 25-30 age group actually expect to call it quits at 59.

The problem is that the survey also shows six in 10 Canadians have less than $100,000 in household assets, not counting any equity they may have in their homes. Sixteen per cent have no assets at all.

"Early retirement is only achievable if you take steps needed to get there," said Cynthia Caskey, a portfolio manager with TD Waterhouse.

"(But) to ensure their golden years are actually golden, it is extremely important for Canadians to get an early start on saving for retirement."

The online survey of 1,006, conducted by Environics Research in late November and early December, also uncovered other reality checks on Canadians' retirement wishes.

For instance, 44 per cent of respondents believe they will have debt when they retire, and 13 per cent said their debt will be significant. That coincides with the latest Statistics Canada data showing household debt has reached a record 153 per cent of disposable income, although 70 per cent of that is in mortgages.

"For some Canadians, it's not going to be about choice, they will have to work past age 65 paying off debt or working longer hours to afford their retirement," said Caskey.

Banks and other financial institutions use surveys on topics like retirement, the economy, investing and savings intentions to gauge consumer sentiments and promote their financial products and services.

Banks, insurers and wealth management companies profit from providing financial advice by charging fees to consumers and have long promoted the need for Canadians to put money into their RRSP accounts and use professional advisers to help manage retirement funds and other investments. …

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