Canadians are counting on a long retirement — without preparing for it

A global survey shows Canada falling behind when it comes to saving and investing for retirement

Canadians are counting on a long retirement — without preparing for it

Forewarned is forearmed, as the old saying goes. But for Canadians anticipating their retirement, that may not strictly be the case.

HSBC has outlined the retirement habits of 18,414 people across 16 countries in their new report, the Future of Retirement: Shifting Sands. Based on the results, Canadians expect to have one of the longest retirement windows in the world. Around one thousand respondents from Canada (1,003) see themselves retiring at 62 years old (global average: 61) and reaching age 85 (global average: 81).  

Read more: The Future of Retirement: Longevity Lifestyle by Design

On the other hand, they are among the least likely to report actively looking for information to guide their financial decisions. Only 42% of Canadian respondents said they actively seek information, compared to 56% on average for other countries.

Like other Western countries, Canada also seems to be lagging in terms of using technology to prepare for retirement. The percentage of people who say that technology makes saving for retirement easier is lower in Canada (31%), France (17%), Argentina (28%), and the UK (30%) compared to China (77%) and India (69%).

Property is viewed relatively favourably as an investment in Canada, as 38% of working-age Canadians say that they think it delivers the best returns (still lower than the global average of 47%). Canadians don’t seem to be acting on that perception, however; only 16% of working-age people in Canada expect property to be helpful for their retirement income.

Canadians also seem to have a relatively weak stomach for risk. Only 21% said they would be very willing to ensure their financial stability by taking on risky investments, and 22% said they’d risk financial losses (the global averages were 34% and 28%, respectively). The highest proportions of working-age people willing to embrace such risks were seen in China (61%) and Taiwan (47%); the lowest were observed in France (10%) and the UK (15%).

Lacking faith in passive income from property and investments, Canadians seem to be resigned to the idea that they’ll work for longer. A little more than half (55%) of working-age Canadians say they will continue working to some degree even after retirement. Certain respondents also said they were willing to either put off retiring for two or more years (66%) or work for longer or get a second job (44%) to have a better retirement income.

The upshot is that only 29% of Canadian people believe they’ll be financially comfortable in their retirement years, a little less than the global average of 34%. The highest percentages of people projecting a comfortable financial situation were seen in India (69%) and Indonesia (61%), while the lowest percentages came from France (10%) and Australia (21%).

For more of Wealth Professional's latest industry news, click here.

Related stories:
Want to find savers? Cultural roots could play a role
How to help your clients boost tax efficiency