Tuesday, 22 December 2009

So long, Retirement

MONTREAL, December 16, 2009 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - The mass exodus of Canadian baby boomers may not be as dramatic as originally expected. In fact, more than three in ten people (31%) between the ages of 53 and 62 who responded to Desjardins Financial Security's 8th annual Rethink Retirement(TM) survey said they were more than five years away from retirement, and only 23% hope to stop working completely once they retire.

A risky approach

Although it's true that today's retirees remain active longer than previous generations, gradual retirement may not be the answer for everyone. On the one hand, close to half (47%) of the Canadian workers surveyed in the 2009 study indicated they hope to transition to retirement by gradually reducing their hours. On the other hand, only one in five current retirees retired gradually, while close to three quarters of them (72%) made a clean break. Is this due to different expectations or the changing times? Only time will tell. Nevertheless, with the 414,000 job losses that have occurred in Canada since November 2008(1), the question may be whether employers will be able to retain all of these retirees interested in transitioning out of the workplace.

What about those who want to work but can't?

Another consideration is whether employees will actually be able to continue working. According to Statistics Canada, four in ten Canadians over the age of 65 (1.7 million people) suffer from some sort of disability(2) that makes performing daily activities difficult or reduces the quality or type of activities they can participate in because of an impaired physical or mental state, or from some other health problems.

"The unfortunate thing is that people who can't afford to retire at age 65 are unlikely to ever be financially ready, and that's not good news for employers. Older workers are generally better paid than their younger counterparts, so employers are fully justified in expecting their employees to come to work in full possession of their faculties and because they want to be there, not out of financial necessity," adds Karrina Dusablon, Director, Education Centre and Global Management at Desjardins Financial Security.

Do you want to find out more?

Visit the Rethink Retirement section in the newsroom or the Meet the Experts section for interviews with health and retirement experts.

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