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Emerging trends are changing how Canadians plan for retirement

February 11th, 2015 by

Are you a retiring Boomer? 5 new trends that could affect your retirement plans


With the March 2nd, 2015 RSP deadline approaching, many Canadians are planning their annual contributions and hoping for a comfortable nest egg when retirement rolls around.  But with recently lowered interest rates potentially diminishing returns and several new trends emerging on the retirement front, it could spell changes in how Canadians need to plan for retirement.

As Canadians plan for their financial needs in retirement, there are several emerging trends that need to be considered. The Baby Boomer generation is now crossing the retirement threshold, and we’re seeing a new kind of ‘Young Retiree’ who envisions a very active and comfortable retirement, yet they may not be taking some important trends into consideration as they plan for their leisure years.

5 emerging trends that impact retirement planning

  1. Seniors are living longer

According to Statistics Canada, the average 65-year-old Canadian near the beginning of the 20th century could expect to live about 13 more years. A hundred years later in the new millennium, that figure has jumped to almost 20 years. 

Conclusion: Retirement funds have to be sufficient to accommodate an increasingly long life span.

  1. The retired population is growing, and accelerating rapidly

According to Statistics Canada, between 1981 and 2005, the number of seniors in Canada almost doubled, increasing from 2.4 million to 4.2 million. The very first baby boomers turn 68 this year. The average retirement age of Canadians is 62, so many boomers have already entered retirement, while many others see it on the horizon. By next year, 1 out of every 5 Canadian adults will be 65 or over.

The number of Canadians entering their retirement years is accelerating.  Between 2006 and 2026, the number of ‘Young Seniors’ aged 65 to 74 (people just retiring) is projected to almost double.

Conclusion: In the future, there will be an increasing demand for resources geared to a growing pool of retirees.  This demand could potentially impact supply/availability and ultimately, pricing.  Sound financial planning should make provision for increased prices for retirement-related resources and services.

  1. Today’s retiring population is different from earlier generations

Seniors themselves are changing.  Financially, they are better off than they were twenty-five years ago. They are better educated, Internet savvy, and active.   Seniors are also starting to be seen as different sub-sets within their overall category.  Characteristics of ‘Young Seniors’ aged 65 to 74 differ dramatically from their older counterparts.

Conclusion: Retirement funds for ‘Young Seniors’ need to be sufficient to accommodate a more active lifestyle than in times past.

  1. Health challenges faced by long-lived seniors can strain retirees’ financial resources

As Canadians live longer, they’ll need to plan for what may be extended periods when special care and living arrangements are needed.  Planning should also take rising care costs into consideration.

Conclusion: Contingency funds need to be established to provide for long term care/ special needs in retirement. 

  1. Many Canadians are retiring with debt

In 2009, 34 percent of retired individuals aged 55 and over held mortgage or consumer debt, according to Statistics Canada. The median amount owed by these individuals was $19,000.  The incidence of debt was much higher (almost double) among those in same age group who had not yet retired

Divorced retirees (43 percent) had the highest incidence of debt. They were followed by people in a couple (35%), those who never married (30 percent) and widows or widowers (28 percent). Also, divorced retirees had the lowest annual median income and net worth, compared with all other groups.

Retirees with debt had a median annual household income of $42,000 and a median net worth of $295,000. Overall, their debt was equivalent to about 7 percent of their total assets.

Older retirees were significantly less likely to have outstanding debt. Just under one-half (48 percenty) of retirees aged 55 to 64 had some form of debt, compared with 20 percent of retirees aged 75 and over.

Conclusion: Many people approaching retirement age may be delaying their retirement plans due to debts. Today’s low interest rates make this a perfect environment to pay down debts quickly. Plans for eliminating debt should be part of your overall financial strategy both leading up to and after retirement.

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Jun 25 2017 12:32pm

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