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Young Canadians most optimistic about retirement

Monday June 02, 2014 Written by 
Younger Canadians are more optimistic about retirement than their older counterparts, but are less likely to be taking action to turn those retirement dreams into realities.

A CIBC poll found that Canadians between the ages of 18 and 24 are 10 times more likely to be optimistic that they will live better in retirement than people aged 55 to 64. In fact, the poll found that Canadians' expectations for retirement fall dramatically the closer they get to retirement age.

Key findings from the poll include:

  • Thirty per cent of Canadians 18 to 24 say they expect to live better in retirement than they do today. That number falls to 17 per cent for 25 to 34 year olds.
  • Expectations continue to drop with age. Only three per cent of those 55 to 64 think they will live better in retirement than they do now.
  • Despite their optimism, younger Canadians are less likely to have started saving for retirement. Two in five 18 to 24 year olds (40 per cent) say they have not yet started saving for retirement, compared to 23 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds and just 16 per cent of the overall Canadian population.

The poll results suggest that although younger Canadians are positive about their future retirement plans, they may be relying too much on having time to meet their retirement goals and not taking necessary action now that could help them realize their goals.

"Time is on the side of younger Canadians who have many years to retirement, but that's only an advantage if you take action and use those years to start accumulating savings," said Christina Kramer, executive vice-president of retail and business banking for CIBC. "While it's not surprising that younger Canadians are optimistic about how they expect to retire, the fact that so many people nearing retirement aren't as hopeful speaks to the importance of having a financial plan in place earlier on."

The poll also revealed that the majority of Canadians (58 per cent) believe it is still possible to put money away each month and retire in their 60s, particularly among the 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 cohorts (71 per cent and 68 per cent, respectively).

This is a positive finding, according to Kramer. "Considering how often we hear talk of the increasing cost of living, it's good news that so many Canadians, especially younger people. still think saving for retirement is achievable."

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