2015 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index released

June 15, 2015

On February 18, we released our seventh annual Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index, which has tracked how Canadians’ attitudes and expectations about retirement have evolved since the financial crisis began in 2008.

We are pleased to share some of the highlights of the survey:

  • Read our Bright Paper Mind the Retirement Gap [PDF, 8 pages]. This looks specifically at key findings and insights around the gender differences between how men and women view and plan for their retirement. It also examines the benefits of participating in a workplace savings plan vs. not participating.
  • Coming soon! Our cheat sheet looks at ways to help shrink the gender gap when it comes to savings and retirement at a glance, and lists the top 5 workplace savings plan advantages.

How Canadians view their retirement
The overall results show that working Canadians are 2.5 times more likely than retirees to believe they will out-live their savings. And for the first time since the survey’s inception, the number of Canadians who expect to be working full time past 65 has surpassed those who believe they will be fully retired. Other key findings include:

  • Fewer Canadians expect to retire at age 66 (51% in 2008 vs. 27% in 2014), and an increasing number say it’s because they need to cover basic living expenses.
  • The number of Canadians who say they will be working at age 66 because they need to has begun to decline from 53% in 2008 to 65% in 2013 to 59% in 2014.
  • Debt reduction remains Canadians' top financial priority.
  • The survey found a significant increase in the average amount of retirement savings Canadians expect to have. It jumped from a low of $385,687 in 2012 to $417,870 in 2013 and to $556,495 in 2014.

Plan members are ahead of the game
For the seventh year in a row, the survey found that participating in a workplace savings plan gave plan members an emotional as well as financial edge over non-members. The 2015 survey revealed that:

  • 55% of Canadians with a workplace savings plan say they are satisfied with their retirement savings vs. 26% of non-members
  • 32% of Canadians with a workplace savings plan say they expect to be retired at 66 vs. 16% of non-members
  • 45% of Canadians with a workplace savings plan who say they will be working past 65 say it’s because they want to vs. 32% of non-members

While plan members were overall more confident about planning for their future and their retirement outlook, they are still underestimating how much they’ll need in retirement. Sun Life Financial’s Retirement Planner on mysunlife.ca can help plan members determine how much income they’ll need to win in retirement.

Please contact your Sun Life Financial Group Retirement Services representative.