Canadian retirement being delayed longer: poll

Published in 24 Hours Vancouver | September 11, 2013 | Circulation: 251,700

Vancouverites are faring somewhat better than other Canadians when it comes to saving for retirement, according to a new poll.

The Canadian Payroll Association, however, said people are still not setting aside nearly enough money, with some pushing back retirement by five years. The new poll found people’s estimates of what they need to save for retirement have risen from $500,000 to as much as $2 million, while 42% of those surveyed are surviving paycheque to paycheque, down 5% from last year.

“People I’ve talked to in B.C. — both students and employees — are staying in the workforce longer because not everyone has pension plans,” said CPA board member Sandra Morrison, who teaches at Douglas College. “It’s giving us a little bit of a bleak image.”

Morrison blamed the failure to save for retirement on more Canadians going into debt. “People are finding it too easy to spend their paycheques,” Morrison said. “We’re spending beyond our means through our household debt, credit cards, and lines of credit.”

For the retirement advocacy group CARP, the poll results are a “bit of a reality check,” said vice-president for advocacy Susan Eng.

“I’m nervous it will depress a lot of people,” she told 24 Hours. “One good news to this story is finally people are realizing what it’s going to take to retire adequately.

“There’s a gap, especially for younger people who say, ‘I don’t want to get to age 50 and discover a gap between what I need and what I have. Hopefully they’ll take action and start saving immediately.”

Eng argued that the government needs to step in and provide more support for retirement savings, such as allowing increased contributions to the Canada Pension Plan.

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