Sun Life Canadian UnretirementTM

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1 Sun Life Canadian UnretirementTM Index 2014 Canadian Unretirement Index Report Life s brighter under the sun

2 Table of contents About the Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index... 2 Will you be working at 66?... 3 Pay down the mortgage or save for retirement?... 6 Financial priorities... 8 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index score... 9

3 About the Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index The Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index tracks how workers attitudes and expectations about retirement are evolving in response to economic, health and personal forces affecting their lives. Inside this report These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between November 12 and 20, 2013, on behalf of Sun Life Financial. For this survey, Ipsos Reid conducted online interviews with a sample of 3,005 working Canadians from 30 to 65 years of age from Ipsos online panel. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within +/- 2 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error. An online methodology was used from 2010 to Telephone interviews were conducted in 2008 and Ipsos Reid is confident in the year-over-year trends indicated and finds them to be consistent with other research they have performed on similar issues by both telephone and online methodologies. Total sample sizes are as follows: 2008 n = n = n = n = n = n = 3005 Unretirement [un-ree-tiyr-mint] noun: The growing trend away from early retirement by choice or economic necessity and towards continued work past the traditional retirement age of 65. Page 2

4 Will you be working at 66? This is the question at the centre of the Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index. One year past the traditional retirement age, will you be retired? Will you be fully employed? Working parttime? Perhaps you simply can t see that far ahead. This is the sixth year we ve asked Canadians to share their personal financial forecast. Since 2009, the gap between the percentage who expects to be retired and fully employed at 66 has been closing steadily. By 2012, the two results landed in a statistical dead heat: 27 per cent expected to be retired at 66 and 26 per cent expected to be working full-time. As we prepared for this year s survey, we felt certain the trend would continue. This would be the year we thought in which a greater number of Canadians expects to be fully employed at 66. Instead, the data moved sideways. Twenty-eight per cent expect to be fully retired, not working for money at 66 this year. About the same 27 per cent say they ll be working full-time. Like last year, this is a statistical tie (our results are accurate to within +/- 2 percentage points). Another 29 per cent say they will be working part-time. Fifteen per cent aren t sure and two per cent believe they will be no longer living. Which of these describes what you think you will be doing at age 66, shortly after the traditional retirement age? 60% 50% 51% 55% Retired Working full time 40% 30% 28% 30% 27% 28% 20% 16% 16% 20% 20% 26% 27% 10% Source: 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement TM Index. Base: All respondents in each wave. Page 3

5 As we have seen in past years, those who plan to work past 65 fall into two camps. Thirty-five per cent say they ll do so because they want to. Sixty-five per cent feel they will need to. The gap between the two has been gradually widening since Which statement best describes your situation? 80% The main reason I will be working at age 66 is because I need to The main reason I will be working at age 66 is because I want to 70% 62% 61% 63% 65% 60% 53% 50% 47% 40% 39% 39% 37% 35% 30% Source: 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement TM Index. Base: Respondents who expect to be working at age 66. In other ways however, this years data suggest an emerging sense of optimism among Canadians with regards to their retirement plans. Clearly, it is premature to call it a trend, but answers to several questions point to an easing of the anxiety many have expressed since the 2010 report. On average, Canadians say they expect to retire at 66. That s the lowest figure we ve seen in four years. And it s a full year lower than last year s 67 result. So while large numbers of Canadians anticipate working past 65 either by choice or necessity that trend is offset somewhat by a significant number who still believe in early retirement. Page 4

6 At what age do you think you will finally stop working and be fully retired, if ever? Average expected retirement age Source: 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement TM Index. Base: All respondents in each wave. This year, eight per cent of respondents say they plan to retire before turning 60. Another 27 per cent are set to retire between 60 and 65. There are other examples of growing optimism. We asked respondents how satisfied they are with their retirement savings. Thirty-eight per cent are satisfied (eight per cent very satisfied and 30 per cent somewhat satisfied). That s up from 34 per cent in last year s study. Eighty per cent say they are confident that they will be able to take care of basic living expenses in retirement (30 per cent very confident and 51 per cent somewhat confident) 1. That compares to 78 per cent who said the same a year ago. Seventy-one per cent are confident about their ability to take care of medical expenses in retirement (18 per cent very confident and 53 per cent somewhat confident). Last year, 69 per cent said the same. These year-over-year increases are small to be sure but together they appear to indicate a reversal in the pessimism that has been so much a part of this study since (1) All results have been rounded to the nearest full percentage figure. Page 5

7 Pay down your mortgage or save for retirement? The decision to pay down one s mortgage or save for retirement is as personal a financial decision as they come. The current low-interest rate environment, coupled with rising residential real estate values across much of the country, has added complexity to an already difficult choice. We asked Canadian mortgage holders if they re choosing to pay down their mortgage rather than save for retirement. Most are. In fact, 57 per cent are foregoing retirement saving in an effort to pay down their mortgage. Forty-two per cent answered no. At this time are you choosing to pay down your mortgage debt as opposed to saving for retirement? 57% 42% Yes No Source: 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement TM Index. Base: All mortgage holders. Can we surmise from this that these Canadians are planning to turn all that home equity into retirement income? No we can t. Fifty-eight per cent of homeowners say I have no plans to sell my residence(s) or take advantage of a reverse mortgage. Page 6

8 That answer came in response to our question about what percentage of their retirement income homeowners believe will come out of home equity. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) says they don t know. Of those who did provide a figure other than zero, 49 per cent believe their real estate will provide for less than half of their retirement income and 51 per cent believe it will provide for more than half. What percentage of your total retirement income do you estimate will come from the sale of your residential real estate, or from drawing down on the equity in your property/properties? 24% 18% Percentage of total retirement income that will come from real estate equity 1% - 25% 31% 26% - 49% 18% 58% 50% - 75% 75% or more 32% 19% Some percentage of my retirement income will be funded by home equity I have no plans to sell my residence(s) or take advantage of a reverse mortgage I don t know Source: 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement TM Index. Base: All homeowners We asked Canadian homeowners if they agree or disagree that their residential real estate will serve as their primary source of retirement income. Nearly a quarter (24%) agree, 59% disagree and 17% don't know. Page 7

9 Financial priorities While a majority of mortgage holders are foregoing retirement savings, the percentage of Canadians who say retirement is their top financial priority is higher than the percentage who say the same about saving or paying for housing. Twenty-two per cent of respondents say paying for housing (either in the form of a mortgage, down payment or rent, etc.) is their number one priority. Meanwhile, 26 per cent say saving for retirement is their top priority. The most popular first priority though, by a wide margin, is paying down debt. Twenty-four per cent say paying down personal loan(s) or other debt is their top priority and 15 per cent say paying down credit cards is number one on their list. Combined, that s 39 per cent of Canadians who say paying down debt is job one. This is understandable, given household debt levels across the country. We ve been setting new records regularly since the financial crisis. The average Canadian household lives with a debt-to-disposable-income ratio well above 160 per cent. Despite the fact that this number keeps moving in the wrong direction, many Canadians say the financial crisis had a positive impact on their financial decision making. For example, 36 per cent are spending less and 25 per cent are saving more. Since the financial crisis of 2008 how have your financial habits changed, if at all? I am planning for my financial future... I am paying down debt... I am investing... 30% 48% 13% 31% 47% 16% 20% 43% 29% More than before the financial crisis The same as before the financial crisis Less than before the financial crisis I am spending 16% 45% 36% I am saving 25% 45% 23% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Source: 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement TM Index. Base: All respondents The crisis had an effect on investors too. Thirty-eight per cent are taking less risk with their investment portfolio now, compared to before the 2008 crash. Fifty-six per cent are taking about the same amount of risk, and just six per cent are taking more risk. Twenty-two per cent of Canadians say they have a written financial plan. Among those who do, 30 per cent say it s because of the financial crisis that they developed their plan. Thirty-one per cent of Canadians work with a financial advisor. Page 8

10 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index score The index runs on a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 represents extreme optimism and the expectation of a perfect retirement. The lower the index number, the more negative or pessimistic the outlook is on issues that influence retirement. The overall Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index score measuring the confidence of working Canadians is 42. That s flat relative to last year s result. We did see a little positive movement on the macroeconomic scale (continuing an upward trend from 29 in 2011) and the personal finance scale (continuing an upward trend from 40 in 2011). Canadians confidence in government benefits is down slightly. That index score fell from 41 to 40. Overall Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index scores Overall Macroeconomic Personal finance Health Government benefits Employee benefits Source: 2014 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement TM Index. Base: All respondents Page 9

11 For more information on the Sun Life Canadian Unretirement Index, or any of the information presented in this paper, please contact or visit Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada GRP1788-E Sun Life Canadian Unretirement TM Index 2014

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