Retirement crisis is here: middle-class Canadians approaching retirement cliff according to survey. Immediate action needed to reform pensions

TORONTO, Oct. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - Only 26 per cent of Canadians think they are saving enough to meet their future retirement needs according to a new survey from Angus Reid. Despite widespread knowledge about the need to save early and often for retirement, Canadians are not taking the necessary action to secure their future.

Specifically, those surveyed with a household income of less than $50,000 save on average 7 per cent of their income towards retirement, while household incomes of $50,000-$99,000 save 9 per cent. Of greatest concern, the survey exposed that 15 per cent of Canadians are not making any retirement savings. The survey was conducted in conjunction with the release of The Third Rail: Confronting our Pension Failures, a new book co-authored by Jim Leech, President and CEO, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Globe and Mail business reporter Jacquie McNish, published by Signal/McClelland & Stewart.

When it comes to retirement age, the survey results show that most Canadians still hope to retire at age 65; however expectations change as people get older. Those aged 18-34 feel they will be able to retire at 63, while among those aged 55+ it's 67. "This shows that as people near retirement, many are finding that they are not in a position to stop working," said co-author Jacquie McNish.

The average retirement income desired by those surveyed was $59,000; 36 per cent of all polled desire an annual retirement income of $25,000-$50,000, with 31 per cent desiring $50,000-$75,000 per year. Across Canada, those in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario were more likely to expect a higher income in retirement than those in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

"Many Canadians will be surprised by how much they will need to save to fund their desired income in retirement and that their income is going to plummet," explained Mr. Leech. "It's clear that existing pension structures are not allowing people to reach their saving goals. Political leadership is urgently required to bring a more flexible approach to retirement planning, one that can withstand the pressures of more retirees and longer life expectancy."

About the survey

From October 3rd, to October 7th, 2013, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 3,029 Canadians adults employed either full or part-time aged 18+, and who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. A boost of New Brunswick residents was included for a total of 153 employed New Brunswick residents. The results have been statistically weighted on age, gender, and region to ensure a representative sample. The margin of error on the full base — which measures sampling variability — of 3029 respondents is +/- 1.8%, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error on the New Brunswick sample is +/- 7.9%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About the book

The Third Rail - Confronting our pension failures by Jim Leech and Jacquie McNish presents a sobering assessment of the current state of Canada's pension system along with their bold solutions for reforming and saving it.

Over the next 20 years more than 7 million Canadian workers will retire. Baby boomers, the 45- to 65-year-olds who account for 42% of the country's workforce, will join the largest job exodus in Canadian history, moving to the promised land of retirement. Unless our pension system is reformed, many of these retirees will find this dreamland a bewildering and disappointing mirage.

Canada has the capacity to diffuse this ticking pension time bomb with some hard choices, posit Leech and McNish. It's time for businesses, governments, unions, and employees to face these options and fix - and ultimately save - our pensions system, taking examples from Holland, New Brunswick, and Rhode Island - places in which new laws have been adopted to repair their pension programs.

Video with caption: "Video: It's time to change the debate on pensions - The Third Rail: Confronting our pension failures.". Video available at:

Image with caption: "Jim Leech and Jacquie McNish, authors of The Third Rail - Confronting our pension failures. (CNW Group/Fleishman-Hillard Inc. - Toronto)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Jacquie McNish explains why it's time to stop the blame game and deliver real solutions to Canada's pension problems. (CNW Group/Fleishman-Hillard Inc. - Toronto)". Image available at:

SOURCE: Fleishman-Hillard Inc. - Toronto

For further information:

Pat Jordan


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