While waiting for Beijing 2008 - Canadians and Chinese: different outlook on retirement

                    Canadians are more willing to retire,
                 while the Chinese need a lot of persuading,
            according to an international level comparative study

    MONTREAL, Aug. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - According to the 2008 AXA Retirement
Scope, an international study carried out in 26 different countries, the
perceptions and opinions expressed by Canadians and Chinese differ for most of
the themes dealt with by the study. For instance, Canada is by far the country
with the most voluntary early retirements (73%). Only 38% of Chinese
voluntarily opt for an early retirement and 25% do it at the employer's
invitation. There is one similarity, however: Canadians and Chinese equally
plan (58%) for a remunerated activity following retirement, but few Canadians
(16%) or Chinese (15%) finally succeed in bringing about a project that is
most often characteristic of higher income people.

    Retirement regarded less favourably by the Chinese

    Canada is one of the countries where the idea of retirement is the most
positive. It is perceived by 73% of Canadian actives as a period of freedom
and pleasure. 34% of Quebeckers associate it with images of rest, peace and
tranquillity. Only 19% of Canadian actives associate it with negative images
such as fear of aging or financial difficulties, and this seems more frequent
with lower income people. In comparison, retirement brings up positive images
in only 55% of Chinese actives. It should be noted that the study's
international average for this category of person is 65%.

    Travelling during retirement - Chinese not as enthusiastic as Canadians

    A large majority of Canadian actives (61%) hope that retirement will
allow them to travel. Chinese actives express less enthusiasm on this topic:
only 31% think about travelling. This only seems possible to higher income
retirees. 33% of Canadian retirees do travel, compared to only 9% of Chinese

    Chinese more confident than Canadians regarding their children's

    Canada is one of the countries where retirees are most satisfied with
their lot, compared with that of the previous generation. On the other hand,
they are rather worried about what will happen to the following generation:
only 30% of Canadian retirees believe that life will be better for their
children. China beats Canada with regard to optimism: 79% of Chinese retirees
believe that their lot at retirement is better than that of their parents and
65% are convinced that it will be even better for their children.

    Sense of responsibility

    Canada, a country where autonomy and individual responsibilities are
highly valued, is one of the nations where it is the least expected that
children should support their parents materially or financially. As an
example, 72% of Chinese actives think that they are responsible for providing
their retired parents with material or financial support while only 45% of
Canadian actives agree. The great majority of Canadian retirees (90%) are much
more concerned about whether their children will visit them regularly!

    Will the nest egg be sufficient?

    Canada is one of the countries where a good proportion of actives (60%)
as well as retirees (66%) consider that their retirement income will be or is
sufficient. The Chinese feel even more satisfied: 80% of actives look forward
to a comfortable retirement and 66% of retirees consider their retirement
income sufficient. The Chinese are also at the top of the list when assessing
whether their quality of life will improve (53% say yes) or has improved (42%
say yes) since retirement. These responses are not shared by as many Canadian
actives (28%) or retirees (36%).
    Yet, the Chinese save less than Canadians for retirement: The monthly
amount saved by Canadian actives for retirement is $482 while it is only $159
for the Chinese actives. To finance their retirement, both actives and
retirees, Canadians and Chinese, tend to prefer risk-free financial products,
even though their return is lower.

    Who must ensure the financing of retirement?

    In Canada, this role is considered by actives as that of the individual
first (85%), the government (77%), and then the employer (75%). We should note
the clear difference of Quebec retirees, 89% of whom believe that the employer
should play the main role. We should not be surprised that, in comparison,
only 59% of the Chinese recognize the individual's role here. The Chinese
assign more responsibility to the government (85%) and to the employer (71%).

    Recipe for a happy retirement

    Even though Chinese retirees feel satisfied with their income and
generally satisfied with their lot, they are not among the happiest during
this period of their life. Only 18% declare themselves "very happy" against
48% of Canadian retirees. What is the recipe for a happy retirement? The
international study reveals that overall the happiest retirees feel that their
health is better than that of the other retirees, they prepared their
retirement earlier and have sufficient income to take advantage of it.

    All 2008 AXA Retirement Scope Canadian results (with international
comparison) can be found on the following website: www.axa.ca

    About the "AXA Retirement Scope"

    The AXA Retirement Scope is an international survey whose objectives are
to explore and understand the attitudes of the population towards retirement
and compare its image to its reality.
    The survey, whose sample is made up of more than 18,000 actives and
retirees, was carried out in 26 countries in the fall of 2007, by a consortium
of research firms led by the GFK Group and represented by CROP in Canada.

    Analyzed countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany,
Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, New
Zealand, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore,
Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United

    About AXA Canada

    Operating throughout Canada, AXA offers its clients, through its 2,200
employees and some 4,000 brokers and consultants, an extensive range of damage
and personal insurance products and financial services. In 2007, its sales
amounted to CAN$1.74 billion and its net earnings reached CAN$196.1 million.
AXA Canada is a member of the AXA Group, a world leader in Financial
Protection, whose activities take place mostly in Western Europe, North
America and the Asia/Pacific region. Throughout the world, 67 million clients
put their trust in AXA. For further information about AXA Canada, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Colette Lemieux, AXA Canada, (514) 282-6817,
ext. 4143, colette.lemieux@axa-canada.com

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