Feb 3: Best from the blogosphere

Many plan post-retirement work, but few actually do: RBC survey

You’re forever hearing folks who haven’t done a lot on the retirement savings front say that their retirement plan is to just keep working.

However, a recent Benefits Canada article, citing new research from RBC, brings up some interesting findings that may throw a bit of water on those “keep working” plans.

The survey asked a group of pre-retirees if they planned to keep working, either full or part-time, after they retired. Half of those surveyed said yes, they’d keep at it.

But when actual retirees were asked if they were still working, only 11 per cent “reported they actually had returned to full or part-time work,” the magazine advises us.

The pre-retirees had many reasons for planning to work after retirement, the article notes, including “staying active mentally (68 per cent) and physically (48 per cent), staving off boredom (44 per cent) and generating income (43 per cent).”

Part of the reason why people aren’t working in retirement, the article notes, may lie in the fact that retirement is not always as “planned” as people expect. More than half of the pre-retiree group (55 per cent) say they “expect to know their retirement date a year or more in advance.” But of the retirees, only 39 per cent said they knew their retirement date well in advance, with 16 per cent “reporting they had no advance notice at all.”

“We know that the majority of Canadians do not have a retirement plan, and those who do are more prepared and confident,” states RBC’s Rick Lowes in the Benefits Canada article. “A plan helps you understand all your options so you don’t have to make major trade-offs to enjoy the retirement lifestyle you desire.”

Findings in the UK, reported on by the Daily Express, reached a similar conclusion. There, “nearly two-thirds of people who retired earlier than expected said they were forced to stop working rather than choosing to leave due to no longer needing the income,” the newspaper reports.

The chief reason they stopped working early related to health or physical problems (40 per cent), followed by being “made redundant” or losing their job (18 per cent), followed by eight per cent who left work to care for a family member, the story informs us.

In the UK study, the Daily Express notes, less than one in five people (17 per cent) had sufficient savings to be able to retire earlier than they expected.

There seems to be a sort of sunny view of retirement from pre-retirees that is tempered by the experiences of actual retirees. The idea that one can pick a retirement date a year or more out, and then keep working away afterwards, seems to be challenged by the findings of research.

The majority of retirees didn’t pick a date, with some not having a choice at all. Health, losing a job, caring for a loved one all play a part in determining whether or not we can keep at it on the job front. Only 17 per cent said they had enough savings to be able to pick their own day, thanks to personal retirement piggy banks and/or pensions at work.

Most of us don’t have a pension plan at work. Saskatchewan Pension Plan, a do-it-yourself DC pension plan that handles the heavy lifting of investment and generating a lifetime pension for you. Join the 33,000 SPP members who have watched the plan generate returns of 8 per cent annually since the plan’s inception in 1986.

Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing, classic rock, and darts. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22

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