The Sun Life Canadian Unretirement™ Index measures how we view retirement and how we feel about our plans to get there. Since 2008, it has been a measure of how retirement – or “unretirement” in many cases – is changing across this country.

Why “unretirement”?

Unretirement reflects our new reality. The dream of early retirement is fading for many Canadians. Some are uncertain that they want to retire, even if money isn’t an issue. For others, retirement before age 65 is unrealistic to maintain their chosen lifestyle.

As the retirement market changes, so do opportunities for you. Now’s the time to make the most of them!

Here are some findings from the 2012 Canadian Unretirement Index that reveal concerns Canadians are having about their finances – areas in which you can help:

Satisfaction with savings

Canadians say you should start saving for retirement at age 24. One-third of Canadians expect to have less than $100,000 when they retire. Just over 1 in 5 (21%) expect to have between $100,000 and $250,000 saved at retirement.

Nearly 6 in 10 Canadians (58%) say their current level of retirement savings causes them stress.

  • More than half (53%) are worried about running out of money.
  • More than one-third are worried about having to lower their standard of living and affording health-care in retirement (37% and 34% respectively).

This is likely because the amount of money people are planning to save just isn’t enough.

Economic environment

The current economic environment isn’t helping either.

  • More than half of Canadians (51%) now expect to work longer than originally planned and 42% say their retirement will not be as nice as hoped.
  • Almost half (49%) are worried about the risk of losing money on investments and 70% want some retirement income guaranteed.

Financial literacy

A lack of financial literacy could be a reason why Canadians are feeling stressed about their retirement savings and why they aren’t saving enough. Those with financial planning support, such as an advisor or a written financial plan, are more likely to be able to figure out how much they need to save for retirement and are able to select the right investment vehicles for their savings.1 These people are also more likely to feel less stressed2.

1 53% of Canadians who do not have an advisor or a written financial plan admit they are not able to determine the amounts they need to save for retirement compared to 25% of those who do. 57% of Canadians who do not have an advisor or a written financial plan admit they are not able to select the best investment vehicles for their savings compared to 32% of those who do.

2 63% of Canadians who do not have an advisor or a written financial plan say their current level of retirement savings causes them stress compared to 50% of those who do.

Excellent opportunities for you

In addition to information about how retirement is changing, this survey reveals some excellent opportunities for you:

  • Most Canadians aren’t satisfied with their current level of retirement savings. Only 36% are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied.”
  • 43% say they’re not able to determine how much they need to save for retirement; 48% don’t know the best investment options for their savings.

The survey also found that Canadians who have support from an advisor or a financial plan are more confident about having enough retirement income and more likely to be satisfied with their current level of retirement savings. 54% of Canadians who work with a financial advisor say they are satisfied with their current level of retirement savings, compared to only 28% for those who do not work with an advisor.

For more information about helping your clients with their retirement planning, visit My retirement café.

To see the latest news, stories, and tips from the retirement market, visit Brighter Life.

Originally published on Advisor.ca