Happy retirees making life easier for Canadian advisors

By Kate McCaffery | May 6, 2013 | Last updated on May 6, 2013
2 min read

Canada is a good place to be a financial advisor. A recent international survey of retirement attitudes and realities in different countries found that Canadians are reasonably open to suggestions about retirement and estate planning. The poll also illuminated a couple of areas of concern that smart advisors might do well to capitalize on.

The AXA Retirement Scope survey of 9,200 people in 15 countries revealed Canadian attitudes towards retirement were among the most optimistic, confident and realistic in the world. It also found that travelling in their retirement years was a goal for many people, they wanted to factor elder care into their planning considerations, and most were willing to discuss their estate plans with family members.

More than three-quarters of retired Canadians said their standard of living has stayed the same or improved since they left the workforce, and more than two-thirds of those still working said they’ll be in the same boat when the time comes to retire.

In Quebec, and among the less affluent, attitudes were slightly less optimistic, with 37% of Quebecers and 40% of less affluent Canadians saying they fear their post-retirement standard of living will eventually decline.

Overall, though, Canadians have a positive view of their retirement years. Nearly 70% of both working and retired survey respondents associated retirement with peace of mind, expecting they will have time for themselves and the freedom to do nothing, pursue interests, travel, or participate in sports, volunteer work and cultural activities.

Retirement planning, however, is not just about having sufficient cash to maintain a standard of living. Some clients may also need coaching or counselling in the life planning department if they don’t actually know what they’ll do to fill their time when they retire. Nearly 21% of retired Canadians associated retirement with negative images and a feeling of uselessness. That percentage jumped to 27% of 45-64 year-olds and 29% of citizens living in cities with more than one million inhabitants.

Ironically, despite being most concerned about the future, Quebecers and urbanites are actually more likely than other Canadians to say they are happy with their retirement situation.

Finally, advisors may have an easier time when it comes to discussing how to pass the family farm on to the next generation. Nearly 70% of retired people surveyed, and 60% of working people, said they discuss estate planning with their families. Respondents’ children and spouses remain the beneficiaries of inheritance in most cases, but there is also a growing trend to add other beneficiaries to the list, including other family members, grandchildren and charities.

Kate McCaffery