Everyone has a perfect picture of their retirement, some want to retire early at 60 others want to have a part time business and yet some want to continue working past 65. But everyone wants to have the choice to retire, needless to say retirement planning is a top priority for almost everyone.

We consistently contribute to our RRSP accounts and hope to draw from it ones we retire. The recent economical crisis has caused many to rethink their retirement plans.

Sunlife Unretirement index is a study that survey’s Canadians and Americans about how they feel about their retirement prospects and the economy. I took a look at their recent results for Canadians as well as the Americans and found some interesting differences between them, although they were not very surprising.

Here is a quick highlight of the findings.

Canada:

  • Working Canadians score 50, this is the exact mid-point on 0-100 scale (100 being extremely optimistic of perfect retirement at perfect time). Many indicated the intention to work past 65, however none of the top 3 reasons to work past 65 was financial.
  • 44% of working Canadians don’t expect their retirement to be as good as they hoped.
  • 45% expect to work longer than originally expected.
  • Canadians with financial advisor feel significantly more confident about their retirement plans.

United States

  • Working American’s score 44,
  • 54% American workers will delay retirement by at least 1 year
  • 43% will delay three or more years
  • 24% will delay for more than 5 years
  • The reason for American workers to work past the age of 67 changed to “earn enough money to live well”
  • 77% of 40-49 years old Americans plan to work past traditional retirement age to receive health care benefits
  • 67% of all American’s are now reducing spending

By just taking a quick glance at the numbers you can tell Canadians are more confident about their retirement prospects and the economy than our neighbours. However many are not satisfied with their current level of savings, the study also reported that in recent months one in eleven Canadians have already withdrawn from their RRSP, causing worries for retirement funding.

Most definitely the housing meltdown in the US has caused many retirement plans to change, the Canadian economy has been able to hold up fairly well relatively to the US translating into more confidence.

Some tips for retirement planning:

  1. Have a realistic goal and time horizon
  2. Develop a plan-Road map to retirement, consult with professionals as needed
  3. Implement the plan and stick with it consistently
  4. Review at least every year and change as needed.

These are very logical steps, however not many follow it consistently. Not having a plan is like going on a cross-country road trip without a map, you might get to your destination but you will probably have many detours and it will take you much longer and cost you more. Have a plan and stick with it.

How do you feel about your retirement plans? Has the current crisis changed your plans? Are you planning on working past 65? Share your thoughts.

Click here for Canadian Unretirement results, American Unretirement results