Baby boomers will stay active after they retire

November 25, 2010
An Investors Group poll reveals that 59 per cent of Canadian boomers disagree with the picture of quiet retirement living painted by legendary Beatle Paul McCartney in the song, “When I’m 64.”

In January 2011, the first of Canada’s boomers – an estimated 344,000 – will start to turn 65 years of age. Instead of worrying about becoming older as McCartney’s lyrics suggest, Investors Group research shows that 61 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 45 and 64 are looking forward to retirement as an exciting new stage in life.

“Boomers won’t be knitting by the fire and taking quiet Sunday drives,” said Debbie Ammeter, Vice President, Advanced Financial Planning of Investors Group, in reference to McCartney’s lyrics. “They are gearing up, not shifting down, for what is around the corner. This generation is defined by their youthfulness - they are upbeat and energetic in their approach to getting older.”

Who could ask for more?

Boomers expect to enjoy more than 20 years of retirement living and a majority (66 per cent) have a clear vision of their retirement lifestyle. They believe that it will be comfortable (54 per cent) but fulfilling (43 per cent), busy (42 per cent) and exciting (25 per cent). Only 12 per cent of boomers think retirement will be lonely and boring.

Lack of work pressures (58 per cent), opportunity to travel (61 per cent), more time for hobbies, recreation and fitness activities (64 per cent) and community involvement (36 per cent) will bring them the greatest enjoyment.

Half (51 per cent) will take McCartney’s cue to be doing the garden, digging the weeds. More will be enjoying other quiet activities including reading (73 per cent) and watching TV (67 per cent).

Will you still need me, will you still feed me?

While McCartney’s song seems to indicate his hopes for his future well-being are pinned on his partner, fewer than four-in-ten Canadian boomers (37 per cent) say they will rely on their spouse for financial and emotional support for day-to-day assistance.  Thirty-five per cent aren’t sure who will give them support.

Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of boomers (70 per cent) believe it has been easier for them to be financially successful than it will be for the current generation, more than half of them don’t think they can afford their dream retirement lifestyle (55 per cent). In fact one-in-three (30 per cent) think they won’t even have enough money to pay their basic retirement living expenses.

But the future looks brighter to boomers who currently work with a financial advisor.  Twenty-nine per cent believe they will have enough money to afford their dream retirement – nearly twice as many as those without an advisor (16 per cent). 

“As boomers become seniors, they will have to address the gap between their dreams and the practicalities of getting older,” says Ammeter. “This doesn’t necessarily require adjusting lifestyles and attitudes, but rather asking themselves some honest questions about their financial means.”

Time waits for no one

Concerns about finances (59 per cent) and personal health issues (52 per cent) threaten the retirement enjoyment for the majority of boomers and, if they could go back in time to make their retirement plans, 36 per cent of already retired boomers would start saving earlier.

In the end, Mick Jagger may have got it right when he sang “Time waits for no one,” Ammeter said. “Boomers, who took those lyrics seriously when they heard them at a young age, were probably inspired to plan for their future.”

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